My friends, this series about God’s Preparation continues. Last week we talked about trials and challenges, along with three key points in how Jesus moves in us and our lives during these times. If you haven’t read that post yet, click here to catch up.
This next part continues to build upon how God prepares us for the trials and challenges in our lives. We may be caught off guard by these situations that either occur as consequences of our own decisions and actions, the decisions and actions of others, and/or the enemy’s targeted attack, BUT God is not. (I’m totally getting this “but God” movement now.)
Foundational to this journey is trust in God, ever increasing trust in God. And in order to trust God more and more with all areas of our lives, we must believe that He is good. I’ve written about this before, but felt God nudging me to review this, because if we do not believe that God is good, that His purposes and plans for us are always for our good, and that He is always working for our good, then we cannot trust Him.
This is the truth of Romans 8:28:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
"All" means ALL in the Bible and encompasses everything. Even in the worst areas of our lives, in the worst challenges, in the worst sufferings, God is working for the good of those who love Him. That is His promise and He never breaks His promises and He never fails in keeping them.
God is not capable of lying (Titus 1:2) and He never has an impure motivation. He is good, He works for our good, and His plans are good. That is His unchanging character.
If you find this is an area that you struggle with (and we all have or will at some point), I urge you to seek Him for His promises in the Bible, write them down and pray them. This is so foundational and again, connects to the transformation of our minds (as I shared in that series earlier this year).
Remember these key points all found in Romans 8:28
- God is good. ALWAYS.
- God is sovereign and has a PLAN and PURPOSE for ALL things.
- God is an equipper and will provide what we need to walk through every trial and challenge.
- God is a redeemer and will bring purpose out of every trial and challenge and will restore what we have lost in His way and His timing.
My friends, I truly believe it comes down to this. How we perceive God and His character will directly affect how we look at our circumstances. The more we seek Him in truth to know Him more, the more we will see we can trust Him, and the more we trust Him, the more we can let go and have child-like faith. I know I want that more than anything, to know Him more and to trust Him with all of my life. He is worthy and loves us so much! It amazes me that He longs for this even more than we do, and not for His gain but for ours.
In this year of intimacy, I’ve had to let go of control, or more factually, the idea of control. I do not like pain and I do not like not knowing what lays ahead of me. Can you relate?
As I have shared in the past, God told me He was preparing His vessel. I believe He is doing this in many of us right now. The more I walk in this time of preparation, the more I understand how challenging it can be. I want to walk through this stuff with a heart to learn whatever it is that God is showing me so that “at the right time, He will lift me up in honor, as I give Him all my worries and cares (1 Peter 5:6-7).
I sought God for more understanding and this is what He showed me. We are like fruit trees and if you are familiar with fruit trees, they start off small and take several years to grow and strengthen before they begin to bear fruit. The growth part is crucial to the tree's ability to produce and carry the fruit. If fruit comes too soon, it is often inedible and the branches are not ready. Or the tree tries to overproduce and the branches are weighed down and can’t hold it all. Our struggle is often our desire to produce certain fruit or quantity of fruit before our branches have grown enough. We are impatient. (I know this to be true of me!) Preparation takes time. To grow, to prune, to be fed and strengthened. To become vessels the Lord “honors.”
Let me show you a funny little “truth” that God showed me. Take a look at the Scripture below:
Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. — 2 Timothy 2:20-21
The word “honor” in this verse in Greek is timē. Do you see what I saw? Looks like the English word “time,” doesn't it? And that was God's point in showing me this. Honor takes time and preparation and is done by the Master. I don’t know about you, but when I saw this, I smiled. God has an amazing sense of humor.
My friends, I know it’s hard to believe and even accept at times, but our trials and challenges DO have a purpose in them—God’s purposes that we can seek and look for if we are willing to let Him show us. This requires us to take our eyes of the “bad” and to seek the good. To seek God (and again I find it interesting that good and God are only different by one letter).
Remember these Scriptures from last week?
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. — 1 Peter 5:6-7
In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. — 1 Peter 5:10
At the right time, God lifts us up in honor. This is part of His preparation so that after we have endured, He will can restore, support and strengthen us so that we are placed on that firm foundation, and bear every kind of fruit. And amazingly again, this fruit winds up being exactly what we need for the next trial or challenge.
I can think of no better way to end than with this truth:
Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. — Colossians 1:10, NLT
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