The Good Fight Never Ends
Today, Christians view hardship as a “season” that will come and go. In order to be victorious Christians, we need to reframe our thinking by accepting that most of our lives will be hard for one reason or another. I’m writing this as a gentle yet sober reminder to today’s Christians: We are in the trenches of spiritual warfare. We may not see it as we go about our school schedules, work routines, and summer holidays, but we are in the thick of it. By deciding today, if we will use our moments to the glory of God or the glory of self, we are declaring whose side we are on.
There is an old hymn called “My goal is God Himself” that says:
"My goal is God Himself, not joy, nor peace,
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God;
’Tis His to lead me there—not mine, but His—
At any cost, dear Lord, by any road."
If we sing those words sincerely, we ask God to remove anything that is unholy. Our sanctification is a lifelong journey by which our souls will be stretched, scrubbed, and sifted to remove the filth of this world and to suit our King’s purposes. It will most likely take the form of trials we do not understand: unexplained illnesses, extended singleness, job loss, infertility, etc. These struggles often leave us asking the same thing as the Psalmist in Psalm 13:1, “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”
But it is in those moments of pressing our face to the ground and seeking God that our hearts are transformed. Have you ever noticed how round and smooth stones from a creek bed are? The reason for this is that they've been transported over a long distance, from wherever they entered into the river bed to wherever they are finally deposited. During this process, they undergo fierce weathering and collisions with other stones which erode the sharp edges off the pebbles, resulting in a smooth shape. What a beautiful metaphor for how God uses trials to refine us. It is never fast or pretty, but as we endure, we know that He has a final version in mind that is likely far different than what we expect.
Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” If our objective is to glorify God in every inch of our lives, then the stripping away of anything that is unholy is critical. As our hearts tune to His, we begin to accept (maybe even embrace?) the trials that come into our lives, because we know that they are making us more like Him, and that’s what this whole thing is about.
My favorite passage in Scripture is Habakkuk 3:19-21:
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places.
Our hope is not in maintaining a luxurious lifestyle, snagging a boyfriend, having a baby, taking an exotic vacation, or anything else the world declares worthwhile. Our hope rests in the Truth. We know that God is good and generous and faithful. Even if we don’t understand His methods, we can always, always, always trust His heart.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
In 2018, Payden earned her B.A. in English from Regent University and is now pursuing her M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Oklahoma State University. A road trip aficionado, Payden can be found traveling the beautiful U.S. when her nose is not stuck in a textbook. She has a desire to help other women see the freedom and fullness that comes in living a life abandoned to Christ, and wants to spend every waking minute pursuing God's call on her life.