I had a cousin that lived when I was young. He was 10 years older than me, and the boy just knew how to toughen someone up. He would wrestle with me and my brother until we were screaming in pain, and then we’d just yell: “I give up, I give up!” He’d let us up, but the sensitive kids we were, we would often walk off crying. We really thought we could win the battle; and every time, we’d find that we weren’t strong enough. So we’d be discouraged.
I feel like October has been a wrestling match for me. I’m used to fighting because I hit spiritual warfare pretty much on a daily basis. I’m used to things like depression, oppression, and threats. I’m used to being on the defensive. I’m strong enough to handle that. God’s taught me how to fight that. But I’ve found this month that God has told the armies of darkness that they can’t even go near me. So what’s the problem? Well, the tough thing is that God Himself that is wrestling with me. And if you’ve ever wrestled with God, you know how much tougher that is to work through.
I’ve found that God has been drawing out my weaknesses. He’s been revealing the places where I’m cold and calloused. He’s been exposing the things that I didn’t even know I hid away. I can’t hide my anger or my messiness or exhaustion. I can’t pretend that I’m not stressed, because He’s not allowing my body or mouth to comply with those lies. He’s siphoning the poison that’s planted deep in my soul. And it’s been as painful as it sounds.
And so, I’m easily angered, easily agitated, easily annoyed, and easily discouraged. But I’m not going to give up.
Part of the reason I’m not walking away this time is because I’ve had a revelation about Hebrews 12: 3-17. (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%2012:%203-17&version=NIV)
I’m really encouraged that it is for love sake that He’s “disciplining” me. Because let’s be real, I’m not going to discipline myself. We’re not talking about avoiding a cookie here; We’re talking life-long coping mechanisms. Ones that hurt me, hurt Him, and hurt others. And He loves me too much to let me live with that stuff any more.
I’m encouraged that He’s telling me to push on — don’t grow weary. The God of the Universe is telling me that I can handle this. I think that I should listen to Him.
I’m really encouraged that He’s reminding me that I am a co-heir with Jesus. That I have a purpose, and I have jobs to do. (It always seems that Satan’s little minions like to tell you that you don’t have purpose when, in reality, God has just taken you off the battlefield for a bit to heal you and give you new armor).
I’m amazed that what He’s doing now is going to bring me a place of holiness. Not religiosity but holiness. That word “holiness” in the Greek is a distinct word. It can be translated “sanctification.” In other words, He’s taking me from point “A” to point “B” for a specific purpose. Not just because He wants to change me, but because He knows that I’ll need different tools to live abundantly in the future. And He wants that. He wants me to bless others and to be blessed by Him.
What He’s doing now is going to give me a better character. It’s going to yield fruit. And good fruit. That’s why I have to hang on till the end. And furthermore, what He’s doing now will keep others from being bitter. As someone who’s been wholly healed from bitterness, believe me, I want to stay put if it means I keep others from being bitter.
What He’s doing now is worthwhile. And so while the armies of darkness might make me want to think that there’s chaos ensuing, I know that it’s merely a purification process that will make me stronger and that will let me surrender more to God. I choose God, please. His optimism is so much better. I’m not under a life of terror. I’m under a Gospel of grace.