Journal Entry ~ 11/05/17
29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. - Psalm 107:29-30
I think our biggest challenge when the waters rise and the storms begin to rage is our understanding of the purpose of these storms in our lives. When trials hit, our happiness is interrupted and we struggle with God’s agenda because we have our own agenda for our lives - we want things to be comfortable and predictable. When they’re not, when something happens to interrupt our security, we question God’s goodness, His love for us, and His faithfulness to fulfill His promises to us. The problem is God’s not after our happiness, He’s after our holiness. He’s after the completion of His redemptive work in you. His desire in our trials is that we would grow to be more compassionate, loving, patient, grace-filled, self-controlled people. He can’t grow is in those uncomfortable ways if our lives are secure and easy.
God’s plan in our trials is that we would esteem redemption more than we esteem comfort, but his secondary purpose is that our faith would be tested and grown. When we first come to Christ, we are like a metal ore that needs to be boiled down, and changed to be made into a beautiful gemstone. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. - 1 Peter 1:6-7. God will take you to places you never intended to go in order to produce in you what you could not achieve on your own. He will allow storms into your lives to grow you and change you into who He knows you can be.
The reality is that every single storm He allows into your life is either the consequence of some sin in your life, or He is trying to expose a part of your heart you need to see. Every single one. Our sinful nature loves to come up with exceptions to that rule, or excuses why this particular trial is not because of me, but the truth is we are responsibility for the problems in our lives. Whether you are struggling with a health issue, relationship drama, or financially instability, you can trace every one of those issues back to your responsibility. Our poor diet choices or your extreme stress cause the majority of our health issues, or perhaps He’s trying to slow you down and reveal your priorities; our lack of gentleness and humility, or our refusal to see things from another’s perspective damage our relationships, or perhaps He’s trying to reveal your control issues; and our lack of self-control cause our financial tail spins, or perhaps He’s trying to grow your trust in Him. Rather than simply complaining about the trials in your life, or asking for prayers that the trials would go away, lean in and listen to what He is saying to your in your trial. Dig down and find the reason your life has been turned upside down. He will reveal it to you if you seek Him, and He will grow you.
We also need to get comfortable encouraging one another in the uncomfortable-ness of life. If you are God's child and you are suffering, then you need to trust that you are getting exactly what you prayed for - salvation and sanctification. You cannot have a biblical view of suffering and think that it is an absence of God. The truth is if you’re God’s child, you will endure storms to bring about His end in you. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." - Hebrews 12:6. So we need to encourage one another toward this end. Far too often, we encourage our friends by helping them problem-solve or listen as they blame someone or something else, or we hold their hand and agree that this is a difficult trial, but we fail to push them to look at why they’re in the storm. We need to get comfortable in that uncomfortable-mess. If God loves our friend enough to allow a trial in their lives to bring about a change in them, then we should love them enough to encourage them to lean in and listen to what God has for them in the storm.
I am so thankful for all the family and friends I have who continue to support me on this journey. I would be lost without all the meals, encouraging cards and texts, thoughtful gifts and sweet gestures. We need to be reminded that we don’t walk these challenging paths alone and that we have friends who will stand in the gap for us. It brings an incredible amount of strength to know we have people who stand beside us - we were never meant to walk these difficult paths alone. But I am just as thankful for the friends who have pushed me and asked why God has me on this path. Those are the friends who are comfortable in the uncomfortable-mess and understand God has a greater plan for my life.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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