There are many times that we feel like a ship without a rudder, subject to the current and winds of life. Storms brew and we prepare to weather it, hoping it doesn’t sink us.
We know that God is in control, but we question where he is at times, or why he allows something to happen. This means you are human. The question still stands, how do we make sense of it?
There is a saying, “a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”. What this means is that a sailor who never sails in rough seas, will never develop the skills needed to be an experienced and confident sailor. Sure, they could go their whole life in smooth seas, but how useful is an unskilled sailor? Not very useful, though they would have a comfortable life.
God is creating, constantly developing his most awesome creation, you and me. Each of us are a work in progress. The strongest steel is forged in fire several times. Just like steel, our minds, our essence is developed and forged through experience, good and bad.
I used to view this as a test. Will I pass or fail this test. God loves us no matter how we perform, but am I doomed to repeat this if I fail? Only God knows what your future is. However, I don’t see it as a test necessarily. God doesn’t need to test you, although I suppose he could. What God is definitely doing is developing you and meeting you at your level of faith. Let me expand a bit.
As God continually sustains creation, you could say God is continually creating. And as God continuously creates, God is coordinating an infinite number of variables and factors to produce a glorious outcome. Yes, even with our free will, all roads are still going in the right direction for God’s overall plan. God’s plan doesn’t depend on you or me passing or failing a test in our lives, it’ll inevitably be accomplished. So, if we view it differently than a test, let’s say, an experience, how does that change the outcome?
We are human and not perfect, therefore perfection is not the goal, progress is. I believe Denzel Washington said that in a movie, but it speaks profoundly to the same point. Learn that phrase and apply it. Removing the idea of passing or failing a test also removes the pressure of perfection or failure. Rather, let’s ask, have we made progress or no progress? We usually make progress, and that’s a much easier goal to meet.
Progress in your walk, in your talk, in your life, that is God’s creative goal for you. God wants to help you grow and develop in faith. Life is the perfect recipe for it. Life presents an immense amount of opportunity for you to apply the principles that God wants you to practice and develop. When we improve, when we grow, life becomes a very different experience than it was previously. The belief that whatever skills and knowledge you develop will be used in the future for God’s purpose, in this life or the next, is not only a nice idea, it is a practical one that adds meaning to your life. More importantly, the experience becomes fascinating for you because you begin to believe as God states, everything is working for your good and God’s will.
As I grow in my walk and talk with God, life has become an amazing and mind-blowing experience to behold. Not that my personal life is that amazing, but everything around me, from the universe and world I live in, to our bodies that stay put together and function in balance, to pondering what energy and spirit is, or my own very favorite, pondering what thought is, where it exists, etc., are things that boggle the mind.
God made green pastures for David to lie down in, and set a table (feast) before him in the presence of his enemies. God responds to faith quickly. David shows evidence of his faith from an early age. From courage to take on a giant, because he defied God’s army, to protecting his father’s flocks from lions, David had a rock solid belief in God’s ability to protect him. And during battle, David’s faith was answered by God. His anointing perhaps was because he had unmatched faith, beyond others around him.
One of my favorite stories is of the Roman Centurion who Jesus recognized as having more faith than anyone in all of Israel. Wow! The Centurion asks Jesus to heal his servant, and Jesus says, I’ll come and heal your servant. The Centurion says, “Lord, I don’t deserve to have you come under my roof. But I understand authority, for I exercise it. I tell a servant to go and they go, or come, and they come. You only need to say the words, and I know my servant is healed.” Jesus’ reply was “go, it will be done for you just as you have believed.” Again, wow!
Jesus often said that same phrase, “as you have believed”, or “according to your faith”, or “just believe”. So it seems there is significance to believing. And what you believe is literally what constructs your view of the world, your life, and your experience. So we can and should carefully consider what we believe.
In fact, we should carefully examine what we currently believe, and then intentionally exercise our mind to believe those things we should, like the many promises of God. Imagine if you began to intentionally convince yourself beyond any doubt that God loves you immeasurably, unconditionally, and wants to bless you abundantly, watch you live in grace and mercy, and thrive with authority, to do good, to spread love, to bring joy, to be a shining representation of all of God’s glorious traits; in a sense being an image of God (that you are created as), an ambassador, a representation, a light in the darkness. You can do it, and right now is the time to start, or push yourself to that next level.