So that God is Pleased & I Grow in the Middle
When we lived in Florida, I loved to slip from between my sheets at O'dark hundred, pile sleepy boys into the car and head to the beach for sunrise. Between my sips of coffee and their mouthfuls of donuts there would be soft sounds of surprise as the sun timidly poked up from the horizon. When it finally burst forth, arrayed in its brilliant light there was always a round of applause for the glory of a new day. Praise for the Lord's faithfulness would escape my lungs and I knew peace.
After the last chore is done and each kiddo is tucked safely under the blankets, my hands wrap around a warm mug and I curl up in my front porch chair. The air is soft and glows hues of pink and orange. The sun, no longer demure is muted in its passion for the day. As it slips behind the earth once a again it leaves a glow that wraps around my soul. I cannot help but breath deeply of God's faithfulness once again. The beginning and end of the day are easy. It's the middle that is hard. It's messy. Seasons in life are much the same. New possibilities burst on the scene with excitement and when the journey reaches the end it fades with a warm glow. It's the living in between that pulses with highs and lows. So why the struggle? Why the wrestle in the middle?
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you, both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Oh, I get tired of the work. There is always laundry, lesson planning, and cooking to do. Then add the effort of meeting the emotional & spiritual needs of raising a family. Don't forget trying to build community. We all want & need a tribe. Never mind the unforeseen obstacles like loosing a job, moving, unwanted illnesses. And somewhere in there, you find room for a quiet space just for you. It's exhausting. Some days I want to curl up under the covers and never emerge. But I am called to "work out my salvation". Just to be clear, I'm not earning my salvation. There is nothing I can do in my own strength that can save me from myself. Rather, I am learning to walk in my salvation. To take all the burdens of the middle, whether it be just one day or a season of life, and be fully alive to the resurrection reality that is mine in Christ Jesus.
So that God can use me for His good pleasure.
Maybe, like me, you sometimes get a little sassy with Jesus. (In the privacy of your own heart of course, cause then nobody else knows. Right?) "Well, that's good in all, Jesus. But what about me?" Have you ever asked that question? No? Just me. Okay. Thankfully, He is tender and forgiving. He answers even when I'm being stinky.
We also pray that you become fully mature...Finally brothers, rejoice! Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind and be at peace. The God of love & peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:9b & 11
Here is a "so that" for you and me...to become fully mature.
God is growing us.
I can't help but picture the Redwood trees of the West Coast.
They are big, beautiful giants in the forest. But they didn't get that big over night. It took time to grow as they weathered the changing seasons. My dear friends, we are being prepared for eternity with Jesus. The struggle, the middle is so that we grow & mature. So that we can be giants of the faith.
Drink in the sunrise & the adventure of a new day. Breath deep of the sunset & it's touch of grace. His mercies are new every morning. But don't grow weary of the middle. Learn to embrace it.
And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not loose heart.