I recently had the opportunity to attend a women’s conference at one of our partner churches. The focus of the conference was “Refine”. We learned that refinement is an active process. It takes time, watchfulness, AND effort. God wants to use the difficult circumstances in my life to make me more like Him. His purpose in this is so that I will reflect His image and His love to those around me in a beautiful way.
Sometimes we want to sit back and wait for God to change us without putting in the hard work. We have to submit and allow Him to work His process in us. He wants to purify us and get rid of the sin and strongholds in our lives. Sometimes, He also needs to remove things in our lives that are good. He doesn’t do this to be mean or cruel, but because He has something better for us. But oh, how hard it is for us to let go of something good! We need to trust Him enough to allow Him to work, even though it is so easy to cling to what is familiar and comfortable.
When life is a struggle, often especially during change and transition, we feel like everything will be better when life “gets back to normal”. But when God is changing us and working in ours hearts, he does not want us to go BACK to the way things used to be. He has a “new normal” for us, a better one, waiting for us out the other side!
Even though we sometimes need to give up good things, it is also okay to grieve the loss of those good things in our lives. It’s okay to question God, and ask “Why?” Something God has been teaching me, is that He is big enough to handle ALL of my questions and emotions. Showing Him what a basket case I can be doesn’t scare Him off! He knows already, and He still loves me! And God is still good, even when life is hard and we don’t know why.
Trust is such a tricky thing. When our lives are running smoothly, and all is well, it is easy to say, “Of course I trust in God.” Bu when our lives falls to pieces and we can’t feel God’s presence, it is normal to wonder, and to ask, “Where are you, God?” The Psalms are full of questions like, “How long will you hide your face from me, Oh God?” There is ANGUISH in that question. And in that moment, there is a choice. We can choose to give up and reject. Or we can choose to believe that God is still real, and He is still good even when we can’t see or feel Him. As I look at these words on the page, it seems simple, but it’s not. It is gut-wrenching. It comes through heartbreak and tears. But God is still there, and He is still faithful. He has proven this to me, over and over again.
I am so thankful that God promises that the night doesn’t last forever, that He will turn our mourning into dancing, and that joy comes in the morning. Those are promises that I cling to. When I look at my life, I don’t know how I would still be surviving without Jesus. God is my Saviour, my Safe Harbour, my Cornerstone, my Strength. God doesn’t promise that life will be easy. But he does promise that He is always with us. He will never leave me or forsake me. I can put my trust in Him because He is trustworthy, and He. Is. Good.
At the conference, one of the women shared a quote that said, “I am so thankful that God loves and accepts me just as I am, but He does not want me to remain this way.” God is the constant good, love, peace, and joy in our world. If we allow it, He will make us better, loving, peaceful, and joyful people. He changes us each day to be more and more like Him, often through painful circumstances. If we had a life without challenges, we would never grow.
Have you ever been near a pool of stagnant water? Merriam-Webster defines stagnant as, “without inflow and outflow; not advancing or developing.” I know I don’t want to be stagnant, like pond full of algae that’s never disturbed. It just breeds bacteria and stinks…no one wants to be around it! Sometimes, we need to be disturbed in life to shake us out of our comfort and complacency. Sometimes we need to be disturbed so God can remove something in our hearts that is not pleasing to Him. We need to allow him to flow into our lives so that his love can flow out of us. Even when it’s difficult to let Him work, I can choose to trust, and I know with all my heart that He is good. I don’t have all the answers to life’s questions and confusion, but I know that God is with me every step of the way.
“I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able, to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.”
“Let me live that I may praise you.” Psalm 119:175