The walk of following Jesus in body, mind, and soul is no light matter. Sadly, if I’m real with myself I can easily begin to live as if it is. Because of God’s great love and knowledge of my every need, he puts me through some fiery pits. He takes me to a place of full awareness to my lack so that he can remind me that He lacks nothing. It is He who gives abundantly, it is He who desires more for me than I do for myself. Through these trials I have found that it is in my own brokenness, I find freedom. That in my shortcomings, my lack of control, and my weaknesses I find true hope and security. It’s a paradigm that expresses the exact opposite of what culture teaches us.
A few weeks ago I went through a sizzling fire. My body was not well physically however, I was in even dire need of emotional and spiritual health. The scariest part? I didn’t even know it. The hardest thing I went through those 10 days was not necessarily external pain (though it was very painful). It was seeing myself for who I really was—my lack— through the lens of God’s grace and mercy. I was having to exercise my out-of-shape faith. My faith lost muscle and had put on some extra (unnecessary) weight. I had no idea the kinds of unhealthy habits I was carrying that God wanted me to shed. One of them being circumstantial fear and anxiety.
Leaning into God during times of uncertainty is not as easy as some Christians make it seem. It’s a straight up workout and often times an upheaval of old, comfortable, habits. It requires endurance to look past the circumstances and trust that he has us.
So why do we lean into God during those times if it’s not always easy? Because we are leaning into the One whose love has been tried and tested. That being said, I cannot blame people for not wanting to lean into God during those times if they don’t know God. Why should they? They have no idea who He truly is, they haven’t experienced him. That is understandable.
As for me, I have seen Jesus come through time and time again. He has carried me in my darkest hours. He has seen me when nobody else has. He has saved me from myself day in and day out. I trust him. I know him. I seek to obey him. So when I begin to realize that I’m in those trial seasons, I submit because I know that I can trust that what He is doing is for my good. I love Psalm 66:10-12,
“He trained us first, passed us like silver through refining fires,
Brought us into hardscrabble country, pushed us to our very limit,
Road-tested us inside and out, took us to hell and back;
Finally he brought us to this well-watered place” (MSG).
I love that! He took us “to hell and back” and “finally brought us to a well-watered place.” Other translations say he has brought us to a place of “abundance.” He doesn’t just take us to hell and back for the heck of it. That would be torture in its purest state. He pushes us to our very limit like a good coach would, he road-tests us from the inside out because he knows what we will have to face in our lifetime and loves us too much not to teach us how to endure hard things. Oh, and don’t forget the last statement, “Finally he brought us to this well-watered place.” When we go through hardships and trials we can stand assured that we will be blessed.
A very real example of this is lived out through moms all around the world everyday. And it will be lived out in me (lord willing) in just a few short months when I will need to deliver my sweet little baby. Honestly, the very thought of that makes my body hurt but moms around the world for centuries have endured that pain because they knew that without the pain, there’s no bundle of joy. So, we endure. The blessing outweighs the hardship every-single-time.
Genuine faith put through
suffering comes out proved
genuine. When Jesus wraps
this all up, it’s your faith…that
God will have on display as
evidence of his victory (MSG).
I can so easily deceive myself into thinking I am more emotionally and spiritually healthy than I truly am because the symptoms are not always obvious. I thank the good Lord that he sees what I am oblivious to and uses every opportunity to cultivate transformation in me.
Let endurance have its full effect,
so that you may be mature and
complete, lacking nothing (James 1:4, CSB).