We all have to do things we don't want to do. Things as simple as cleaning the house when we'd rather watch TV or something harder...whatever that may look like.
And then there are the things we know God is calling us to. Things we know will likely hurt, but that are required for righteousness. Things that we'd rather keep hidden away in a box on the inside, ignoring their contents, yet knowing that will weigh us down and keep us from freedom. These things scare me the most. I guess it's because surprising hard things just appear and don't give you time to contemplate, analyze, and consider. Where as deliberately choosing to walk into something you know will be hard produces questions and tempts you to wonder if God really will show up. Or if it's really what he's calling us to.
In these moments, my greatest comfort comes in knowing this is what Jesus did. He endured excrutiating pain to release grace, joy, love, etc. He did not need refining or punishment as he is perfect, yet he took it for us.
The goal of my life is to be transformed more and more into the image of Christ. To accomplish that goal, ugliness must be stripped away. Refinement is necessary. While I wish it didn't, this produces pain as part of me wants to cling to the ugliness as it's what I know.
Trusting is so difficult. Trusting that greater glory comes through suffering with Christ, is especially difficult, even when I've seen it happen in my life before. In those moments, I become like the Israelites and would rather stay in the comfort of slavery instead of walk through the desert to pursue freedom. Trusting each day that the Lord will bring manna, exactly the amount I need for each day.
I do want to become more and more like Christ. And I want my life to bring him glory, and to be used to impact his Kingdom and his people. For that, I will walk into the tumultuous times. I will take that first step into the desert, for I know in my head that God will use it to refine me for his good. And I choose to trust in my heart that he will use that refinement to draw me closer to himself. And I'll prayerfully ask that he'll use my story, my experiences, to bring others freedom through Christ.
I fell in love with the truth of this song while in Brazil. It has continued to stir my heart for Christ and I've listened to it about five times just this morning. :) (side note: sorry for the cheesy background; this version is better but it won't let me embed it)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3