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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Do You Sometimes Feel Like God Has Turned His Back on You?

It seems like some people get all the breaks. Their lives are full of successes. They get to do exactly what they like when they like. Their businesses flourish. Their lives are full of joy.

You, on the other hand, work harder than they do. You pour your heart out to God. And what do you get as a reward? More and more defeat. It seems like you shall never have a victory. It seems like your lot in life is despair.

Do you sometimes think God has turned His back on you? Do you think that He has either forgotten you or has turned against you? Maybe you don't need to have a victory every day but you would certainly like to have one every once in a while.

Have you ever thought that instead of this being your fate or that God had turned His back on you that He is really doing more in your life than those who seem to have the amazing victories? You have produced some fruit and God is pruning you so that you will bear even more.

God has not chosen us to be famous or gather large crowds of admirers. He has chosen us to be disciples and to make disciples. Being a disciple requires that we become like our Master. Our character should match the character of Jesus.

We are instantly changed when we become believers. Our spirit becomes responsive to the Holy Spirit. We are changed from inside out. But we are also in need of change. We become like Jesus by the removal of the things that are contrary to who He is and accepting the things that are like Him. Unfortunately, both of these require a painful transformation.

Character flaws are removed by challenging our status quo. Patience is brought to us by exasperating situations. Our tested patience fails. So, it is tested again and again until we have patience as a character trait. Impatience has been removed by producing patience. If we are full of pride, we are humbled until humility becomes a character trait. If we lack peace we are given troubling times until our lack of peace is replaced with peace.

Not only has God not forgotten us when these things happen; He is actually working more directly with us that we have known before. He has seen in us what we may not have seen in ourselves. (He is never wrong.) He sees us as truly fruit bearing believers who will be changed positively by the pruning He will do on us.

I suppose most people would rather there was a different way to become like Jesus. I know I would. But I have never seen the lack of resistance produce strength. No Olympian has ever won a medal by sitting on a couch.  It required a lot of hard work and pain.

So, the next time that you think God has turned His back on you remember this: He is giving you His full attention as He brings you through the process of becoming like His Son.

Unfortunately, the process means we have to go through significant challenges.

John 15:1-2 (ESV)
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.


Anonymous said...

thank you for this! i need to read it. :)

1LostSheep said...

Thank you for your insightful article. You made a great point by comparing building spiritual strength to weightlifting, which is fruitless without the force of opposition. This was helpful.