"I did the math on the faith chapter, Hebrews 11. Eighty-five percent of those who heard from God and who were commissioned to do something for Him had increased difficulty, heartache and problems in life after they were given their assignment."(1)
So, do you really want to get in line to work for God. It's not the stuff of Hollywood which takes people from the pits of despair to the pinnacle of success in two hours. No, it's more likely a long gauntlet which may appear at times to have no end (kind of like a few climbs today in the Catoctin Mountains that go up, up, up).
What's up with the processing process? Why does God put his chosen instruments through so much?
I was pondering this at the picnic table, my favorite post-ride resting place when I had some clarity. Jill and I know that we know that we know at least two essential ingredients that couples need to heal from desperate circumstances in painful marriages: Heart and Hope. "These are exactly what I often have trouble experiencing", I thought. "So many of my efforts that were full of hope and heart have not come to fruition. It's sometimes so hard to try again because I don't know how to get them back."
In an instant, the Holy Spirit arrived to teach me. "That's the point of the experiences I've given you" I heard. "You know how it feels to be absent heart and hope, and you know that you cannot muster it yourself; that it is something that only I can give. Turn to me and I will heal your heart, renew its strength, and give you hope, which is faith that I will bring to pass all that I have promised you, in my way, and in my time."
I know that God has orchestrated the crucible of the past five years. Had we known all that would be involved we wouldn't have chosen it. But the beginning of a loving, trusting and dependent relationship with Him makes all the difficulties, disappointments and disillusionment worth it.
Biblical patriarchs probably had little idea how much they would be studied and celebrated. They were simply struggling to be obedient to the God that had revealed Himself to them, one day at a time. That's the other number to remember, 1.
I can't imagine surviving deserts of difficulty without Jesus' wisdom about living one day at a time. Prior to a challenging mountain ride with friends today I was without heart and without hope in response to the visible world of circumstances, bills, etc. But, en route to the ride, I made a choice to embrace the day as ONE day that they Lord has made, and to rejoice and be glad in it. Because of this, I literally felt light on my feet and strong in my legs as we ascended climb after climb. It's amazing what a simple decision of the heart can do for one's entire body.
Are you in the process of being processed? Take heart. You're not alone.
Are you choosing to enjoy a loving, trusting relationship with God one day at a time? If not, that is a decision you can make right now, and each day after.
One. One God, One Son, One Holy Spirit all completely present in a loving way for us One day at a time. Thank you, Jesus.
1. Wayne Jacobsen, "The Adventure of Hearing Him", podcast, www.thegodjourney.com.
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