I just love the whole butterfly analogy! Isn’t the way the Lord designed the life cycle of the butterfly and how it relates to Christianity just incredible :)
Blessed is the man who built his house upon the rock. When the storm came, his house remained standing. The house built on sand was destroyed once there was opposition.
Building a house on the rock took more time. In the Jewish culture it was much easier to build on sand. A person had to “dig deeper” in order to find solid ground whereas sand was easily accessible. Although the laboring was much more intense during the building process, how much more grateful is the man that took the time to build a house on solid foundation rather than doing what was easiest and quickest. The man who chose the easy way ended up spending more time on the building process because once a problem arose, he had to start over due to his structure being demolished.
How much better it is to take the time to build on a strong foundation now as opposed to going back and having to correct construction mistakes. I would rather labor now than spend a lifetime repairing.
Jesus, I want my house to be built on the rock. However deep I must dig, let my foundation be you. You will never leave. My house will stand. I don’t want a lifetime of repairing. I want a lifetime of remaining. I will not chose the easy or convenient. I will labor for what lasts.
You hold the key to this garden.
You are the keeper.
It has the potential for beauty, but weeds have covered the ground.
These weeds grew from thinking something else would do.
Simply cutting them back will never suffice.
The garden needs its keeper.
The garden needs his hands.
The garden needs his care.
Come and pull these weeds by their root.
Rid them from ever coming back.
Clear the ground for what you have planted to grow.
Water this garden.
Let the light shine.
For so long, there were hinderances that caused the sun to be blocked.
But now, Master Gardener, only you have the key.
Come into your garden.
Enter in your garden.
Take delight in me.
I just LOVE when the Lord places a Desire or vision on my heart without me having the slightest possibility how things may work together, and then, as He has always been so faithful to do in the past, He begins to open doors.
“For I KNOW the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to give you hope and a future…. You will seek me and fin me when you seek me with ALL of your heart.” - Jer. 29:11,13
The Lord is incredible!
Jesus, I trust you…. I surrender ALL. ALL to thee, my BLESSED Savior, I surrender ALL.
“We must learn to embrace pain and suffering as our friend.” - Bob Warren
The past 7 months has been an incredible journey for me. I have had the opportunity to take a counseling course learning the Exchanged Life Message at a much deeper level. The road has not been an easy one, but it has been rewarding. The Lord has pointed out false belief systems and lies I have believing for quite some time. It has been a wonderful time to rest in the Lord and believe the truth about what He says about me while allowing Him to correct these false beliefs. Tonight ended the first part of the counseling class. We had a paper due that caused us to reflect on what we have learned throughout the course. The quote mentioned above was the first thing the Lord brought to mind for me.
This sounds like such an odd statement. Pain. Suffering. How on earth could I befriend such emotions? The last thing I want to do is enjoy these feelings. In fact, I don’t want to feel pain or suffering. The Lord has taught me an incredible lesson. We all know that were never told this Christian life was going to be an easy road. In fact, the Lord told us we should expect persecution. If they persecuted Christ, why do we believe this journey will be smooth? It’s not. This I understood; however, I did not like this idea of embracing my pain. What does it even mean to embrace something? The first thing that came to my was big hug. One definition Webster gives us this word is, “to receive gladly or eagerly.” Um… no thanks! I’m not really up for gladly receiving pain. Please go to someone else’s door. My life is pretty full, and to be quite honest, that’s not part of “my plan”.
Why does Bob Warren suggest that these emotions should be eagerly welcomed? This is the place we become more like Christ. I’m sure you’ve heard the analogy of the silver? When silver is refined it must go through a heating process. In order to be at its purest form, it must “go through the fire.” Once this process takes place, silver become like liquid. When finally at the purest form, the silver is smooth. All of the excess has been removed. Not only are the lumps gone, but the reflection of the one doing the refining can be seen. What an incredible example of our refining process. When looking at ourselves, in order to see our Master, Jesus’ reflection, we must go through the fire. We must allow Him to take us through this refining process to “remove the excess.” We must experience the fire in order to be rid of the lumps. Once we have experienced this process, when Jesus looks at us, His reflection can be seen rather than our mere selves.
This is the importance of embracing pain and suffering. We can choose not to embrace these emotions. We can chose to find escapes for the hardship we are experiencing. Many people do this. I’ve done this.
What is an escape? Anything. A relationship, movies, drugs, exercise, busyness, etc. We can find our own way to cope with the hand we have been dealt, OR, we can choose to find Christ in the midst of the pain. We can run from suffering, or we can embrace it.
I believe if we turn our back on pain and suffering, we can still make it. I don’t think this means we have turned our back on God. I think it means we are trying to get our needs met apart from Christ. We are looking to some external source to meet the needs Christ has placed inside of our hearts that only He can meet. To me, this is the way we begin to set up a life-long pattern of coping mechanisms. It’s our way to “make it” through life. We don’t want to deal with what is really there. So, let’s say we get our needs met apart from Christ. Lets say we don’t embrace pain and suffering. Instead we put up walls and create our own ways to cope. This is option one. An example? Hm… A woman has been married for 20 years. She just found out her husband has been cheating on her the past 5 years of their marriage (heaven forbid, but a good example). The man leaves her for this younger and thinner woman. This woman that has been divorced realizes she’s going to have to “make it”. She has these needs to be loved. She needs security. Where is she going to get her needs met? Her husband just left her! This pain is WAY too much for her to bare. She has to do something, and fast! She becomes an “active” member at the gym. She is now a size 2. She begins to get attention from other men. She transfers her security from one man to the next. Her pain and suffering suddenly feels much lighter, at least as long as she doesn’t reflect on what has happened to her. She will just keep exercising, starving herself, and getting attention from this new man and any other guy she possibly can. Ahh… she can finally breathe. The answer is just to work harder for the perfect body. - This is her lie. This is her way to cope. This is her getting her needs met apart from Christ.
Option two. Christ’s way. He will supply all my needs (Phil. 4:19). This woman (mentioned previously) comes to the cross. She discovers Jesus. She is broken and hurting. She felt loved and secure at one time. Now, this has all been stripped from her. She no longer has anything. She knows that she cannot bare this pain alone. The great news? She was never meant to! She embraces her pain and suffering. She allows these emotions and this experience to bring her closer to Christ. She discovers the truth. “Christ doesn’t love me based on my figure. He doesn’t love me based on my age. Yes, I feel inferior to this other woman, but striving for perfection is not the answer. Man will always fail me. Jesus, I’m going to let you meet all my needs. I am going to embrace this pain and allow You to refine me.” This woman listens to Christ’s truth about her rather than making ways to cope.
Imagine if instead of running from these emotions, we dealt with them. Imagine if when one relationship went wrong or someone was hurt, people didn’t jump to the next one like the last person was the problem. Perhaps the divorce rate wouldn’t be so high? Imagine if we didn’t spend countless hours a night staring at a television (nothing against t.v.). Perhaps our relationships with our families would be more in depth? Imagine if we didn’t consume ourselves with a busy schedule because we are running from time alone. Perhaps we would accomplish what God wants us to rather than doing everything insight… The list goes on.
I believe part of the answer to this madness is embracing these feelings. Christ has something to teach us in the midst of our suffering. If we turn to Him rather than some external source, He will refine us. He will correct our false belief system which will in return correct our behavior. Jesus Christ will refine us in the fire if we simply let Him. In the end, if we stop running, we will reflect Him, Our Savior.
Jesus, thank you that my life is in your hands. Thank you that you are the potter, and I am merely the clay. Thank you that you are constantly refining me. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for pain. Thank you for suffering. I want to embrace these emotions so that I can discover you at a much deeper level. I want to look like you. I want to be taken through the fire so that I can be refined. I surrender all. You held nothing back from me. My life is in your hands. Jesus, when I look at myself, I want my reflection to be You. You are Lord.