"Pain and Resolve"

It's a new year. 2013 is set to be a very interesting season, it seems. Sitting here in a Starbucks in Fresno, CA, many different things run through my mind. This is a bit of a rough season for us right now. It's excruciating, actually. And there are opportunities to go several directions. That's just the way pain is. Pain oftentimes causes us to forget the things we know to be true and scramble for a way out of it. Often when we are faced with it and are unable to escape, we react in unrealistic ways. We lash out, we fight the wrong opponent, we look for solutions with no success, we settle for temporary relief, and many times we simply give up. Frustration drives us instead of peace. Grief consumes us instead of faith. Sometimes we even refuse the right solution to our pain because it isn't what we want to hear or requires more time before full relief comes. Honestly put, sometimes we don't really want people to pray for us because prayer is not typically a quick fix and we are just simply tired of hurting, even though prayer is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. I've been there before, wanting the quick fix. Have you? Well this is one of those rough times of life, not pushing away prayer, but rather just a season of frustration. So permit me to preach to myself. You can listen in. It's cool with me. Maybe it'll help you in YOUR pain. This is NOT the time to the power of the pain! Yes, it has gone on for a while. No, it is not even in the arena of being enjoyable. No, it doesn't mean God is punishing you, and no you are not defeated. You are never alone and that MUST be enough for you. You want people to be around you and support you, encourage you, believe in you. But none of those people can support, encourage and believe in your more than God. Why settle for people when you can have God? Remember that The God we are talking about is someone who has promised you eternity with Him and life everlasting. But never forget that you are going FROM GLORY TO GLORY, which means there MUST be change. Each change creates in you a deeper root in Him and will be able to sustain you in greater fashion ONLY IF you allow it to finish what He started it in you for. Think of it this way: You're in good company! Think of how Joseph felt when he was promised all that God had promised him, only to end up in a prison on some trumped up charges. Consider David when God set him up as king being hunted by Saul when he was innocent. Think of Moses leading the children of Israel and having to go through all that he went through in obedience to God. How about Jeremiah, imprisoned for speaking the word of God? There was one common denominator in all of their situations: THEY WERE NOT ALONE. Be resolved that there is a plan the God is working out, even though we may not understand. Be resolved that you will say as Job said, "Even if God kills me, I’ll still put my hope in him. I’ll argue my case in front of him." (Job 13:15 New International Reader's Version) Be resolved He is STILL faithful, STILL for you, STILL involved in your life, STILL working things out according to plan, and STILL loves you. He has never led you astray in the past and isn't about to start now. And if you've been disobedient, be resolved that you are not being punished, but that what you're going through is simply a consequence and holds no bearing on His love for you, His plan for you, or His acceptance of you. Be resolved that if He died for you when it was impossible for you to do ANYTHING right, why would He cast you away for any fault or failure, provided that you are indeed repentant of it and desire to change? He pines for you every single day, whether in obedience or not, because He loves you and is greater than your faults AND your fears. Don't run away, but rather run to Him. Don't refuse His solutions simply because it is not a quick fix, but rather submit to His solutions and watch how miraculously He works on your behalf. His character is borne out in scripture and in our current lives. He can be trusted. Perhaps this little excerpt from my upcoming book "Hidden For Divine Purpose," regarding the processes God takes us through, will help just a little: "Submit to the process – As stated before, your submission to the process of God while waiting in the hidden place is vital to the revealing of who you were created to be. But you must understand and remember that the process, no matter how difficult, is for your good and your protection. Understand there is a purpose for the process and a method to the madness. The process does not DEFINE you. The process REFINES you. Never forget that you are NOT your process. However, submission to the process is the only way to mine out the jewels it contains. Consider a person with a bad heart. They have two choices: either to medicate the pain by taking nitroglycerin tablets and live with it, or they can see the doctor and prepare for open-heart surgery. One requires action on their part and is only temporary, while the other is potentially life saving and life prolonging and requires the patient to let someone else help them. Similarly you and I can either say no to the purpose of God and remain in the hidden place until stronger methods of getting God’s point across are issued, or we can submit to the hand of God in breaking us to reveal Himself in and through us at the appointed time. The patient doesn’t get truly well until they “submit themselves to the doctor’s knife.” This is not enjoyable, but afterward they have a greater chance of living a longer, more fulfilling life. And life is what God offers us. The hidden place incubates us as we grow in the life He releases to us." I guess that'll teach us to be careful with the counsel we give. One day we'll need those words even more than when we first learned their meaning (ha)! "nuff said" G

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