It is so easy to get comfortable in one’s own comfort zone; allowing other people and circumstances to limit one’s possibilities, one’s vision, and one’s purpose. Yet, God has a way of throwing a monkey wrench into comfort zones. Just when we think that all is well, and that we have finally arrived, God shows up, steps in, and challenges us to move, and to grow spiritually. Sometimes growth comes through painful experiences, through loss, and sometimes through struggle. But spiritual growth always produces good fruit. It is never void or barren.
Spiritual growth requires openness and an awareness of one’s own humanness and vulnerability. It is the realization that everything comes from God. We are his creation, his beautifully crafted tools, created for his purpose, to glorify him, and to be used at his discretion.
Spiritual growth also requires self-discipline, commitment, sacrifice, and regular prayer and communion with him. It requires studying his word, not just from an academic or theoretical perspective, but as one who seeks to know beyond the superficial, beyond the surface. Because to know, requires a change in behavior. It is similar to one who looks at his reflection in the mirror and decides whether to fix himself up or to continue in disarray.
One might ask, why? Why follow this path? Life is hard enough. Why seek that which will never bring instant gratification? Yet, the human spirit needs more . . . more than the glitter and glamour that the world can provide. It is hungry, thirsty, wounded, beat-down, tired and desperate for something more.
I believe that this is why so many of us seek purpose – a higher call than our careers, wealth, and power. We feel in our spirits that life must be more than what we can see and obtain. There has to be more to life than going to work every day in order to pay bills and to get by. There must be more than loving and losing. There has to be more than watching good people die young; or more than suffering or watching others suffer. I submit that in spite of it all, God has a purpose for each of us. The best has yet to come!
Many of us have seen God’s handy work, whether directly or indirectly. I, personally, have experienced a transformation that only God could have made. I’ve also seen God change people that I might have counted out, and thought were hopeless. We can also look at our Haitian brothers and sisters, and while we see the poverty and devastation, we can also see their hope and resilience. People are still being rescued from under the rubble after being buried for 14 days. Miracles still happen, and the best is yet to come.
While circumstances can arise that may make us question God and our faith, we must believe that he has our best interest at heart. We must believe that God doesn’t put more on us than we can bear. I know this personally, because in my weakness, God was there. He was there through my mother's fight with cancer. He was there in my darkness and embittered spirit. He was there through the difficulties and challenges of marriage. He was also there through job loss and childrearing. I can confirm that he has never abandoned me.
If you haven’t seen God in action in a while, I challenge you to ask him, in faith, to make a difference in your life, according to his will. I promise that he will not let you down, and that the best is yet to come.