Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's been a year or so since I could use the words "toilsome" or "suffering" and applied it to my everyday experiences. Life was hard a year ago, we didn't sleep much, and we didn't know how we would make ends meet. But the Lord provided plainly, clearly, miraculously for every need then.  This most recent season is a slow period of recovery, growth, and gratitude. We see God using us to pour into our children and into the community around us. We feel inescapably blessed to have a job, even a job that is not in a field of interest, to have a means to survive, to have the chance to be among God's people, to have the chance to watch our children grow. We even experience gratitude at the fact that we are not homeowners. Although my strong desire is to own a home, the Lord does not desire that for us today, and so we thank Him that He is teaching us that even the roof over our head is not our own, but His provision for us.
When I think about what our Father is doing, I imagine that he is looking over us as a blacksmith would look over his smoking, searing, pounded iron just after carefully pulling it from the fire. He inspects it for blemishes, impurities, and weaknesses.  When the metal has cooled, he can examine it to see more blemishes.
"Child, do you need to be put back in the flame and pounded even more?" I imagine Him asking with tears in His eyes.
Until our dying breath, His answer will be, "Yes, again beloved."

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. 

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