I’ve been spending a lot of moments reflecting lately…
Looking back, searching over times in the past.
Not wishing to buy days back just ‘remembering’…..
God called the children of Israel to ‘remember’ and He calls us to do the same.
To look behind us at His faithfulness, to look back at when He’s brought us through some devastating things and see His provision, to see His goodness.
As I have shuffled through the years full of amazing memories and some hard & holy moments too I am continually strengthened from seeing God’s constant presence through it all.
Past suffering has a powerful & useful role in our lives.
Even though they’re not enjoyable in the moment, its crazy how productive they prove over a lifetime. In fact many times when we are first called to something difficult we begin looking for an exit plan, a way out of our struggle. I know I do!
Sometimes even our busyness or filling of our time is a way of escape from what God is calling us through….running is sometimes our way of escaping.
Many years ago I remember studying about the life of David and the struggles he had to endure ever before he became King. I remember the phrase being pulled off the pages of his life that God called David to go ‘further still’ through his suffering.
You know those days you wish would end with a release or some kind of relief but instead God calls you to go a little ‘further still’ through the trial?
These are the seasons our spiritual muscles move from mush to muscle. Our worn out and tired state gets strengthened as God uses our perseverance through our suffering as the very thing He delivers us with.
Friend, our heavenly Father never calls us through something He hasn’t first prepared us to be able to endure. Sure we may feel weak and ill-prepared but we can be certain if we skim back over the days that have led us to here, we will see His tender prepping of our hearts from way back….
This is where we must draw our strength from.
Eight years ago, Joe and I were comfortably serving college students in Oklahoma when we received a call to move to Dallas. We’d always lived in the country enjoying the simplicity of its benefits and I wasn’t sure about leaving it for the city. We had four boys we were raising and our oldest had just graduated and would soon be leaving for college, it all felt a bit overwhelming. But for some reason God was calling us to move.
The hard and holy things that came through that move both ministerially and personally have led us to some rough but blessed days. The friendships God swept up from the ashes of the church’s past are some of our most treasured blessings along with the DNA God has given our church. I never realized the joy that exists in diversity and everyone not looking like me. Oh what an awesome creator God we have!
Our church has become a reflection of God’s heavenly design, even in its continual need of healing. When we see church as a gathering of broken people, a place our hurting world can feel welcome to step into no matter their ethnicity or circumstances, where love and grace meet all….it is here we taste the goodness of what God is preparing for us.
I am reminded of the fact that God’s ways always have a purpose for good even when they might feel really bad.
Our sufferings although momentarily hard is doing a good work inside of us.
The space between what is hard and what is used for holiness can be a struggle to walk through…and yet the time between our rescue and redemption is where God does His mightiest work.
The days we see God working things out, the day the miracles arrive are the easier days to trust in Him but the moments we are crying out for those days to arrive, are the ones when our heart is drawn into His courts and we are able to remember His faithfulness.
What has you down on your knees trusting God today?
For me it’s believing that what He’s gotten me through before He will take me faithfully through again. The impending loss that will be coming in the next couple of weeks with our youngest son heading to college will be filled with His mercy and grace ever so beautifully again.
When we can recognize these moments have so much less to do with the shifting occurring within the rooms of our homes and much more to do with the stirring of our heart we can receive them better.
It’s trusting God to finish the work He’s begun in our church to continue healing and restoring it as He continues to nurture and grow us into the church He intends for us to be.
It’s trusting God to heal broken relationships, to restore lives and breathe life into them again as He has done so many times before.
It’s trusting God that what He’s called me to –He will carry me through….
All of this brokenness is where He does His masterful work, where His creativity shines…it is what causes our world to stop and take notice of Him….it’s what He uses to draw our hurting world to Him…our suffering becomes an offering to our broken and hurting world.
So, friend when life seems overwhelming and you’re wondering why it has to be full of so much heartache and pain…remember God’s faithfulness, site His working throughout the years and trust He will do it again & again, for as long as we surrender the broken spaces of our lives He will heal them and use them for His work.
Rise up from your grave of despair sweet soul and choose to site the times God has proven His trustworthiness.
For the hope that gets unwrapped when we choose to look inside our past is what carries us through the days ahead.…and every struggle now leads us to a new season of becoming strengthened.