In your sufferings when you are wondering how to ignite your faith, know that through complete surrender, God will grow you.
If it’s true that the darker the roast of the coffee, the more intense the flavor, then it stands to reason that for a rich, strong life, we are going to have to go through the fire. We are also going to have to trust that this “roasting” can and will deepen our walk. The finer the grind of the beans, the more concentrated the coffee.
And who among us hasn’t had to endure the daily grind, and still even more difficult trials? Trials have come, the Scripture says, “so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine” (1 Peter 1:7). Our faith becomes genuine as we struggle. The easy faith of the “church of happy circumstances” is replaced by fire- roasted, holding-on-to-him-for-dear-life faith. And this faith is worth more than gold.
Suffering has a way of opening our eyes. C. S. Lewis has been quoted as saying, “Pain is the megaphone God uses to rouse a deaf world.
Friends, we’re going to get roasted. You can stop reading now, but you know it’s true. Life is really hard.
Even Jesus suffered and struggled in his surrender to trust God. When he prayed in the Garden, “Not my will, but thine be done,” he was demonstrating his willingness to lay down his own agenda for a greater one. It’s possible this is the most terrifying prayer in all of Scripture. It’s the ultimate picture of trust—I have a will, but rather than use it for my own plan, I’m going to trust that from what I know of you, it is your plan that I want. Even if it will break my heart, we’ll go with yours.
How can we get to this kind of surrender but through tears, honesty and prayer? Just as Jesus did, we bring our lives (and our wills) to God, wrestling all the way, and offer to trust his way rather than our own. Notice I didn’t write, “Just bring your problems to Jesus, and then get over them.” Not only do I NOT believe our problems are something to “get over,” I don’t believe we even know how to bring them to Jesus until we can tell the truth about our problems and surrender to Jesus. I have often prayed with people who are afraid to tell the truth. They find it so difficult to admit to having real problems or deep doubt.
They may be questioning God, or even angry with God, but their prayers still sound very sweet and kind: “God, I just know that you know what’s best for me, so I just thank you for all that you’ve given me, and I just praise you for who you are.” It’s not my place to judge anyone’s prayers, but I think God would be honored with a bit more honesty. He made our hearts for heaven’s sake, he knows what’s in them, so we might as well be honest with God.
At a dinner party in their home one evening, a father asked his six-year-old daughter to offer the prayer before the meal.
“But I don’t know what to say,” the little girl replied, looking around at the guests.
The father coaxed her a little more, gently pressing. “Just say what you’ve heard Mommy say.”
“Dear Lord,” she began, “why did I invite all these people to dinner?”
Now, that’s honest. Do we trust that prayer is the safest place to tell the truth? Do we dare believe that God can hold our hearts and all that is in our hearts? That He fully knows who we are and even more, who we can become? There is no safer place to begin telling the truth than to the God who made you and loves you.
True surrender is to open your hands, lay down your guns, false motives, and strategies, and give the Eyes of love a good look at you. There is no shame at the feet of Jesus. No one can come and pull the curtain back and expose you; the curtain is already open. It’s been torn from top to bottom. There is nothing to hide in the presence of God.
Our prayers reveal our shortsightedness and lack of under- standing. We pray for God to bring us a friend rather than praying for the wisdom and heart to be a friend. We pray, “Lord, take this struggle away,” rather than “Let this struggle change me to look more like you.” When we pray and ask God for specific things we want, we are often disappointed. But when we ask for the Lord’s will or for his presence, we are never left wanting. God is shaping us by our suffering, and he will not leave us or forsake us in the midst of it.
In fact, the opposite is the promise of Scripture, “God is near to the brokenhearted” (Ps. 34:18, paraphrased). Unfortunately another promise of Scripture is “in this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). In this world, we will face the daily grind. But as the grounds pile up, just know that none are lost or wasted, like our tears. God has a way of using them beyond our wildest imaginations.
For more encouragement, you may enjoy Love Covers
A bestselling author, performer, and motivational speaker, and FOUNDER of SEASONS WEEKEND, Nicole Johnson has been making audiences laugh and cry for over 25 years. With humor, compassion and wisdom, Nicole communicates using her unique blend of drama and speaking skills. She addresses issues drawn from the comedic struggles of our daily lives to the deeper questions that arise from our personal tragedies. Whether she is performing one of her original sketches on motherhood or breast cancer or sharing simple lessons from her own life, Nicole leaves each cup filled with a Fresh-Brewed perspective that brings Hope to the Daily Grind. Nicole lives in Santa Monica, CA with her husband Roy, and their two children.
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