Recently, I was reminded me that God called Moses to lead the Children of Israel out of bondage. Then God deliberately hindered Moses’ efforts to succeed. You remember the story, Moses came from his 40 year respite in the desert to lead the people of Israel out of bondage.
However, the Bible says that God hardened Pharoah’s heart at every turn. Rather than God cooperating with Moses, God fought his success. After his baptism, Jesus was driven into the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by the devil.
With so much scriptural evidence of God’s determination to strengthen his Chosen Ones through hardship, resistance and persecution, we still are captured by the illusion that our journey will be different. Somehow we believe that we will be able to mount the wings of the Holy Spirit and sail over the hardships of life and ministry only touched by the gently caressing breezes of God’s grace and mercy.
The truth is that none of us escape. Each is buffeted though the winds and storms of life valiantly clinging to the cross for our strength. You see, it is the cross and the resurrection that is the center of our experience with Christ. We must never forget that each time resurrection occurs, there has been a crucifixion of self.
Is there joy? Yes. Yes. Yes. Is there peace. Yes, unspeakable peace. Is there life without conflict and hurt. No. But we survive the rebukes and discouragements and pain and walk out of the fire refined. Johnnie Lord, wife of Peter Lord, once said, “God isn’t interested in my performance but in my obedience.” In your Christian life and especially in ministry, performance and even success doesn’t count. Obedience does.
What about you? Have you been going through fire this past week or year? Have you been able to seek Christ through the pain and hurt?
photo by lgh