As I have been going on my journey I have realised that becoming the person God has made me be is more than arriving at a destination. Instead of one day magically becoming equipped and skilled and released by God to do awesome things for him, He is instead, taking me on a journey of trials, pain and He is putting me in tough situations so I grow, mature and become all He has made me be so I can do the good works He has made me do with Him. (Ephesians 2:10) God has not taken away my trials but has caused me to grow through my trials. This has meant tears, sleepless nights, heartache, pain and even times when I thought God was not even working. When looking back, I see now that I would not be where I am without these times.
When reading Ephesians 4:16 I was greatly encouraged by the understanding that we are the body of Christ and not isolated parts. When we understand this, I can only be successful if the other parts of the body of Christ are successful. If this is the case, instead of working in isolation, I have the responsibility of being not only part of the body but building up all parts of the body so they work and function as God has made them work and function. God can bring us through hard times and trials through divine intervention where things are fixed in an instant. I have discovered, though, that God is wanting not for us to be happy and everything to be working as we like, but to grow through the trials so we grow and mature and move from infants in the faith to sons and daughters who have been given the authority by God to go out and release His glory and ways. We cannot do this if we do not grow up. His Plan A is the hard road not for him to instantly repair things. (He does and can do this but I see this as His Plan B)
Over the last few weeks, I have had the pleasure of visiting many homes and celebrating what families have achieved in their schooling over the semester. Before starting I have demonstrated this amazing engine. It is a Stirling Engine, created by Robert Stirling to run using boiling water (and I have put ice on top). The engine is fearfully and wonderfully made, but without sitting in boiling water it will not work at all. The hotter the boiling water it sits in the better it runs. We also have been fearfully and wonderfully made. It takes the trials or boiling water for us to run as we have been designed to run. The Stirling engine runs best, though, when ice is put on the top as it works by air heating and cooling. I see the ice, then, as people in the body of Christ who are able to walk alongside us and support us through our trials. We cannot become all God has made us be without the trials. We need God's people to walk alongside us when we go through the trials so the trial does the job God has designed it to do in our lives to mature and grow us up so we become "perfect". I believe this means we become the person God planned us to be in Ephesians 2:10.
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1: 2-4 (NLT)
The way of the world is crazy fast. God's mission is totally different; it is unhurried and unstoppable. Patience is the nature of God. Adam and Eve sinned because they were impatience. As we learn the nature of God we will live with patience amid the trials and tough things we experience. Growing is slow, painful and often we do not feel we are going anywhere. Trust God and do not rush ahead of Him. Embrace the trials and growth as a special time that needs to happen over time. Give yourself space and surround yourself with others who also trust that growing is God's work and it takes time and is often messy. But the end point can not be achieved in any other way. To be a tree of righteousness it takes trials, hard times over a good space of time. Moving from being an infant to an adult is hard work ..... but there is no other way to become all God has made us be.
Instead of asking God to magically take the trials away and to isolate yourself as you feel trials are not what Christians should go through, seek Him how to pray and walk through your trials with the body of Christ.
So what should we pray?
God, thank you for this opportunity to grow
Father, in this time of suffering, let me know Your presence.
Surround me with people from the Body of Christ that You send to help me walk through this trial.
Grow me in this trial so I can learn to endure so I can become all You made me be.
Mature and equip me so I can do the good works You have made me do as I grow through this trial.
As I am suffering, lead me to people who are also suffering so I can encourage them with what You are doing in my life.
Help me to be patient and grow knowing that the work you are doing in this trial is necessary but takes time.
Thank you that You are a good Father and your heart is for me to grow from an infant to an adult. You do not like seeing me in pain, but you allow me to go through the trials because you see the blessing at the end.
Key Bible Verses.
1. Ephesians 4:14-16 - Growing each other in the Body of Christ. When we mature we will not be led astray and we will be able to endure hard things in a way we have never been able to before.
.14 And then our immaturity will end! And we will not be easily shaken by trouble, nor led astray by novel teachings or by the false doctrines of deceivers who teach clever lies. 15 But instead, we will remain strong and always sincere in our love as we express the truth. All our direction and ministries will flow from Christ and lead us deeper into him, the anointed Head of his body, the church.16 For his “body” has been formed in his image and is closely joined together and constantly connected as one. And every member has been given divine gifts to contribute to the growth of all; and as these gifts operate effectively throughout the whole body, we are built up and made perfect in love. Ephesians 4:14-16
2. Matthew 13: The Parable of the Sower - God is wanting our heart to be good soil so when the Word grows in us we will endure and bear good fruit.
“As for the seed that fell upon good, rich soil, it represents the hearts of people who hear and fully embrace the message of heaven’s kingdom realm. Their lives bear good fruit—some yield a harvest of thirty, sixty, even one hundred times as much as was sown.” Matthew 13:23 TPT
3. Jeremiah 17:5-8 - God is calling us to GROW into trees of righteousness. The hard times establish the roots deep in the soil so we can feed on the Word and the Spirit and are able to thrive even in hard times.
This is what the Lord says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord. 6 They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land.
7 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. 8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.