A New Season
Life is full of different seasons and if we are going to become everything God has created us to be there are going to be seasons of growing and there are going to be seasons of pruning and sometimes in our seasons of pruning it feels like we are being cut down to nothing more than the trunk. Life’s circumstances pile up: we lose our job, we lose our house, our health, friends, loved ones-the list goes on. In my own life, it took a season like this for me to hear from God. C.S. Lewis wrote: “God whispers to us in our pleasure, He speaks to us in our conscience, but He shouts to us in our pain.” I went through a season of great loss and yes it was difficult, but I knew that season was not permanent and I knew that what the enemy meant for harm that the Lord would somehow use it for good. Once I began to truly believe that God was in complete control, that He had me in the palm of His hand, that it was He that was directing my steps; He became my vindicator. Once I saw past my circumstances, I became excited about my future, my purpose, and what God had planned next. Even when it felt like I was taking steps backwards, God was allowing me to discover talents I never knew I had; He was showing me hidden treasures and truths that I would have never known existed. When I felt as though God had completely abandoned me, He was simply stretching my faith; He knew my limits and what I could handle. The circumstances of life will either shrink or stretch your faith because real faith is about trusting the word of God and believing the promises we have in it. Believing and trusting that His ways are higher than our ways, believing that we are more than conquerors, and believing that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. When God allowed a season of pruning to happen in my life, I had to ask myself, “Will I do the thing which God has asked me to do and will I trust Him to do the part only He can do?”
Some of life’s greatest setbacks turn out to be our greatest opportunities. God never takes something away from us without putting us in a place to receive something new. Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego went through their own fiery trial. They were bound and thrown into a furnace heated seven times hotter than normal, yet they came out unharmed without even smelling like smoke. The only thing the fire burned were the cords that were holding them back. God can do the impossible and if God is for us, who can be against us? The hotter the fire gets, the closer we are to victory.
Listen, I know what it is like to really mess up, to make so many foolish decisions, and to end up in long-term situations that I myself asked for. I know what it is like to live life thinking you are getting away with a life of sin, but I also know what it is like to be welcomed back into my Saviors arms not even smelling like smoke. I know what it is like to have God use the very things I was ashamed of to better His kingdom. God kept telling me, “I’m warning you…You’re going to get hurt…It’s fixing to get ugly, but I chose to ignore Him and walk my own path. Even after personally witnessing the supernatural power of God in my own life I chose to walk my own path. An attitude of pride and self righteousness in my life had to be cut off. God literally reached down into the pit I made for myself and brought me out and set my feet upon the rock. When He reduced me to nothing more than a stump, He protected me and watched over me so I could once again grow strong branches and produce bountiful fruit. Because of that season, I now know what it feels like to be redeemed and to be made whole. Praise God He does not treat us as our sins deserve, praise God we don’t have to earn or deserve His grace and praise God for love, acceptance, & forgiveness. God disciplines us for our good so that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, and I’m sorry that it took me learning the hard way to learn His way. Even though, the enemy tried to make me feel paralyzed, damaged, and beaten because of my mistakes; the more he tried to convince me of how big my mistakes were, the more he was proving the power, the awesomeness, and the might of the Lord my God to redeem me and make me whole.
Jeff, this was great! The fact that I’m listening to the Daniel series via my ipod made your words add depth to what I’m learning! Thanks for sharing!