I’m sitting on my bed as I type this. The last few weeks and days in particular have tried and tested me and stung me with pain. My reserves are low and my heart shrinks back when this happens. My time in China so far has been trying, but so very rewarding.
Pastures in the wilderness
God never said we would be exempt from trials, but that He would give us the strength to endure them. “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you”. 1 Peter 5:10
The wilderness can often be seen as barren and hopeless, where there is no life at all. I watched a video on what a pasture is in the arid lands and it showed the shepherd leading his sheep to small tufts of grass that stuck out in the sand. This was described as a pasture! Really! Hard to believe, but once I thought about it a little longer it made sense… God is leading me in the wilderness, but He is supplying green pastures along the way to sustain me. Little pockets of hope that keep me pushing forward. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland”. Isaiah 43:19
I was speaking to my psychologist and a close friend this week and I said to both of them that I’ve come to take the ‘hits’ better than I used to and that I now think that every ‘hit’ is making me stronger. Later that day I read a blog I follow called (in)courage, titled: “The Hidden Gift of Pain” and as I read it confirmations were revealed to me. The author explained that she would frequent a forest and when it burnt down she was devastated. She finally returned after two years and the lushness and beauty had been completely restored and even better than before. Strength showed itself.
This then got me thinking…
When we train physically and endure pain, we ultimately get stronger and that is the same in life. The sting of pain is real and we think it will never end. I have been stung many times, it’s a wonder I’m not immune. I am learning to accept things more and realize I cannot control outcomes as I’d like to.
Acceptance can be a beautiful thing as it allows peace to flow. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. Phil 4:7
And so I will leave you with the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr, which I’m sure is common to most.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference”.
You are stronger than you know.