Recently, I visited with a good friend who has had a couple of really hard years. It doesn’t really matter who it was because the same conversation could have been with any one of the many friends I have that are struggling through what seems to be a needlessly long, dark “season,” myself included. I guess Christians call them seasons because, by definition, seasons change. I am assured that these times won’t always be. But I think unless tough times require no more than three months to mature, we need to find a more realistic word for them. Feel free to make suggestions…but I digress.
My friend, we’ll call her Kingsley, said she just wants this time to end. “I’m tired of getting the breath knocked out of me. Why can’t healing be instant? Why can’t Jesus just say “PEACE!” and it be done with? Why does this have to keep going on and on with no end in sight? When do I get to enjoy the good times again?” My heart echoed these groanings back to her. Why can’t our cries of “Enough is enough!” move our Jesus to speak an end to the pain?
Because, it’s not in His nature. And I mean that in the most literal sense. Nothing in the world He created is instant. It’s all a process. The gestation of a seed, the development of a gem stone, the cutting of a canyon – His work is a series of deliberate, calculated steps executed to create a very specific end. How cold. It’s the work of a master artist, a surgeon, a composer – breathtaking artistry in every cloud, leaf, and mountain peak. Why would His work in the hearts of His favored creations be any less intimate? If God took time to carefully design the earthworm, why would He rush through the fashioning of my heart?
This work can’t happen fast because it’s in the process of pain that I learn who He is and who He is making me to be. This is where the ick is pulled out of my soul. It’s in the darkness that the deep healing actually occurs. Ironically, in the same breath I beg God for relief, I curse the pain I go through that’s healing me. I mistake the relief of pain and the return of joy as the cure. But those moments are just the realization of the healing that was accomplished through the struggle.
This is the hope from which gratitude and trust are born. In the hard times, when I beg God to act, I can praise Him knowing that these times bring more Divine activity in my heart than I could ever perceive. And at the end of this season, and there is an end coming, something beautiful will remain.
Endure in gratefulness and trust, sweet friend. He is creating something in you that will take your breath away – and His.