Monday, September 5, 2011

Beauty from Ashes

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed." 
 Psalm 34:18

For the past three weeks, I've sought comfort from this verse, simply because it acknowledges the main idea that someone- God- understands our pain. He gets our hurt. We don't have to sit and vent to Him, or wait for Him to ask what's going on in our lives; He just knows. No explanations, no questions asked. Heartache is one of those emotions that is nearly impossible to sum up in a word, but is universally understood on a deeper level among cultures. 

 I've been going through this incredibly rough period of complete spiritual warfare, and I just haven't been able to shake it. Satan has come in every shape and size in the attempt to destroy my hope in Christ. I've battled rejection, embarrassment, discouragement, and exhaustion so many different times in such little time, yet I'm so thankful that my hope in Him is not shattered and never will be. Now my confidence, passion, and enthusiasm? Yeah, those are a little shaky right now, but I have full faith that there is purpose behind my broken heart. 

"We are pressed on every side of troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies."   2 Corinthians 4:8

The key part is the last verse- " that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies." Isn't that the main goal of being disciples of Christ, so people can see Christ through us? 

"My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness."  2 Cor. 12:8

I had the incredible pleasure of getting to just sit and drink some awesome Mugwalls coffee with my sweet friend Jordan Knesek, and she reminded me that our relationship with God is strengthened most when we realize how much we really need Him. When we are completely crushed, beaten down, and empty is when He can do the most work in our lives.

God's work during this challenging time in our lives is similar to the process of refining metal. The metal may look all shiny and clean on the outside, but deep down it contains dross- a contaminating, worthless chemical product that hinders the metal from being pure. The technician must put the metal into a 1000 degree fire, in order for the dross to separate from the metal, and once that stage is finished, the technician devotes to scraping away the residue to reveal a pure, glowing metal. 

In the same way, we are that piece of imperfect, unrefined metal. God, the Master Technician, puts our lives under fire, because He knows that through our trials (the fire), the dross (our weaknesses and problems) we will be removed, transforming us to be stronger and purer like His precious Son.

OK, if that didn't make sense, here's another analogy. Have ever burned yourself? The other day I somehow burned my CHIN with a CURLING IRON. I know, what the heck. Over the past few days, it hurt worse and worse, and the burn evolved from "barely there" to a big, red scab on my face. Real cute. I tried everything I could to cover it up, or speed up the process, but time is the only thing that could heal it. Finally today I noticed that it was getting better, and noticed the skin is, believe it or not, healthier. Sometimes our trials burn us and leave some scars, but we can have hope that healing is the true result from any trial, and it will only strengthen us.

"...When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."   James 1:2-4

If you're in the middle of a battle- in whatever form- physically, emotionally, spiritually- my encouragement is for you to take heart-for He has overcome the world (John 16:33), and never forget that He is God, He LOVES you, He won't let you down. 

"And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us? And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?"


1 comment:

Lloyd said...

I really enjoyed reading the posts on your blog. I would like to invite you to come on over to my blog and check it out. God bless, Lloyd