Whatever it takes, Lord.
That has always been my earnest prayer.
Whatever it takes to become more like Him.
Whatever it takes to bring others to Him and further His kingdom.
Whatever it takes. No matter what.
God is good, His plans are good, He works all things together for our good for His glory.
But this is where I currently sit: I will never understand why the Lord chooses to bring His good to some in pain and hardship and others receive His good in joys.
But this I know: everything in life can be a stepping stone to holiness.
Everything, nothing is excluded.
Pain, joy, hardship, anxiety, peace, love, hate. All of it.
It’s an invitation to enter into the Lord’s presence and lean into in His unchanging, steadfast character and become a little bit more like Him. To see the invitation, we need the grace to be present, we need to accept the emotions (no matter how negative they may be), we need to sit in the disappointment for a moment.
Pray and understand why it feels so unsettled.
Ask what the Lord wants to reveal about Himself and about our hearts.
It’s vital to ask these questions.
God is always doing something far more important in us than what could ever happen to us.
Everything that is wrong and hard in our lives is a divine invitation to turn to God. Everything that is joyful and right in our lives is a divine invitation to turn to God.
To be aware that God is always working and to always chose to trust that every circumstance can draw us and others closer to Him.
Lately, I have found myself looking to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as they were thrown into the fiery furnace. They were surrounded by flames in a furnace but were not touched and chose to worship the Lord, no matter the outcome. These three emerged from the flames with greater joy and a stronger faith. Without a hint of bitterness.
Why did God allow those flames when He could have prevented the fiery furnace? I will never fully know why. But if we chose to, we can see a small piece of what God is doing.
Suffering grounds our faith in a God who is steadfast and unchanging. When the flames come, we have to move from a knowledge of who God is to an intimate walk with Him. Reading that God is a comforter is not the same as knowing His comfort. Understanding His unconditional love and grace is no match to experiencing how it changes our lives.
Suffering and pain make God’s presence real. Reading how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being surrounded by flames, reminds us that we can be thrown into a fire and walk away untouched. Joy is possible, at all times, in all things. The world needs to see the grace of God. The world is full of people talking about God. But talk alone is not enough. Talking about our faith is not enough, it will never be. Faith of a suffering believer is no longer just talk, it’s life-line.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who worshipped God because “no other god is able to rescue in this way.” (Daniel 3:29). Their suffering pointed others to the Only one who is able to save. Their worlds were credible and convincing because of the (literal) fire they walked through. No one is free from suffering. In the world we will have trials (John 16:33) But in Christ we can have peace because he has overcome the world. He alone can give us hope.
Each day as the sun sets we are still being held securely in the hands of our Father who has promised to never leave or forsake us. our faith is being built day by day as we continue to rest in His word that He has promised to supply all of our needs and finish the good work that He began in us.