We don’t know why we suffer and on the surface it seems to make no sense. We think it has something to do with us and it does, kind of. But God allows us to have all sorts of experiences for this primary reason:
He’s making us useful in the lives of others.
To allow us to walk through a similar circumstance so we can offer comfort, healing and hope to bleeding souls. In fact He says as much through Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:4:
“..comforts us in all afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
It’s not as much about you and me as we’d like to think. He’s not mad and you’re not being punished. You may be reaping something you’ve sown, that’s between you and God, but you’re not going through difficulties because you’re being punished. No, it’s something else altogether.
You’re being educated.
Educated in intimacy-the hardest, the most glorious thing. Think about this: the savior of the world, the maker of stars, the Son of the morning, the Dayspring from on high, the Rose of Sharon, and King of Kings-He wants intimacy and oneness with you. And with me. Impossibly possible and wonderful.
He does and the thing is, He wants it only on His terms. And His terms take us to the deep, dark parts of ourselves, the perverted pride, the ugly thoughts, the cruel motives, the frightening tendencies. He dredges them up and lays them out over and over till we’re willing to say yes to repentance. Yes to forgiveness. Yes to faith and praise no matter what’s going on in our lives.
Some lessons in intimacy take longer than others. I fought God for years in my season of infertility and desperate desire for another child. I didn’t get what He was teaching and I desperately wanted to drop His class! It was hard, it was painful and I hated it!
Because I couldn’t see God’s why. All I could see was the hole in my heart, the empty place He couldn’t fill. The hurt and the hollow. The bleeding need.
He kept teaching and He refused to let me drop the class. He kept at it and together we peeled back the layers and the years and the sorrow. Just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I fould I had the power to go home all along.
Because He was trying to get me to see just one thing the whole time. It’s a really simple lesson. Simple and hard like all lessons in intimacy. And the lesson is this:
He is enough.
That’s what I needed to learn and He will do whatever He needs to in order for us to grasp the truth.
Anything in life I think can satisfy more than Him simply won’t. He will have nothing less than my whole heart, full of Him and empty of all else including every idol rattling around I feel compelled to bow down to.
Nothing you desire, not the baby, not the relationship, or the job, the raise, the position, the influence or recognition, none of it compares to one real moment in God’s presence. As John Piper famously says, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”
And God is most satisfied when He can look into our hearts and see His own face reflected there because our hearts are full of Him.
What is He teaching you right now? Do you desperately want to drop the class? I know, I totally get it. But friend, the best thing you will ever have is Him. Whatever good thing you want, no matter how good it seems right now, can’t ever compare because good is always the enemy of the best. He’s so much more than you think. Let Him peel back the layers and get to your heart. It’s part of the maturing process. We have to go to school before we’re useful in the world. We have to learn certain lessons. Hard lessons.
As you allow Him access to your heart and submit to His deep lessons, you will gain intimacy with Him. As He takes you through and you find He comes through, as you gain firsthand knowledge of His faithfulness, you’ll hear His heartbeat and He will send you out to bring comfort, healing and hope to other bleeding souls.
Are you in ‘intimacy class’ right now? How can I pray for you?