Process has never been my favorite
Some people are process people. They really enjoy the journey.
These are people who will say getting there is half the fun.
My idea of a journey is to the airport. And while I’m getting to my destination I’m enjoying a stiff drink and reading a good book.
But God doesn’t work that way.
God enjoys the process. He loves the journey.
It’s because while we’re in the middle of process, while we’re smack in the center of a circumstance, God gets to shape us and see just how we are going to respond when in a crisis or some unfavorable situation.
It sounds rather mean, doesn’t it? We’re going through something terrible and God, in his power and strength, could sweep in and pick us right up and save us from the big bad problem.
But that doesn’t always happen. It does happen. Sometimes.
And when it does happen that God sweeps in and rescues us and miracles are breaking out and our circumstances are melting away in obedience to the Lord and we’re being victorious…that’s great. Enjoy those times. You’ll need to use those times as remembrance stones for your next crisis to remind you how good God is for you and how much he cares for you.
When God was leading Joshua and his people across the Jordan River with the ark of the covenant, he told Joshua to have twelve men take stones from the bottom of the river and place them where they would make camp for the night “so that this may be a sign among you (Joshua 4:6).”
The stones were so they would always remember that God did the impossible for them (in this case, parted the Jordan River).
When God does a miracle for you or lifts you out of a rather nasty circumstance, write it down. That way you’ll be able to remind yourself of how good God is when the next circumstance comes along.
Don’t Despise the Process
Graham Cooke the other day said something along these lines: If you reject the process, you’re rejecting the thing God’s doing in you.
When we are in the middle of a humdinger of a circumstance, we can do one of two things:
- We can wait God out by digging our heels in the sand and telling him that we’ll just wait until he has to come get us. We can stay put and run in circles refusing to learn how good God is and grow in our faith.
- We can find out who God wants to be for us during that time, choose to praise, and then see ourselves out of our circumstance as much stronger Song People.
I don’t know about you, but number two sounds a whole lot easier.
Writes Graham Cooke, “The process is always about our development into the place that the Father has set aside for us in Christ. Through all the cups and downs of our life’s journey, when we commit ourselves to the process of God, we grow up in all things in Christ (Qualities of a Spiritual Warrior 126).”
The process of getting through a certain circumstance has nothing to do with our comfort. God cares about our comfort and has given us The Comforter as a gift, but going on the journey through a rather challenging circumstance is more about God developing us into a lover completely wrapped up in Christ than it is about us feeling cozy where everything is going right.
If everything went right all the time, we’d not be very strong or mature would we?
Graham continues: “We learn in process that the purpose of problems is to produce faith…tribulation is designed to produce patience and endurance. The objective behind conflict is to increase God’s love in our hearts and bring us to full maturity in His nature (127).”
Enjoy the Process
Let’s start embracing our problems. Let’s enjoy the process of our circumstances. Because we know God is going to come through. Praising God in the middle of a problem will always be more productive than zeroing in on the problem and worrying about it.
This isn’t waiting for him to come sweep us up though. God wants to partner with us and teach us how to battle.
Like a father teaches his son how to wrestle or box in an effort to stand up for himself, God enjoys teaching us the proper methods of how to overcome adverse circumstances. The father who teaches his son to fight enjoys the act of teaching because he’s building relationship with his son! God builds relationship with us while he’s teaching us to fight.
Let’s not forget a very strong weapon of warfare: rest.
Graham Cooke writes that “rest is a weapon.” Matthew 11:28-30 tells us that God will provide rest in order to see us through. When we find ourselves on a tumultuous journey, we can rejoice because God is going to become something for us that we would not have had the opportunity to experience him as otherwise.
And rest is always the weapon of choice. Laying on the floor praying in the spirit seems like laying down on the job. But God honors our rest. When we choose to look away from our problems and instead look at Jesus, we are in the right place. Everything going to hell around us, but we are glued to God’s eyes and going in his direction.
It’s in our problems and circumstances where we will grow and mature into the kinds of Song People we want to be. We’ll have the best stories to tell of how God did something and we’ll have victory over the enemy who will run away when we say boo!