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This past Sunday in Sunday school, we got to talking about how everything worth doing takes time. Almost all of us in the class play an instrument, so Brother Mike asked us if we learned how to play them overnight. All of us replied with a firm "No!" This got me thinking about the time when I was learning to play the guitar. When I first began, I had to learn the chord shapes, and my fingers had to move in a way they were not used to moving. After learning some chord shapes, I started practicing them a LOT. The steel strings would cut into my tender fingers. The pain would sometimes be almost unbearable! I did not know I was signing up for all this pain when I wanted to learn how to play the guitar! Day after day, I would continue to do the very thing that caused my untrained fingers so much pain. Why did I continue? Because I knew what the outcome would be. I knew it would be beautiful. So I endured.
I thought on that for a while and suddenly had an "Aha!" moment. Jesus began to press on my heart that this is exactly what He has been doing in my life.
"We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." ~Romans 5:3-5
See, just because I am a Christian and my Father is the Almighty King of Kings does not mean that my life will be all rainbows and butterflies. There are going to be hard times so that endurance, character, and hope will be produced in my life. Elizabeth Elliot was asked this question one time: "But doesn't God want me to be happy??" She replied with, "No, He wants you to be most holy."
It isn't about what I want. It isn't about me at all. It is about making much of Him. This is where my greatest joy is found, in making much of my Savior. "In Your presence is the fullness of JOY." ~Psalm 16:11
I slowly endured the pain of learning to play the guitar and as time passed, the sounds that came out of my guitar were not just broken notes anymore. The sounds that came out made a beautiful, joyful song! It was a song that couldn't have been there without enduring the pain.
Lord, I want my life song to be beautiful to you. Mold me, make me, and stretch me until my life is a sweet, sweet sound to Your ear.
So why do we continue? Because we know that God has planned the outcome. We know that it will be most beautiful to Him. So we endure, joyfully! :)
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11