Step 6 Grow, Mature, Pass it On
As we close out this series, I’d like to review the previous steps briefly. When we are in the midst of a time of crisis, intense grief, or a long-term trial, we may lose the sense of feeling God’s presence. Calming our mind is the first step in preparing to seek him. In Step 2, we discussed how unconfessed sin can block our sense of reciprocal communication, being heard and hearing God’s response to our prayers. It’s also important to keep ourselves attentive to communication God may choose to initiate which has nothing to do with our requests. He may have other information he wants to share with us.
The purpose of this exercise is to find and feel God’s presence in our lives again. When he initiates the conversation – you have success! You will know he is accompanying you through your trouble. If you do not feel him, remind yourself why you can trust that he is there, as Step 3 outlines. You can rely on his word and his record.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans [8:28]
After my third miscarriage, I felt like if one more person quoted this verse to me, I would scream! Though it is true, it’s often used like a verbal pat on the back, as if a grieving person should just ‘buck up’ and easily accept their loss, diagnosis, or terrifying trial.
If your crisis is a time of excruciating grief, loss or fear from a medical condition, please know that the statement “I will still be here” which I used in Step 4 was not meant to be flippant. God does work for our good. God uses all things, good, bad, short term, long term, molehills and mountains to increase our faith in him and teach us to be more Christ-like. I learned that those things I was so stressed out over, like having a utility shut off – were indeed embarrassing and difficult to work around, but when I couldn’t stave it off any longer, and the bad thing happened, I was still here.
And now, I say this ever so gently, if you have received a scary medical diagnosis or a loved one is no longer here, and you think that phrase does not apply – it does!You will still be here. You will go on, whether you are on this side of heaven or with Jesus, you will still BE! Your loved one still IS. You will be reunited.
God uses all things for our good in the process of making us more like his Son.
“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
There is another benefit to suffering that we seldom hear taught:
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the
fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” Philippians [3:10]
There are all kinds of support groups, grief groups, parenting groups, divorce recovery groups, you name it – there’s a group for it somewhere. People want to fellowship with those who have traveled the same road. One of the under-mentioned benefits of suffering is that we will have a fellowship with Jesus. If we went through our Christian walk with no suffering, we wouldn’t be nearly as strong. When we have experienced times of deep suffering, we will develop a fellowship with Jesus, empathy for him and what he went through while he was on earth. We will have empathy for others and begin to see people through Jesus’ eyes. God will use this for our good and others good because our hearts will be tender to others when they suffer. We will have grown, matured in our faith and be ready to pass it on.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials
of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces
perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be
mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
Whether we feel Him or not, we can rest assured our God is always with us!
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for
the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”