“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” ~ Job 42:2
I used to have this belief that unpleasant circumstances were simply a lack of God’s favor in my life. I believed that the grass was greener for everyone else around me. Resentment and covetousness yearned in my soul for years as I felt perpetually inferior to those around me. I could not seem to grasp why I was experiencing circumstances as I was, then by the grace of God I learned that it was his process to save me.
Our eyes are opened through affliction. Our ears hear through affliction. Our minds grow in affliction. We let go in affliction. It was God’s very own unique affliction in my life that was the catalyst for my surrender. The surrender that would ultimately lead to the beginning of life. As the door has been gracefully closed on this past season of life, all of the momentary bitterness and confusion is now replaced with pure gratitude. Darkness is not yet understood but must be traveled.
We must be broken down to see the depths of our misplaced affections. We must be broken down and graciously stripped in order to understand the vileness of our false Gods. It is as these precious strongholds are taken from our feeble grasp that we can begin to visualize exactly how strong our hold is on the perishable. However, as we are aware of our finite nature and brokenness more deeply without the satisfaction of our misplaced affections, we can start to grasp our complete need and utter dependence on God. My depravity and insufficiency in these moments is the catalyst for my rejoicing, growth and thankfulness, amidst frustration, failure, brokenness and emotional affliction.
For the Lord is ruler of all things. He rules beyond the control of our expectations because he alone knows what is best. We cannot have words in response to this truth. Over the last few years I have learned how deeply rooted my expectations are and have been broken consistently. I needed to be woken up from my slumber of self-sufficiency and dependence. I had not only been woken up, but daily broken to begin the process of realigning my dependence and trust from my own flesh, to the one who has worked so hard to save me. No matter how hard I pushed back in resentment, the deeper I would break, not allowing myself to cling to anything but His sovereignty.
However, this produces the very thing that I did not believe was necessary at first, repentance. These years as a student athlete have the been the most challenging emotionally, physically and mentally. They have produced hurt, brokenness and rejection with several feelings of being perplexed, but I could not see then the fruit that it was producing. Even now, I cannot grasp fully, but I can cling to the hope in gratitude that all things are working to produce an eternal weight of glory.
These are feelings that I am also battling in trying to process.
Awe is present in reflection and reverence for the beauty that His hands have provisionally woven. My feeble mind is struggling to find words to put together to adequately verbalize the work of grace in my life. My life has been redeemed from the pit. I have been restored. The daily thorn in my side of being crippled with anxiety is the work of the divinity who cares so deeply for me that he would open the door to affliction that I may grow to look more like his son. Gratitude, pure overflowing thankfulness is pouring like a flood from my soul.
His deep care for me has held my hand through the most difficult yet fruit yielding years. How deeply gracious I am without words to grasp that I may face difficulty in order to separate myself from my own misplaced affections. True belief and true repentance are the greatest fruit that I am infinitely unworthy of.
If my four years have taught me anything above all else it is: His grace is sufficient for me daily as He is holding my fast. He is completing His work in me because I am not defined by anything but his undying love, promises and provision. As an adopted child I am awaiting my citizenship in heaven with my feet held firm by His grace on a foundation that cannot be shaken. I have learned that he will hold me fast in all circumstances. I do not carry this out because of my innate nature to sin, but I know that I do not need to fear. I do not have to seek control and cling to it with my dear life because of the promises that provide me a solid ground. “My circumstances are God’s gift to me, and I am to learn to accept them from his hand as such… Don’t worry about your present situation but learn contentment in it.”- Ash
We are empowered to obey because our destiny is eternally secure and the holy will be made more holy as they share in Christ’s sufferings. We are not to set our hope on our efforts, but fully on grace. For we have been ransomed by the imperishable blood of Christ. Sitting here, writing this at the end of this chapter of my life, I proclaim with joy this truth~
“After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen” ~ 1 Peter 5:10-11