Hot ‘n Cold…Hot ‘n Cold…Hot ‘n Cold. Eventually the heaving of the frost will force the asphalt road to buckle and crack. At our worship service this morning, that’s how our pastor compared God’s relentless pursuit on our lives. God’s warm and irresistible grace eventually penetrates our cold and distant hearts. God sharpens and sharpens and sharpens our character until we ‘crack’ and allow the Holy Spirit to further seep in and continue His work shaping our lives.
I’ve often felt ambivalent about Romans 8:28. In my suffering – through bouts of physical temptation and periods of mental agony – how have these experiences been for my good? And why should I even rejoice in them? As written in previous posts it’s becoming clearer to me every day. Through God’s sharpening, I’m looking forward to see what God has in store for me. I’m looking forward to seeing a smile on someone that only suggests God’s grace and goodness is living within. I’m looking forward to wiping a tear from someone just coming to know God’s love. I’m looking forward to walking the road to Emmaus and sharing God’s story of redemption. I’m looking forward to looking in the manger next month. I’m looking forward to the day when my faith shall be sight.
This hasn’t happened overnight. This has taken me 46 plus years to only begin to understand and appreciate. Our sense of urgency and time is linear. God’s time is eternal. In the book of Genesis, we read that Joseph – son of Jacob – spent almost 30 years in a foreign land before God fully revealed His purposes in Joseph’s trials. He even spent several years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit! When the Master Weaver pulled the last strings, Joseph was able to witness that it was God who wrote – and wove – the story.
The following poem is attributed to anonymity speaks of God’s mysterious working in our lives.
‘When God Wants a Man’
When God wants to drill a man and thrill a man and skill a man…When God wants to mould a man to play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart to create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall praise,
Watch His methods, watch His ways!
How He ruthlessly perfects whom He royally elects; how He hammers and hurts him,And with mighty blows coverts him into frail shapes of clay that only God understands.
How his tortured heart is crying and he lifts beseeching hands....
How He bends but never breaks when His good He undertakes.
How He uses whom He chooses…. with every purpose fuses him;
By every art induces him to try His splendour out
God knows what He’s about!
When God wants to take a man and shake a man and wake a man…When God wants to make a man to do the Father’s will;
When He yearns with all His soul to create him large and whole…
With what cunning He prepares him… how He goads and never spares him!
How He whets him, He frets him and in poverty, begets him…How often He disappoints whom He sacredly anoints!
With what wisdom He will hide him; never minding what betide him…
Makes him lonely so that only God’s high messages shall reach him…
So that He may surely teach him what His heavenly Father planned.
When God wants to name a man and tame a man to do His heavenly best….When He tries the highest test that His reckoning may bring…
How He reins him and restrains him so his body scarce contains him…
When He fires him and inspires him, keeps him yearning,
Ever burning for the tantalizing goal.
Lures and lacerates his soul… sets a challenge for His spirit;
Draws it highest, then he is near it!
Then makes a jungle, then he clears it;
Makes a desert that he fears it, if he can…
So does God make a man!
Then to test His Spirit’s wrath, He throws a mountain in his path,Puts a bitter choice before him and relentlessly stands o’er him…
Climb or perish, so He says…. But watch His purpose, watch His ways!
God’s plan is wondrously kind… could we understand His mind?
Fools are they who call God blind!
When his feet are torn and bleeding; yet His Spirit mounts unheeding…Blazing newer paths and finds....
Lo, the crisis, lo, the shouts that would call the leader out…
When the people need salvation does he rise to lead the nation;
Then does God show His plan… and the world has found its man!