Life has been quite the series of changes recently. Actually, that’s an understatement. Life has changed so dramatically in a number of ways that my brain is still trying to process things from last year. Will Smith said it best:
“Now, this is the story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down.”
Before you say anything, I know – I can’t believe I just quoted the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air either. But that song actually pops into my mind when I think about how much life has changed over the past few years.
As I’ve worked through the different situations life has brought my way, I myself have gone through so many changes as well. The things we go through in this life mold us and have a pretty lasting impact on us. My perspectives have changed, my responses to different situations have changed, my preferences have changed – even my hopes and dreams have changed.
As I look back, it’s clear to me that who I am now is a completely different person from who I was then. It kind of blows me away when I think about how much the Lord has changed me over these years. I give Him all the glory for that, because I know there is no way I could have changed on my own. I was far too stubborn, far too prideful. But the Lord was so gracious and merciful and ever so patient in changing me. And for that I am thankful.
As I’ve transitioned from being a rebellious 20-something-year-old to a less spontaneous and probably more boring version of myself (kidding, I’m actually super cool), I’ve had to learn how to get past the pitfalls this world places before me. It was difficult early on, but the Lord faithfully led me along the way. Over time, it became easier to make God-honoring decisions because He was actively working on making me more like Him. He was replacing my thoughts and desires with His. He was making me new.
But lately, He’s been doing some unexpected things in my life too. Where I had once learned to overcome temptation by avoiding situations altogether, here, in this new season of life, He is very clearly putting me in the middle of these situations – situations I don’t want to be in or be reminded of.
Sure, I could run. I’ve seriously contemplated it several times. I don’t want to be back in the same situations I had failed Him in so many times before. But clearly, the Lord has other plans. He quickly reminded me that He’s in the “redeeming” business. He took those failures of mine and presented me with an opportunity to honor Him this second time around.
It’s incredible to me that He would do that – that He would care to reestablish so many relationships from my past and give me an opportunity to honor Him now, despite how unfaithful I was back then. Given, it’s all still a work in progress – I haven’t made any earth-shattering, gravity-defying, world-changing acts yet.
But I know the Lord has a plan.
Why else would He reestablish these friendships? Why else would He put me in situations He knows I’m less-than-thrilled about? He doesn’t do this because He is a cruel God. No. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. He does it because He is a loving God and compassionate Father. He does these things because He desires to teach me and grow me, because He desires that souls would be won for Him! He does these things because it brings Him great glory!
Friends, if you find yourself in the same boat, remember that He is sovereign. Remember that all of His ways are good and perfect and divinely purposed! We must realize that this is the testing of our faith and that this testing, this refining, is good. These moments, these situations are the ones that will clearly display His transforming power in our lives.
The changes we go through, the changes He brings about in us are good and glorifying to Him. They are evidence of His constant presence with us; they are proof that He is true to His word and will indeed continue working in us until that work is complete (Philippians 1:6). We must rejoice in knowing how marvelously He has transformed us! And we must be willing to step into the very situations we would rather run from. Because if He has put us there, He has a reason for it.
And it is most assuredly good.
So why not let the world see His ability to transform our often too-stubborn and too-prideful hearts? If He can change us, He can surely change others too. May we give Him full access to our hearts and minds that He might transform us for His glory. And may we be willing to be used of Him, in whatever way, in whatever situations, so that He might be glorified.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. | Romans 12:1-2