Pain has a point which is only moot when we ignore it

Do you struggle to believe that the advantages of your life are enough to satisfy or impress? Do you more frequently look at the aspects of being you — who and where you are — and find more wrong with the picture than right? Is it far easier to identify what is noticeable and gratifying in the lives of others than your own? Would you gladly trade in everything you have for another option; another chance at life?

Perhaps, like me, you have looked at your friends with envy and even your acquaintances with disgust — wondering, Why do they have to be so happy and have lives that are so well-supplied with joy-producing-elements? Very likely your troubles seem so acute and unique that all your interactions with others have become regular opportunities to look longingly after things that you don’t have and identifications that you would do anything to have applied to yourself. And it is no stretch of the imagination, that you have resolved that you would rather be in charge of your life than experience any more of the things that God has personally arranged for you.

Maybe His plan has never seemed quite right to you, and you wonder if it is possible that it ever will. Not unless, you think, He gives me what I want. But, what if we — and not God and His plans — are the ones who stand in the need of change? What if God’s greatest purpose in our lives is to undo the sin-bent of our souls through any means necessary?

The question is not Is God right? but, Am I able to trust God in whatever He chooses to do with me, knowing that His purposes are for my healing and heart-adjusting?

Think about it, how detrimental could our distrust of God’s purposes be to our hearts? Forget the destruction or defacing of your life, status or acquisitions — could preventing God from working freely in our lives have more serious consequences than these? Is there any promise or guarantee that can assure us that constantly dodging the hand of God will ever pay off rich dividends for us?

Whether you realize it or not, you are in the midst of a life-scape that God has created just for you. Every hardship you walk through is a calling to look into the plans that grieve you until the pain puts your heart in touch with God as an unswerving dependent.

Friend, if you have any reason to dispute this invitation, consider why you have been called by God in the first place. God called you to Himself, not merely because He wants to improve your life, but because He wants to give you life. You are not losing anything of unquestionable significance by living and walking in fellowship with God in Christ. He has negated the death you once knew in captivity to sin, and is now working out His life in you.

If you have been missing the beauty of this, then perhaps you are failing to see yourself from God’s perspective. There is so much more to our lives than ourselves — we each were given life that we might demonstrate the awesome love of God through the privilege of relating to God. And there is so much more to this whole God-man relationship than we can know unless God unravels the whole thing within our hearts.

None of this should be dwarfed into a proposition capable only of pleasing us; that was never the plan. For, when we hang out in this post-God plain, we destroy ourselves. God is the only source and certainty of good in our lives. He is not here because He conveniently augments our best thoughts and ambitions; we have no good or even decent thoughts apart from Him?

In light of this fearful reality, let us leave behind trusting ourselves then, and realize that anything that we might think would be better for us than that which God has placed within our personal borders could be the very thing God is lovingly protecting us from because it would cause us to stumble.

Nothing is accomplished if I win

I’ve tried to be the one with the truth; someone ever servicable in setting people right. I have known of nothing more important than being above reproach. And while I am working so hard to be right, why shouldn’t I be an impetus of the same to others — especially if their priorities seem to be askew?

I have thought that the world needs to hear what I have to say. I have spent far too much time glorying in what I know and have come to understand by experience; I have fantasized about the difference I could make in the lives of needy people by what I should do to acquaint them with the truth.

But I have lacked the self-converting intention to declare not my victories in faith or increases in knowledge, but the only truth that either of us needs: Christ Jesus, the Truth with a capital t.

My only hope of embracing or effusing the Truth is when I first see how wrong, how necessary the conviction of sin and the message of God coming to me in grace is to my right-standing before God. Praise God that He never lets me get too far away from what I need to see of Him in my own brokeness.

I can’t get away from the fact that in everything I do whether it is good or bad — obedience or a mistake — God is pointing me back to what I can learn from it. Whatever status of godliness I seem to achieve I am humbled to realize that what I have is such a small realization of the real thing. In the eyes of God — if I could not boast in the fullness of Christ and His righteousness in and over me — these things I rejoice in would be nearly imperceptible.

I cannot look at how I was before or at the unattractive visibility of an other’s wickedness to increase the exaltation I would have in sin’s decrease in me. The goal of growing as we live out our Christian (life-in-Christ) lives is not that we should feel better about ourselves, or even more concerned about ourselves because of our sins, but that we would be freed from all these empty, self-dominated focuses for the sake of knowing God and glorying in Him alone.