March 17, 2008
A MAJOR IN DISCOMFORT
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 3:1; Acts 7:29--30
Notice carefully how the process took place through those years of desert learning, because it is the same with you and me. God must break through several hard, exterior barriers in our lives before He can renovate our souls. His persistent goal is to break through to the inner person. As David acknowledged, "Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom" (Psalm 51:6).
What are those resistant layers in our hearts, and how does He break through to that hidden part? First, He finds pride. And He uses the sandpaper of obscurity to remove it ever so gradually.
Then He finds us gripped by fear---dread of our past, anxiety over our present, and terror over what may lie ahead---and He uses the passing of time to remove that fear. We learn that things aren't out of hand at all; they're in His hand.
He next encounters the barrier of resentment---the tyranny of bitterness. He breaks down that layer with solitude. In the silence of His presence, we gain a fresh perspective, gradually release our cherished rights, and let go of the expectations that held us hostage.
Finally, He gets down to the basic habits of living, he penetrates our inner person, and there He brings discomfort and hardship to buff away that last layer of resistance. Why? So that He might renovate us at the very core of our being.
Reach for the hand of your Guide! He is Lord of the desert. Make that your desert. The most precious object of God's love is His child in the desert. If it were possible, you mean more to Him during this time than at any other time. You are as the pupil of His eye. You are His beloved student taking his toughest courses. While testing you, He loves you with an infinite amount of love.
Jesus walked through the desert first. He felt its heat. He endured its loneliness. He accepted its obscurity. He faced down Satan himself while the desert winds howled. And you can be sure He will never, ever forget or forsake the one who follows Him across the sand.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.