My husband went out last night and whilst he was out, I watched a film that happened to be on. It was about two sisters who grow apart as a result of one betraying the other. As they both go their separate ways and through their hurting, they become more open to listening to what their hearts are crying out; their new vulnerability allows them to accept things about themselves that had been staring them in the face, but they were unable to see up to that point. When things are going our way and life is sweet, it’s easy to overlook the things that really make us tick, and for the sake of a “normal” life where everything falls into place and has an order, we sacrifice facing the deepest longings in our soul; we put off facing head-on those challenges God has placed in our path, because He knows we will only be made whole when we draw strength solely from Him and when everything that hinders us has been burnt in the fire. Like the Phoenix, we are then able to once again miraculously rise from the ashes. Only this time, we can fly higher than ever before and in a more holy fashion, which soon gets the attention of passers-by and on-lookers.
The problem is, going through life is far from a smooth ride, and no matter how much we try to ease into it, no matter how many detours we take to avoid dealing with our biggest fears, challenges and those big mountains to climb that God has entrusted us with, they will all still be there at the end of a hard day’s work.
When things get difficult, do you settle for the path of least resistance, do you sit it out or do you run? When you have taken a wrong turn, do you put your hand up or do you point the finger? Do you stay behind to clear up the mess or do you opt for the “whitewash” option, instead of the far more challenging “stripping down and starting from scratch” option, even if that means admitting failure? Well, I know what I would like to do half the time in all those situations. I know what I used to do in all those situations, but things are different now. I now have Jesus Christ as a role-model to follow and, although I still fail miserably on occasions, I do at least give it a good shot. Why? Because the world is looking and taking note. Why? Because I have people that depend on me, people that look up to me for counsel and guidance, people that trust that if I say I believe in something and I am going to see it through, if I don’t, then I am letting them down and giving up on their dreams as well as mine. Yes, I know that God is Almighty and Sovereign and full of grace, and I trust 100% that HE will heal the hurt that I may have caused and put together the wreckage I leave behind, but I also know that one day, I will have to give account of why I did the things I did, and why I didn’t see through those commitments that I had been privileged and blessed enough to be entrusted with.
Apart from God, we can do nothing, nothing of eternal value, nothing worth getting too excited about, nothing that will live on after we die. Christianity is a very tall order, but also a wonderful privilege. God can use any of us as an instrument to accomplish the most wonderful things, the most wonderful changes and reformation in a person’s life, but, and this is a big BUT, he does not need us to make sure his purposes are fulfilled, he simply invites us to be part of his wonderful plan. When things get nasty, when the tide turns, we have a choice, we have the freedom to either enter into a time of pruning when we willingly die to self and are stripped of our self-confidence, pride, vain-glory, self-dependence and self-promotion, OR we opt out, and having missed the season of pruning, we continue to grow in our own strength until our own strength eventually runs out and we find there is nowhere else to run, nothing more to give. I say it again, apart from God we can do NOTHING.
Marriages, careers, jobs, friendships, ministries and the list goes on, every single area of a person’s life will face at one time or another a point at which a major shaking of our world as we know it, takes place. How we respond to that shaking, will not only potentially bring us a step closer to that wholeness we all search for, but more importantly, will help point the way to all those other people who throughout their lives may have always opted for that path of least resistance, but having witnessed in us the transformation from death to life, having witnessed God at work in producing beauty from ashes, an intangible but nonetheless apparent beauty not seen before in us, they may be filled with hope and a new-found dignity, and the veil in front of their eyes may finally drop to the fact that the path of least resistance works in the short-term, but is no guarantee to a fulfilled life and will always come back to haunt you.
As we surrender self and our will, as we “drown” so that others may “live”, our Heavenly Father blesses us with a fresh revelation of how pain, hurt, suffering, even death can by the power of His mighty hand give way to health, strength, life and a peace that surpasses all understanding.