This was my Facebook status the other day after reading the tiniest bit of David Jeremiah's book What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do:
"I have quoted "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9) over and over but never, until this moment, realized that it literally means that you will NOT become spiritually mature until you have gone through a trial (or ten) of some sort. You have to be weak at some point in order to be spiritually strong, just as gold has to be refined by fire.
It's like how it's not really fun to go to the gym and it usually hurts, but if you want a result, you have to go through some pain!
THAT'S why we should be thankful for hard times. Even though they aren't fun, they will make us better - give us perfect strength. There's hope in knowing the hard time you are going through will produce something good eventually.
It's like I know all these things but they haven't quite connected yet. I realized the connection between this and my "Seasons in the Vineyard" post.
(Relate it all to working out or wine making and I will get it, rest assured)
I was at a winery last spring for a bachelorette party, and we got a tour of the facility. We got to see where the wine is made! I still don't understand it all, but from what I understand the little grapes have to be pressed to get the wine after the harvest season. The phrase "pressed but not crushed" kept going over and over in my head.
The grapes are pressed and it hurts them, but they have to go through it to become made into the final product - the wine
(***which should never be consumed to the point that it alters your mind - Ephesians 5:18 - Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit***).
I knew that God allows us to go through trials so strengthen us, but until the other day, I didn't realize that we HAVE to go through trials IN ORDER TO become mature spiritually.
I remember telling someone a couple weeks ago that it was unfortunate that I had to go through so many difficult events to get close to the Lord, but in reality, I would've never gotten close to Him had they not happened.
***It's not just me - - it's that way for everyone!!***
Just like it hurts to work out but we won't get the results we want if we don't endure the pain...
And the grapes in the vineyard have to go through pain to become wine...
WE have to go through some things to become like Christ - perfect and holy, filled with the Spirit
(because you CAN be saved and not completely overflowing with the Spirit)
- It is not God punishing us. If we could see the end results, we would see why He allows us to go through trials.
- ALL evil comes from Satan and the evil within the world that stems from Adam and Eve's sin. God does allow it, but does not CAUSE it.
- I have seen great things come out of terrible situations - wonderful things that would not have happened had the terrible situation not happened.
It's hard to think about it this way sometimes, but maybe this will help anyone who is going through something rough - it has to mean that something great is happening underneath all the turmoil and will be revealed in time.
This just reminds me that I am constantly learning and still have so much more to connect and learn. How exciting!