Navigating a Crisis of Belief
Just as it is with going to college, sitting through high school classes; sitting through training, etc. — we sit through this period where we would much rather be doing hands-on work and the things we want to do; even enjoying the fruits of what we get to do, well before we’ve submitted ourselves to the process of getting there, and we find ourselves quickly becoming impatient; wanting so badly to jump to the end result, without investing in the requirements that it takes to get to that result, which sometimes takes years.
So it is with trials and tribulations in this life: how easily and how quickly we become impatient to get out of the sufferings or bad situation; and to get to the deliverance and the freedom that we so desperately long after, amidst of our sorrow and pain.
Just as an apprentice does not get to the anvil without first standing off to the side, watching, listening, and learning–and even as they start to get more hands-on experience, they learn very quickly the do’s and don’t’s–often times mastery comes with a certain measure of pain and suffering one must endure; even a certain measure of learning the hard way at times. But it’s fundamentally necessary to go through what we don’t want to go through, to not only get to where we need to be, but to also be able to one day see: that is actually where we want to be.
That is the 180 degree perspective is what I want to focus on in explaining the question, “Why God?”
As it normally is the case, we start out confused, offended, and even hurt; not understanding much about our circumstances; to being very displeased with our situation; to then rushing to vacate the situation long before considering the possibility that perhaps God may actually have another plan for us and a greater purpose for where we are today.
Hence, the reckoning with who God is and faith and trust in what God is doing, even though we don’t necessarily know what that is; which will produce a change in perspective concerning our sufferings, trials, and things that don’t seem right in our lives; and that change in perspective will eventually lead us to where we need to be, and where we want to be in life.
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul records for us a time in his life where he had a thorn in the flesh. And just like us, he wanted it gone.
However, Paul also made the connection that his thorn in the flesh was somehow associated with the abundance of revelation he was receiving from God; and that it was done in order to keep him humble (“lest I should be exalted above measure.”
Paul records his initial response to the thorn being “gifted” to him (dramatized):
- God: “Here you go…”
- Paul: “What’s this?”
- God: “A thorn.”
- Paul: “A thorn? Um, thanks, but no thanks.”
- God: “No, you need to take this.”
- Paul: “But, I don’t want it.”
- God: “Doesn’t matter, take it.”
- Paul: “Please, can I not?”
- God: “Take it.”
In reality, rather than taking the thorn away, God explains to Paul why He gave him that thorn in the first place: to show how His grace was sufficient for Paul, saying, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
The reason Paul identified for the thorn in his flesh may be different than the real reason you may be going through what you're going through. As we continue, keep in mind that God works with people on an individual level. In this way, God is able to achieve a perfect balance of gifts and roles throughout the body, in order to accomplish His divine purposes, such that no one member would have whereof to glory, but in the Lord.