Got any ghosts in your closet? If you do, how do you deal with them? Unless I am the only one on the planet who suffers from this experience, I can quickly be discouraged by reviewing the past too long. Being a sort of melancholic personality, I need to be careful not to dwell on it lest it overcomes me like a series of strong waves at the ocean shore. But, I see God’s hand in directing events that have helped me understand better who He is and what He wants to accomplish in and through me.
By human standards I have made some terrible decisions. I have been very impatient in most cases and far too judgemental in every case. I have give up on ministries way too early because of my immaturity to handle moments of crisis and stress. I have thought myself way too important and way too indispensable that I really am. There is no room for making excuses here, I admit it to you. However, through it all God has been my teacher and I continue to serve Him.
A former pastor used to say to our congregation quite often the following phrase, “I am just beginning to understand this text…” I thought that was an unusual statement for a man of so many years of studying God’s Word and preaching it on a weekly basis. But…I now totally get what he was saying. In our youthfulness we think we get it, then life (in the sovereign plan of God) teaches us that we don’t know as much as we thought we did.
How can we make it through the difficult things in life and come out the other side better for the experience? Here is my list of attitudes we need to develop:
1. Be humble
2. Be teachable
3. Be loving
4. Be patient with yourself and others
5. Don’t judge – you don’t know what is happening in the heart and mind of others
5. Serve with passion
6. Give room for others to grow
7. Pray for God’s perspective
The great news is that God can use those bad decisions for his glory! He teaches us to trust Him in difficult times and to leave matters with Him that we don’t quite understand. I am often drawn back to the story of Joseph and his brothers in the book of Genesis. For many years and through much adversity God was moulding Joseph’s life. In chapter Genesis 50:20 we read the following, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…”
Be encouraged, my friend, God is not done with you yet. He has not forgotten you! We used to sing this little song to our kids, “His still working on me to make me what I ought to be, it took him just a week to make the moon and stars, the sun and earth and Jupiter and Mars, how loving a patient he must be, he’s still working on me.”(Lyrics written by Joel Hemphill)
He is still working on you and I, and…He is not done yet!