Most days following Christ's example is challenging. And then there are days when it just feels near, bloody impossible! I've been having that kind of day, for about the last 20-odd days, and I'd be surprised of there's anything of Jesus to be seen in me amid the annoyance, fatigue and general disdain that's been centre-stage right now. The long and the short of is it: I'm due a spiritual growth spurt.
Imagine if Zac at 8 years old was still biting me out of excitement?! What's cute now would be childish and inappropriate then. In the same way, there are attitudes, behaviours and responses that I have to shed, and some serious growing up I need to do. You see, God is more concerned with my ultimate maturity than with my present comfort (paraphrasing Joyce Meyer), and no one wants to be Amy Grant's fat baby.
To tell you the truth, given my current circumstances, my name may as well be Jonah. I've been running from the proverbial Nineva-project, and feel as though I've been thrown overboard, swallowed by a whale, and violently spit out onto shore. But the reality is: without testing (and I purposefully say testing, because it's a test - an authentic assessment of progress) we won't know whether we've grown or learnt anything. And yes it's hard - it sucks!~ but it is necessary.
So here's some encouragement, if you're feeling at all like I am:
"Consider it a sheet gift, friends, when tests and challenges come to you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work sot hat you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way" ~ James 1:2 - 4 (The Message)
And in the meantime, while you wait (or endure):
"Don't let this throw you. You trust God, don't you? Trust me ... (This is) my parting gift to you: Peace. I don't leave you the way you're used to being left - feeling abandoned, bereft. So don't be upset. Don't be distraught" ~ John 14:1, 27
ps. Watch this space: I know the lessons I'm having to learn are in preparation for something big, and you'll be sure to hear all about it here soon!