Jesus once said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. … I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Tough to believe sometimes, for life has a way of throwing us some very wicked curves.
You would think that if I lived a respectable, godly life, if I “loved my neighbor as I love myself” that God would cut me a break. But God, I note, does not offer me a life of ease; what He gives is peace of mind. There are no shortcuts to honesty and integrity. To be patient, to forgive, to accept the unacceptable with grace, is never easy for me. And, I must admit, I don’t always do well. The Christian life is no walk in the park.
Character, you see, never comes easy. The deep, dark valleys through which I have had to walk, the sleepless nights, the times I have been completely disoriented, these have had their impact on my life. I am not the man I want to be, but neither am I the man I hope to be. I am, in short, a work in process.
But fortunately for me, the God I serve is no man’s debtor; He never takes more than He gives in return. The rest of which Jesus spoke is real. To know that I have been forgiven, despite the past, that God is ready to strengthen and direct me through the issues of life, that there is a light at the end of my tunnel … these things bring me peace of mind and a sense of purpose that is genuine but difficult to explain.
It is, I know, easy for me to come across as arrogant, proud, and self-righteous. But believe me, I have no warrant for such an attitude; those who know me well will agree. I am just so profoundly thankful … not to say amazed … at what has happened in my life.
I have often pictured my spiritual experience as a journey, and I have discovered that my growth and development has not come through some miraculous or supernatural experience. No dreams or visions or voices in the night here. Life, just as it is, has become the forum for my growth. The decisions I must make, the pressures I must accept, the storms I must weather, and the temptations I must fight, these have been to my benefit.
I believe God has designed the day-to-day routine of my life, not to make me happy, but to help me mature. It is in the thick and thin of living that I find the challenges that develop character and lead to personal growth. While I am not always pleased with my progress, I am thankful that change for the better is taking place. I have a long way to go, and the journey is not over. As I have stated before, PBPGITWMY! Please be patient; God isn’t through with me yet!