I can be like a child sometimes, resistant to the work of the Spirit in my life.
Maybe you have found yourself in a hard wilderness season you don’t want to be in. Maybe you are one who compliantly allows God to teach you the lesson you need to learn and move on. I am not that compliant personality.
As a broken person in a continual state of mending, I display a tendency to resist God on occasion, aggravating my comrades. Fortunately, I have been blessed to be in community with believers who love me despite this tendency. That love has provided me insight and been a healing balm in the midst of my pain. I recognize that every time I act unbecomingly, I am acting out of pain and brokenness. We all do this: wounded people wound people.
In the story I’m about to relate, my behavior wasn’t bad, but my attitude was.
I was invited to eat lunch at a vegan eatery that specializes in sandwiches made on gluten free waffles. They sounded good, but slightly weird, as I was unfamiliar with the taste of gluten free products. When encountering the unfamiliar, my tendency is to manifest Asperger type reactions because I rely on familiar places and patterns for comfort. I may verbalize my internal resistance with a negative comment here or there or a sarcastic facial expression. I wasn’t being ornery, just allowing a thought or two to escape into the open. It turned out that my sandwich was delicious, pleasantly surprising me.
I will definitely eat there again. I realized that I manifest similar responses to the Lord as He takes me through certain difficult life events. Like a child arguing, we can oppose the work of the Holy Spirit or submit to Him in humble surrender during trying circumstances.
When I recognize certain ugly attitudes, I am ashamed of my immaturity. I confess my shortcomings to the Lord and attempt to make them right with the parties involved. These shortcomings are the waste places in our lives. The dry, barren lands where no good fruit has grown. Like a dead patch of grass on an otherwise green lawn, these dead spots in our lives cause the landscape of our lives to be less than lovely.
I am learning to invite God into the waste places. In prayer, I set these imperfections before Him and invite Him to cleanse me of my sin and bathe me in holy water (figuratively speaking). The act of confessing prayer is the cleansing action. He always answers with a scripture verse I can use in the future to improve my performance. Perfection is not the goal; holiness is.
Places of elongated wilderness cause us to recognize our weakness, our deep need of God. For me, it always boils down to trust.
Every test is another lesson in learning deeper levels of trust. We must trust Him despite the pain. We must trust God amidst the pain.
I like to view trust using the image of the woman in Song of Songs 8:5 whose friends see her and ask, “Who is this coming out of the desert leaning on her beloved?” She proceeds to answer them in verses 6-7 with her earnest declaration of love. “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised.” These times of testing can produce in us the deepest trust we have ever known, the most intense passion for our Bridegroom King that is beyond words.
These fiery trials can either fuse our hearts to His as melted metal, or harden our hearts to a cold state of anger, disappointment and unbelief.
Prayer Activity: My prayer for myself and you beloved, is that we learn to lean into Him, leaning so heavily that if He shifts, we fall. Pray with me, won’t you? Precious Jesus, I want to know you as my Bridegroom King, the One who is returning for me at the end of the age. Help me trust you today in every fiery test I am experiencing. Grant me revelation to understand how to respond, how to rest in you during it and the grace to trust you, despite my lack of human understanding. Grant me grace to submit to the working of Your Spirit in my life. I ask for Spirit inspired prayers to pray during this time, prayers that inject words of hope and life into myself and others. Help me keep my thoughts focused on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). Help me to take captive to the obedience of Christ every thought that does not exalt you (I Corinthians 10:5). Forgive me for wanting to throw nails under the tires of you know who. (It’s a joke people). I know that You are the God of the Angel Armies and that You fight for me during this time. I remind myself that You have my back and that Your love surrounds me as a wrap-around blanket. You hedge me in behind and go before me, so I am safe and protected in Your love. I know You are with me as I walk through this time that seems dark, holding my hand through it all. I trust You, Jesus that You are working all things out for my good, despite my lack of understanding how it will all shake out. I trust that Your ways are good. You are a good God and I trust you. I love you, Jesus. In You, I live and move and have my being. Amen”