We like transformation. We may just struggle to like its cost.
We celebrate it when people make a change, break an addiction and choose a more healthy path. We like to see things go from the broken or inefficient way they once were, to something better.
Transformation is a great reality, but let’s be honest: it’s tough.
To make something go through a transformation process means it will have to endure adversity. Heck, even donuts – begin as a scoop of dough, but it’s the ‘fire’ they have to endure that brings forth the good stuff. Am I right? Who’s with me?
Transformation on any level involves challenges, set backs, difficulties and endurance.
Friends, God is in the life transformation business.
And transformation of anything, always involves a “mess” before the finished look.
(anyone here remember home improvement projects?)
The Scripture writer James records words like “consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)
As we go through these trials and adverse circumstances – something is getting produced. Produced within us so that we lack nothing. That’s profound. And that might be difficult to swallow. Especially when you’re in the middle of the discomfort or difficulty.
Unless, you’re honest with yourself and looking back over your life, come to the realization that the ‘good’ things about your character have been partly shaped by the challenges and circumstances you had to endure…
Even in the darkness of things you didn’t even choose…God was at work.
A promise that the Apostle Paul is pointing to in Romans 8 – the verse we Christians utter at times. Is not that ALL THINGS ARE GOOD…but rather, that GOD IS AT WORK and will bring good out of all things…
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son… (Romans 8:28-29a)
The essence of the character of Jesus – God wants to form within you. Within me. And it’s often through the difficult moments of life where He can form it more deeply and genuinely within us.
Here’s some other thoughts and a quote from a recent sermon on the transforming work God is up too…
Is it possible that in some way people actually need adversity, setbacks, challenges to reach the fullest level of development and growth?
Maybe adversity and suffering isn’t to be avoided, but rather, it can keep us available to a power that is needed…available to God and available for God.
God does some of His best transforming work IN us, through adversity and challenges going on AROUND us.
God does not promise us better life circumstances if we love him. He promises us a better life.
Jesus Christ did not suffer so that we wouldn’t suffer. He suffered so that when we suffer, we will become like him.
God’s the master at creating and building something incredible out of some incredibly challenging and adverse circumstances.
A life of faith is forged through the crucible of sufferings & adversity; it doesn’t just fall into place comfortably. (James 1:2-4)
Discomfort & adversity are tools God can use in our lives. Tools that grow our connection with Christ and Christ’s character within us.
Sufferings can be recycled to help somebody else. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
God may not relieve all discomfort or pain – but he will redeem it. He will RECYCLE it to help you and others.
Suffering creates the possibility of growth in holiness, but only to those who are open to the training – not by arguing with the Lord about what they did or did not do to deserve this, but by praying, “Lord, show me what You have for me in this.”~Elisabeth Elliot (book: A Path Through Suffering)
God is always at work behind the scenes of our lives. He’s at work producing, recycling and creating His heart within us.
“The Best is Yet to Come”
Hang in there. Not everything that happens to you is good. I’m truly sorry for that.
May you remain open to the God who is at work and will bring some kind of good from it…He’s big enough.