(Guest Post by: Kamryn Green) Blogmas Day Fifteen
The Lord is good, but that doesn’t mean He allows us to experience only what is painless or does not lead us into wildernesses and valleys. Job experienced tremendous loss and hardship. Apostles were persecuted in horrific ways. This doesn’t mean every difficult thing is from Him, but that He will use those things for His glory. While at the same time there are trials, He brings us to them for the strengthening of our faith and reasons we may not see for a while.
“How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” – Psalm 119:103
Concurrently, His word is “living and active, sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12.
The Lord encourages and strengthens, but He also disciplines and corrects, and “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:11
In the painful things, His discipline, His correction, His call to leave a season that had been the most treasured of all, He takes what is initially hard to swallow, as we trust and follow Him, and brings that sweetness that so faithfully occupies the act of obedience.
Throughout this wilderness season in the Old Testament, we see many scenarios where the Israelite’s faith is tested and their lack of it is exposed—whether it was lack of bread, lack of water, or because of something bitter, these things exposed a lack of faith and bitterness of the heart that needed to be sanctified into wholehearted trust and unceasing thanksgiving.
Some things have to die in changing seasons so that something new can be birthed in its place.
In God’s kingdom, that’s how it works, death before life. As in, He has made us for abundant life in Christ Jesus, but the pre-requisite is death to what hinders that true life. Death to sin and to the flesh.
In this changing season where it feels like the deepest parts of who I am are “dying” in a sense, my childhood, having to let go of things I’ve always known, those things that hinder true life have died too. A much more important death, because in this one, godly character is formed through the fire of purification.
Death to selfishness, to apathy, to insecurity. Things that are not of our King and do not belong in His kingdom. As a result, more life than ever before has been produced. He is glorified and that is whole the point of it all.
His will is for us to “grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” (Ephesians 415). And growing pains are exactly that, painful. But they are good. In the end it is better than staying how we are, because He has more in store. More pruning = more fruit (John 15).
Galatians 6:9 also tells us to “not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” For all of this… every pain is worth it. He is worth it.
And to what does it compare? To His suffering? To the pain He took on His back. That He took on His head. That He took in His hands. That He took in His feet. That He took in His side. That He took until His last breath was drawn. To what does it compare?
May the Son of suffering be glorified as every believer rejoices in each act of suffering for Him, in both the small and the big.
November 30th, 2022. My baby nephew was born, 530 miles away in TX. I’ve refused to see photos until I can hold him for myself 😉
December 9th, 2022. Today I write this in an airport, two hours from boarding a plane and seeing my family. I will be meeting my nephew for the first time. Tomorrow, we will celebrate the life of my great-grandmother at her memorial. And the goodness of God is overwhelming as I recall Psalm 145:4, “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”
Seeing my great-grandmother pass, though we are celebrating that she is with the Lord, has been something with a bitter taste. Something very difficult. But the sweet comes too. Simultaneously, we rejoice that she is rejoicing, and we’ve welcomed the new life of my baby nephew. Indeed, from one generation to the next…
We will tell of Who He is and what He does, that though there is the bitter, He brings also that which is sweet. That though there is death, in Jesus Christ, there is eternal life!
NOTE: If you’re interested, you can check out what Kamryn and her family are doing here: https://www.patriotacademy.com/
Kamryn, I can definitely relate to the feeling of my childhood “dying,” as I am getting older. And, I need to be better at what you said about putting to death all the sinful things so that new, good things can grow. Thanks for sharing with us your joy and sorrow!
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