Deep….breath….here we go…No, wait…I’m still not ready…
The Heart’s Cry in Hard Seasons
This seems to be the protest of my heart lately, almost daily. Sometimes multiple times a day. With one crisis after another, followed by more difficulty and more crisis, I am almost walking through this incredible season with my eyes wincing, waiting for what might be around the next corner. I feel unprepared for almost everything that comes my way.
I realize this is not necessarily a good way to live. But it is, I think, a normal response to an overwhelming amount of affliction. So I breathe deep, move slowly, and try my best to embrace the hard things. Thankfully, not every season of life is so difficult. But this one is.
So the dilemma I am facing is how to step into the things I cannot stop from hitting my life, and which I do not feel ready for…in a way that leaves me better instead of bitter, and glorifies God rather than accuses and denies Him.
I haven’t got it figured out just yet, but I am learning some things that I know will help me to get there.
His Way is the High Way
For one thing, Scripture reminds me that God’s ways are nothing like my ways. Even His way of thinking is vastly different from mine (Isaiah 55:8). So it shouldn’t really surprise me that His preparation is also going to be different. One of the first things I have learned is to recognize and admit that God has indeed made me ready, even if I don’t feel that readiness.
This is a matter of faith. And by looking at the history of God’s faithfulness, which I have seen with my own eyes, I can conclude that: If these things I am facing weren’t necessary, and weren’t promised to add to my life and character, and bless someone else’s life somehow, as well, I wouldn’t have to face them. But since I am facing them, God’s promise is that I have everything I need to not only face it, but come through it well.
“By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life .” 2 Peter 1:3
The Fact of His Presence
Another thing I have been able to meditate on is the memory of another season I did not feel ready for. When that season arrived, I protested fiercely and cried to God that it wasn’t fair because He hadn’t fully prepared me. My argument, of course, was based on my feelings. His argument, in stark contrast, was based on fact.
His response to my accusing cry was that He had, indeed, prepared me…because He had put Himself in my place and endured the very same thing I was enduring long before it had come to try my heart. The clencher was that His suffering was the result of my unfaithfulness, my betrayal, my choice to love and chase after everything but Him, even as He was pursuing my selfish heart. And still He loved me, still He forgave me. Still He pursued me.
The mere fact of His presence and His faithfulness to love me still, relentlessly and undeterred, was the readiness He offered to my fainting heart when I didn’t feel ready to face the pain of another’s rejection.
Kind of hard to argue with, I guess…
He Knows Just What We Need
In His graciousness, God has opened my ears to hear the complaint of my hesitant heart. But in His faithfulness, He has met that complaint with an answer, with a promise: He is with me, He has gone before me, and He understands exactly how I feel. His presence is proof that I have all I need to face the hard things, and to come through them stronger and more humbled, even beautified on the inside…where it matters most.
Sometimes I want God to protect me from the hard things, but sometimes the hard things are exactly what I need to grow, to learn, to be refined, to move beyond my stuck places. And someday, these hard things will be jewels I will place into the hands of someone else who is facing their own hard things.
So His love has, once again, quieted my heart. And I am learning to respond to each cry of “I’m not ready!” by thanking God that He has made me ready.
I wonder if you’ll consider joining me? Who knows what great things we will overcome, what mountains we will see moved, what graves we will see life rising up from?! I challenge you today to face your hard things with a heart and attitude of faith and thankfulness. I dare you to dance the dance of rejoicing over that which threatens to bring you down. I encourage you to look up, and there behold the One Who is holding you – and all of your hard things – in His very capable hands.
Deep…breath….here we go…Yes, I’m ready for this…you’re ready for this…thanks be to God!