I worked out hard yesterday because soon I’ll have to shimmy into my shorts. Time to shred the winter belly I swear looks like it was inflated with a tire pump.
So I started the DVD.
Thought I might die, right there on the family room floor. There was this trainer on the screen, her perfectly toned body standing before me as she said something like this, looking me straight in the eyes:
You want a body like this? It doesn’t come for free. You’re might feel like you’re gonna die but if you want results you gotta work for it. 30 days.
WAIT a minute!
Can’t I get toned without feeling like I’m going to die? Can’t I shred my belly without so much pain? Isn’t there some pill? I don’t know if I can WAIT 30 days, let alone WORK-OUT 30 days! I don’t know if I can survive THE SHRED!
So as I’m doing jumping jacks she says even 400-pound people can do (and I’m ready to keel over after my second set of ten), I think about this pain that promises results. I think about personal trainers who coach and encourage. I think about the waiting.
Some of us don’t wait an hour, a day, a week, a month. Some of us don’t wait a year, a decade. Some of us wait our whole lives looking for what we want, feeling the pain of longing. So we go for some quick fix, some instant fill, because we won’t wait with the One who will deliver the results we want if we’d just stick to His Plan and let Him coach us through.
We don’t like this work-out called life. We want what we want as quickly as possible. And we’d rather avoid the pain altogether, thank you very much.
We pray those prayers. Those good prayers for good things. But God seems to sometimes say “no” or “wait”.
Could God have something better in mind? Could what we really want not even be in our own minds? Could what we really want be hindered by weight we need to shred—you know, those counterfeit gods? Even good things can become idols that burden our souls . . .
What if the husband never shows? What if the womb never fills? What if the body never heals? What if the dream dies? What if that one prayer seems to go unanswered your whole life?
Could it be that maybe, just maybe, God is toning our souls, strengthening our hearts for something better?
Often, the BEST God wants to give us requires us to go through some pain, some loss, some change, some growth. Still, in the midst of the difficult, God is with us, encouraging us to keep going, trusting His plan because HIS plan for you and for me is PERFECT (Romans 12:2) which means it’s guaranteed to make us whole—to make us holy. And God understands our growing pains. Jesus walked among us in flesh. He LONGS to be GRACIOUS to you and me—to rise and show us his compassion (Isaiah 30:18) in the midst of our hard. And he longs for us to embrace this truth . . .
Our circumstances never hinder God’s grace.
God pours Himself out, NO MATTER WHAT, for our good. Is there anything more awesome than God embracing us with his GOODNESS—his mercy and his grace—come what may?
Our lives on earth are but a breath of eternity. Will we choose to follow our Perfect Trainer who is always WITH us while we WAIT to see soul results, while we go through our shredding experiences?
Years ago, I said “yes” to Jesus and said I’d follow wherever He led.
And then, I said “no”. Because the path looked painful.
Eighteen years ago, I checked the “NO” box next to “Would you be willing . . .” on the adoption form.
But God said “YES” to special needs. God’s will was done. Three orphans with invisible disabilities came home with us.
At times, I thought I might die. Overwhelmed and fearful, I felt as though God had chosen the wrong woman for the job. I told Him so. I felt incapable, undeserving of three such special needs kids. My faith was weak. My confidence was nil. My worst came through. But even our worst cannot stop God from giving His best. God used pain to strengthen all of our faith and show all of us His goodness.
Now, I can see that God has been fulfilling His plan to grow us all up together, through each other, drawing us all closer to Him. He has shown my husband and me our most special need—to know Him intimately, to seek Him intentionally, to depend on Him totally. God has given all five of us a hope and a future that is undeniably better than anything we could have ever wanted or imagined (Jeremiah 29:11).
I consider our kids, now all nearly grown, these kids I love immensely, special needs and all. And I consider what God has done in our home, in our hearts. Our best blessing?
All our kids love Jesus.
All our kids are evidence of God’s AMAZING GRACE to those who know their story—a story of a God who SEES the “least of these” and showers His mercy and grace on us all.
Who would have known? My faith was small. I said “no”. But God can do BIG things with small faith (Matthew 17:20) and a heart that says “no” due to fear because His perfect love casts out all fear over time (1 John 4:18).
After all these years, I’m glad God overruled my “no” with a “yes”, painful though it has been.
Through the pain, God has grown me. God has allowed our hearts to break so they will open fully to Him. It has taken time. We’ve had to wait and work. But the results have been worth it . . .
Lasting love. Perfect peace. Complete contentment.
Our best doesn’t come easily or quickly. Our best will take us through painful times. Our best will take us to places where all we depend on besides God will be stripped away, shredded.
So why do we have to wait for what we really want?
What we REALLY want is WAITING for us! He’s standing at the door of our hearts, knocking, waiting for us to open and let Him lead. And when the work-out of this life comes to an end, He’ll still be there, our Prince of Peace, waiting. Then, we’ll see Him face-to-face in His glory and realize fully that all we could have ever hoped for was worth the wait and the pain of the shred.
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:1-2
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the LORD more than watchmen wait for the morning. Psalm 130:5-6
Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him. Isaiah 30:18
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18