Ignited: Learning How to Love the Journey

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See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”  1 John 3:1a (NLT)

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We all go through trials.  When I was first saved many years ago, I erroneously thought that since I’d now accepted Jesus Christ into my life that my life was going to be pretty spiffy.  You know, privileged, special, safe.  While there is truth in that, Christ doesn’t suggest your life is going to be carefree and easy once you are part of the Kingdom.  On the contrary, as I look back over my life, it has been profoundly marked by trials, some fairly easy to walk through and some I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  The point however, is that the Lord walks with you through the trials of your life.

The lessons of this truth can be hard fought.  Trials can often bring up our own fight or flight response.  Often we panic in the face of a trial, especially if it’s something we didn’t expect.  Being blindsided isn’t an easy thing; walking through something you never intended nor thought you’d have to walk through is weighty stuff.

When we accept Christ into our lives, we are so new to the things of God we often make wrong judgments about what this is going to look like.  It’s going to be, hopefully, a lifelong journey with the One who loves us so much He was willing to sacrifice His own Son to die for our sins.  We don’t understand however, now that we have committed to following Christ, He is faithful to help us realize both the errors of our ways and also the giftings and blessings He has waiting in the wings for us.  We savor the gifts and blessings; the errors well, not so much.

Recently the Lord gave me an image to help me understand.  Growing up watching old western movies and cartoons there were countless times when the good guys are trying to save someone or the family property.  Often the bad guys utilized the big bang effect of dynamite to intimidate those they were trying to swindle or kill.  How many times did I watch with rapt attention as the dynamite was placed and a long, winding fuse was unwound off a spool.  Out of the house or mine or property came someone carrying this spool, unwinding it like thread, so as to be inconspicuous or overlooked to the unsuspecting eye.  Around trees, under rocks, over boulders and sometimes even around bluffs or hills the fuse was unwound so there was enough room between the offender and the explosion.

Then the bad guys waited for just the right moment.  A match was struck and placed to the end of the winding fuse.  Watching as a child, this always created a sense of suspense in my heart.  The fuse was going to burn for quite some time.  Often the folks the explosion was aimed at were oblivious to the impending doom.  The music would heighten.  The camera pans periodically from the unsuspecting recipients to the burning fuse, ever making its way closer and closer to the hidden dynamite.  And, true to Hollywood, sometimes the fuse was discovered and put out by the good guys and sometimes we would watch as the hissing ended in an explosion of great magnitude.

Welcome to our lives.  Sometimes we’re minding our own business, never aware that coming toward us is a neatly concealed fuse, lit by the enemy of our souls.  We get blindsided periodically by these burning, hissing displays cleverly disguised as trials in our lives.  Every once in awhile, we see them coming and we can take precautionary action to douse the burning fuse.  Unfortunately, there are also those times that we succumb to the blast of a trial gone wrong in our lives.

How do we learn to perhaps not enjoy, but at least endure the trials of our lives?  By recognizing that we gave our lives over to a God who is so in love with us that He will see us through even the worst of trials.  He loves us.  He adopted us.  And so He will stand by us as we figure out, hopefully with His help and input, exactly how to walk it out.

Can you look back now and see that He really did get you through?  I can.  I didn’t do so well always in the midst of the trials, but looking back I can see vividly that my Father in heaven has been faithful.  I pray for you this day you might begin to look differently at the burning, hissing fuses of your life.  Yes, they may threaten and they not be what you would have chosen but God has a plan for even this fuse in your life.  And sometimes, He even comes in a nick of time and douses that fuse with water.

Trials are part of our journey, don’t deny them.  It is through them that we grow.  It’s why James 1 tells us to consider trials an opportunity for great joy.  Yeah well, I may not be quite there yet Lord, but I’m definitely doing better at seeing your hand in the midst of my trials.

Lord, help my friends to understand your heart in the midst of trials.  Every trial is an opportunity for a promotion.  Let there be rejoicing in heaven this day as many are promoted in their thinking about the trials of life.  Bless them Lord, and keep them safe.  Oh, and Lord?  If it’s possible, douse some of those fuses please!  Thanks Lord and watch over my friends.

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