Original Post Date: September 21, 2017
The past two years of my life have been somewhat of a rollercoaster to say the least. One of my last blog posts is dated December 2015, and since then I’ve moved back to the States, finished up a year of ministry, transitioned into life as a full time employee, searched for and found a church to call home, planned a wedding, transitioned into life as a newlywed, and started graduate school to pursue my Masters in Counseling.
And although these are all exciting and forward moving happenings, they came with challenges. Like a lot of challenges. I vividly remember times when all I could do was cry out to the Lord because there were no words to describe what I was feeling. I look back and see that the Lord was refining me like gold refined by fire. It was a season that required me to walk completely by faith. The details of that season play a vital role in me feeling what I felt and when I felt it, but they are minuscule when compared to the overall purpose of what the Lord was doing in me. Before then I experienced deliverance fairly quickly. I’m not talking about deliverance from demons. I’m talking about the Lord’s rescuing hand, His grand intervention in a trying situation. Up until that point I’d been through many challenges in my life, but Jesus in the fullness of His grace had always revealed the purpose and truth of the challenge faster than the pain could take root in my heart.
This time, however, was different.
This wasn’t a season of life that the Lord wanted to rescue me from; He wanted to walk me through it. And I didn’t understand the significance of allowing Him to do so until I came across Luke 4:14-30 about a year later. Context: Jesus is fresh into ministry. He returns from being led by the Spirit into the wilderness and tempted by Satan. He goes back to His hometown, walks into a synagogue, and reads part of a personal favorite of mine: Isaiah 61. Those who were listening were amazed and began to speak highly of Him. Jesus, however, knew the ways of man and had no problem communicating the fleeting nature of their praises.
Let’s just say that started a little trouble.
Luke 4:29-30: They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
Rewind to Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. Matthew 4:11 says that after Satan left, there were angels that came to Jesus to take care of Him. It was heaven’s intervention after a trying situation, if you will…but now, here on this cliff, after being driven out of His hometown, it isn’t deliverance that comes to His aide, it’s perseverance. Jesus turns away from the cliff and walks through the faces of rejection and disapproval, and He does so with courage.
I’m sure you could think of a time when it would have been great to be miraculously delivered out of a trying situation; but there are lessons we learn from allowing the Lord to walk us through our challenges that we may miss if all we desire is for Him to rescue us from them. If He rescues us, we know His power. If He walks with us, we know His nearness. And that’s the truth I’m standing on as I look back on the past two years of my life. I experienced Jesus as Emmanuel, God with us, in a way I never had before. I learned to depend on Him in a way that has made all the difference in my current season of life, and I look more like Jesus now than I did before this glorious refinement.
Christ as my anchor
Love as my weapon