This summer I have grown a lot, but it has been a different sort of growing than I have ever encountered before. Pain, frustration, and worry have plagued me so that it has been a struggle. Satan has been tempting me and condemning me through his blinding lies, and I forgot who God is. I have felt more anger inside me than ever before. One sin, and Satan causes me to focus on that instead of all the good God has done. However, what I have done this time is no worse than what I did last time. All sin is equal. And yet, God continues to pour His love out for me and make me feel more loved than ever before. I guess that is the effect of grace. God has been so tender, caring, and attentive, giving me daily what I need to get by. Unlike people, God will not withdraw His presence, His blessing, nor His love- no matter what I do or do not do. Satan would have me believe otherwise; so it is important to cement those basic and unchanging truths about God in our hearts, as a defense. It makes me so angry, knowing that he is trying to ruin everything good God has done, and I know he does it to all of us in the lowest, most vile ways. He hits us where we are weak. He tempts us relentlessly until we begin to believe him and fall. After we have hit the ground and are lying there in agony over what we have done, he come along and kicks us in the ribs, jeering and poking at us in ways that may have nothing to do with the reason we fell in the first place. His condemning attacks, that often sound much like ourselves, drive a wedge deeper and deeper between us and God until His face becomes obscured by the lies. And we beat ourselves until Satan has succeeded in the thing he loves doing most to God's children-that is making us weak and ineffective in our purpose: to glorify God to all who are around us.
So why does God allow us to get into these positions in the first place? As many of you know, it all goes back to the first man and woman. God wants us to choose to love Him. Free will is essential to love. It is so easy to love God when we are being blessed left and right, but like Job, how much more when we are faithful through the trials of life? It only is mean to strengthen our relationship with God and our witness because in the end, God will once again bless us. It may not be the way we planned, but whatever it is, it will be much better than we could have dreamed.
So this summer I am learning to "rejoice in my sufferings because suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us." Romans 5:3-5
God's timing and His plan are perfect.