It is all about the process
Today I had the most amazing conversation with a friend.
It was about the worst time in his life, a nightmare situation that could have destroyed him emotionally, spiritually, physically, and financially. Instead God used it to take him to the depths of who he really is and reveal his true heart. While the catalyst of this journey was outside of his control the outcome was determined by his attitude, reaction and willingness to submit to the journey God had him on.
I sat transfixed and listened to his story amazed by God’s love and how he revealed himself in the midst of his pain. While he was speaking I got a picture of the hands of God holding back evil in his life allowing only a trickle to penetrate. Now that trickle wasn’t outside of God’s control but was what he allowed to temper, discipline and grow him. It was because of that situation that he came to depend on God more, trust him more and experience more of his love. What a powerful experience.
How do I respond to the dark nights of my soul? Do I look to God for his love, thank him for his provision and express gratitude for the chance to learn? No, I usually complain, get angry, and let bitterness take root. That is my true nature revealed in stress and fear.
Then I realized, everything that happens to us and around us is about our process. It is how God is teaching us, growing us and revealing himself to us. What lessons am I failing because I refuse to submit? What part of his presence in my life am I shunning because it isn’t how I expected it or wanted it?
My friend told me that he had to get on his face before God and admit his inability to do anything. He had to confess, repent and have faith that God would deliver him, in his timing. He said he had to reach the end of who he was before God moved. It was then, in humility and complete surrender that he learned his own attempts at deliverance failed because God was in control and he alone would decide when his lesson was over. As a result his life now has focus, fulfillment and community. He has become more authentic and his life is moving in a completely different direction.
So often in these types of situations we’re tempted to ask God why. Why is this happening? Why did you allow this. But that is the wrong question. It is a futile question. What we need to ask instead is a how or what question. How will you deliver me? What do you need me to do? What do I need to learn?
These are questions that will help us move forward. The why question only gets us caught into rhetorical debates. Asking why makes us stagnant. Asking why makes us bitter. It is when we can ask how and what that God can move because we’re getting out of the way. Asking how and what questions moves us into action.
What a powerful lesson. I need to ask how God wants me to use this in my life. What do I need to learn? What are you showing me God? How can I grow from this? What do I need to let go of in my life?