Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but the things that are not seen. (2 Cor 4:16-18a NKJV)
For a little over a year, I have been receiving weekly allergy shots in an effort to change my immune system so that I will no longer have to endure the runny nose, sneezing, & congestion that accompanies my exposure to high levels of mold, most pollens and last but not least - cats. It is fascinating to me that I have my own personalized serum stored at the allergy injection clinic including “pieces” of all of the 30+ allergens that I’m allergic to. It is my hope that after 5 years of the prescribed shot regimen I will be able to play golf symptom-free during the bad allergy days. I mention cats because I want you to know that I did not sign up to receive allergy shots to eliminate my allergy to cats! I even asked the nurse at the clinic -in a joking manner- if they could possibly take “cat” out of my serum. :) After all, a) the arm injected with the “cat” itches and swells the most the day of the shot and b) I’m not really a cat lover anyway. The nurse just laughed at my request and went on with her business. I did, however, make sure that she knew I really was kidding.
What do you think is God’s reaction when we ask Him to change us and then complain when the change hurts? As I thought about my experiences at the doctor’s office, I realized that I am no different with God. I really do want God to make into the woman He wants me to be, but I want it to be easy. Don’t you?Â But lasting inner change is never easy is it? To encourage us to change, God uses the trials in our lives. Our ”job” is just to endure them the best that we can and let them work their way in us as GodÂ intends. Unfortunately, we can’t tell God that we only want to improve certain aspects of our character. We must accept God’s intention of working in us complete conformity to His will at whatever the cost. The good news is that the bible says that we can rejoice in our struggles.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4 NIV)
We don’t have to be selective in the way we wish for God to change us because at the end of the journey lies wonderful hope. As the passage from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, God promises that our momentary afflictions are working for our greater good, but to see this we must look at things from God’s perspective, not ours. Because we can trust in God’s Word and God’s character, we can rest assured that no matter what, He has our best interests at heart. We must not ask God to take “patience” or “self-control” out of our “serum”. If we do, we might miss out on the blessing.
Janna Rust is a Professional Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them. For more information, visit her at www.purposefulpartnerships.com.