Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Process, part 1

* originally inspired on 3/27/11 *

I was at the beach on President’s Day this year, after not having been there for what seemed like forever.  Anyone who has grown up or spent considerable time living in the Caribbean—or near any body of water—understands that being in and around the water becomes a natural part of your life.  So try to keep this in mind as I describe the following scenario.

The beach was crowded with families that day since it was a holiday, and lots of children were frolicking around.  Amidst the background noise, there was one particular sound that caught my ear: a screaming baby.  Turning in the direction of the cries, I saw a woman in the water near the shore with a toddler—not yet two years old—sitting in a floatation device like a life ring, but with a seat for the baby that had holes for its legs to go through.  Unfortunately for the child, this toy was anything but amusing. Tears streamed down his face as he was crying for dear life and trying crawl out of the floater seat and into the security of his mother’s arms. However, she was calm and firmly held the shrieking baby in the device as he thrashed about.

I’m sure some of you are reading this in absolute horror, but I smiled as I saw the scene unfolding.  In fact, on a beach full of people, NO ONE showed alarm or concern.  This is simply because we all surmised that at a similar point in our lives, we had endured the same ordeal; some probably became great swimmers because of it.

This illustration brought me to a revelation that the Holy Spirit shared with me that day: it’s all about THE PROCESS!  Every single believer goes through [at the very least] one harrowing ordeal that God oversees in order for us to develop a particular skill or learn a specific lesson.  We can envision the Lord as that mother on the beach: hating to see their child struggling through a terrified state of fear and panic, but knowing that this experience was a ‘necessary evil’ in that child’s best interest.  After all, it would be an injustice to that child to have them grow up on an island being afraid of the ocean! In the same way, God would be doing us a disservice to leave us exposed to the supernatural forces that exist without preparing us on a spiritual level.

More meat was added to this spiritual meal at a Bible study I attended this week. The pastor’s topic was on the importance of building a relationship with God beyond the initial connection we receive once we become born-again. He likened it to a relationship that a man has with a child that is biologically his, but with whom there is no emotional father/son bond. They [may] know each other’s names and of each other’s existence, but nothing else is there to substantiate a connection of love and trust.  Once we decide to pursue a relationship with our heavenly Father, it also means that we [should] allow Him to lead us in the direction of His choice—because we understand that He, like any other loving parent, has our best interest at heart.

If you aren’t a parent, let’s assume that you’ve had some of your own. How many times have you heard [said or thought] something like, “You may not understand it now, but this is for your own good”.  And you’re thinking, “That’s a load of crap! It’s parentspeak for ‘You're doing this just because I’m your child and there’s nothing I can do about it!’” Truth is, you really didn’t understand what in the world was going on at the time, but you knew that you felt confused, maybe hurt or even angry.  Going back to my illustration of the baby at the beach, if I could narrate the internal monologue Look Who’s Talking-style, it would sound like: MAMAAAA, why are you doing this to meeeee?!?! I’m scared as all get-out of this stuff and you’re keeping me in it on purpose?!?!! I thought you loved me mom??!! 

But since I’m not one to rely on [just] my own interpretation of what the Holy Spirit shares with me, let’s flow into some examples from the Bible, shall we? 

*To be continued in "The Process, part 2*

No comments:

Post a Comment