Part 4

I see through a glass darkly. Out in this desert, it’s as if old age arrived two decades early, robbing me of a season I’d greatly anticipated. I’ve felt like a failure, for I no longer have the strength to accomplish what I want to do for the Lord. I’ve assumed that God has also been disappointed with me, as if I’ve let him down.

Of course, my emotions lie to me. I was bought with the precious blood of Christ. Because of him, I’m dearly loved, merely because I’m his, not because of what I can accomplish.

I was bought with the precious blood of Christ. Because of him, I'm dearly loved, merely because I'm his, not because of what I can accomplish. Click To Tweet

Still, the reality is that while I’m on this earth, I’m in bondage to decay. All of God’s fallen creation is. And so, for now, our growth is most often provoked by suffering.

These present sufferings are absolutely nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. No physical weakness or shortcoming, and not even death, can separate us from God’s love. These unrelenting trials are but a part of the rebirthing process.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39 NIV).

I’m being birthed into the woman God designed me to be for eternity. In this birthing, I fall apart physically, day by day, year by year. And so do you. In Christ and with his help, these trials cause us to grow, to become who he always meant us to be.

In this way, we conquer.

Because of his deep love for us, God causes all things – even these trials, even if we don’t understand, even if it seems pointless, even if it’s not what we would choose –  to work together for good for those who love him. Our challenge is to recall this and to believe that whatever we’re facing is an essential part of our transformation.

CS Lewis wrote: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

With this, we wrestle.

Can we believe that a chronic illness or a seemingly never-ending catastrophe is not an interruption, a detour, or destruction of what should be? Can we trust that this hardship is what God has deemed best at this time? Can we accept that this is the plan?

Can we believe that a chronic illness or a seemingly never-ending catastrophe is not an interruption, a detour, or destruction of what should be? Can we trust that this hardship is what God has deemed best at this time, that this is… Click To Tweet

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:22-28 NIV).

There’s a lot of “groaning” involved as the Lord works for good in our lives. The Spirit cries out on our behalf, we weep and ache, and God refines and transforms us. We are squeezed in a narrow place, boxed in, trapped, as we’re pressed and remade by our circumstances. In this, we cry out, groaning in our agony. Yet, we are called to patience, to keep our eyes on the coming glory, for the work must be done.

If you’ve ever birthed a child or have seen a birth, you know that groaning is involved. For that baby to be squeezed through the birth canal, discomfort and effort is required. It isn’t fun. It’s painful. So, too, when God births us into the people he intends us to be.

Let God do the work. Release what you thought you would be. Let go of who you were. Grab tight to the Father’s neck, bury your face there, and inhale his goodness. Yield. Trust him to transform you into the person you were always meant to be.

Release what you thought you would be. Let go of who you were. Grab tight to the Father's neck, bury your face there, and inhale his goodness. Yield. Trust him to transform you into the person you were always meant to be. Click To Tweet

 

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