Some years ago, I cried out desperately to God to change my circumstances because they were simply unbearable. He told me He would not change my circumstances because He was using my circumstances to change my heart. Several years later, once the hardness had been taken off of my heart and I had undergone a massive cleansing of my heart, coupled with learning how to purify my heart on a daily basis, I figured I was pretty much through with any big surprises. Not so. For just when I thought I was aware of all of my shortcomings and doing my best to work on them, God showed me the mighty sin of pride – and how very destructive, dangerous, and potentially deadly it is. Well, I figured I could simply ask God to help me to be humble. Needless to say, the Bible says that I – meaning me – need to become humble. It doesn’t say that God is supposed to do it for me.
So guess what God did to strip me naked of pride so I could learn to clothe myself daily with humility? He has allowed me to go through another season of challenging circumstances – the kind I would absolutely love to simply get rid of. This time around, however, I know better. I am not going to beg God to change my circumstances because I believe He is using them for a number of reasons. I believe through my current challenges He is refining me, purifying me, changing me, growing me, teaching me, preparing me, training me further to minister more lovingly, humbly, and effectively to others, and reminding me and helping me to be humble – daily.
Once again, as I trudge through this challenging season, I find myself in a position of needing to cry out to the Lord for help and to reach out to the Body of Christ for love, encouragement, prayer, and support. Once again, I find myself unable to do the things I want to do – whether to do them at all or to do them in my own flesh. Once again, I find myself unable to function on a daily basis at the high capacity I prefer. Once again, I find myself unable to feel like I’ve got most everything under control and in order. Once again, I find myself above all else realizing that every ounce of pride I have ever had has been nothing more than a waste of time – not to mention super high risk, with a super high price. How humbling.
Isn’t it something how God answers prayers? When I asked Him years ago to change my circumstances, He used my circumstances to change my heart. When I asked God to clothe me in humility, He has chosen to use my circumstances to teach me to become – and to stay – humble. So much for that foolish notion I once had that I could just wave my magic wand and get God to simply take my trials away. Yet another reminder that as hard as God’s will can be sometimes, He always knows best. He has a purpose in everything. And the Bible reminds me that in everything, I am to give thanks. In this case, quite obviously, humbly.
“Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 ESV
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of yoube subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5 KJV
“Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12 ISV
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10 HCSV
underlining and bold added for effect