That defining moment when you glance side to side after losing all perception of reality and time due to the relentless hours spent on your knees begging and pleading with the Lord to take away all the haunting and violent pain. You catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror as you quickly adjust your shirt and appearance in an attempt to pacify some sense of control and order. That element of control has always stimulated the very neuron that sparked the appearance of the facade and the mask you once wore and hid behind concealing the actual hot mess you were, exposing the real dark and broken parts caused by pain. As you gaze deeply into the mirror, you realize buried underneath all the thick layers of black teardrop stains permeating your face resembling more of an Alice Cooper visualization at his best suddenly announces the arrival and introduction of the Beautiful Beloved that God created you to be! There’s beauty in the pain! God’s will is unfolding!
Suddenly through all the fear and disbelief, you peel yourself away from the glue that has held you captive for so long when you realize this old mindset that has brought about nothing but pain and rug burns that caused golf-ball size holes in your favorite jeans, is all due to the pain caused from believing the lies of the enemy. It not only kept you from community and closeness, but it also cut you right in half exposing your bleeding heart. That just needed the love and mending through open heart surgery which could only be performed by the Great Physician. ♥
With the disbelief that the shackles that had held you captive for so long had been released, you look back into the mirror and wonder if the person looking back at you is the result of the faith that has equipped you with this bohemian strength to endure and which has sustained you for so long or whether it’s a faith breakthrough of the very words that you have clung to found in the Book of Living Water, the Bible; “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV).
In eager anticipation, you cautiously take another step towards freedom, you know, that wide-open door where the words loudly proclaim “Follow Me” into that unknown and unfamiliar territory, what God calls His Promised Land, that you have been praying fervently for. You quickly scan the environment you are leaving behind because you know you’re never going back. You try and process what this whole “perseverance” thing means when you hear, “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:25).
Tender heart, let us remember that the Lord never fails to fulfill His promises. We may feel His lack of timing supports or insinuates that He doesn’t care or He doesn’t hear us or that He isn’t real, but His timing is ALWAYS perfect. Perseverance is to endure until that door opens! While our salvation may be secure once we believe, His transformation process is being worked out through each and every second of our lives, often through painful trials that keep us on our knees in prayer. Sometimes trials come specifically designed “because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us” (Romans 5:3-5).
My friend, I know what deep suffering feels like. I also know what years of faith has brought about; beauty at its darkest hour! Before I even knew it, God not only restored my heart’s desires, but what He has blessed me with is something I dared never dream of, nor could have even imagined. The pain was brutal, but I hung on, I cleaved into, and I never let go of the Only Promise that is worthy of our faith and perseverance; Jesus Christ! He is Real, He has Risen, and He Rocks the very core of our being. Hang onto the promises of “things hoped for” while giving over your concerns to the Lord because He truly does care. He just wants you to trust His ways and His timing because what emerges at the end of the storm is not only better, it’s far more beautiful than you could ever imagine.
Take a look in the mirror and examine the woman looking back while pondering God’s loving words: “You are beautiful just the way you are, and there is nothing you can do to change that. Embrace it! Thank me for it! I want you to bloom exactly where I have planted you. I love you.”