For Our Good

On Ash Wednesday, as we gathered in the coffee shop, before the gritty, dark ashes were imposed on our foreheads, Josh advised us to “embrace our frailty.” He and I spoke about these words later and he said that another way to think about this was to consider our brokenness.

Within days, the LORD would take me on a journey of dealing with some unresolved stuff that needed to be rooted out. My brokenness became glaringly evident after a series of events led me to a place of darkness and depression. Initially, I didn’t know what had caused this despair. Desperate to find out, I cried out to the only One who could truly help. He led me to Hebrews 12 which He placed in front of me in three different places in as many days. Verse 10 says … “But God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.” (NIV)

Right away, I knew this was it.  As much as I didn’t want to acknowledge it, I knew that pride had led me to this place of pain. And, I realized His goodness in wanting me to be free of this sin. We began the messy work of peeling back the layers that had been there for way too long.

He brought along seasoned Bible teacher, Kay Arthur, whose book, As Silver Refined, my daughter recommended during this time. The tag line of her book is “Answers to Life’s Disappointments”. It was a disappointment that had led to the revelation of excessive pride. A companion Bible study is included in the book. During our cold and rainy spring break week, I began reading the book. A lot of my peeps were out of town and my regular activities had been set aside. Reading a chapter a night and doing the Bible study questions became the high light of my day. Knowing that complete honesty was what He wanted, I took the time to dig deeper and the work of restoration began. 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV) I knew it was time for some serious confession. That part wasn’t so hard, but the dealing of what was underneath the sin required a bit more unearthing.

Awakened early on one of the days that the LORD showed me Hebrews 12:2, He took me around the learning circle that many of us have heard Josh speak about. This is a tool to use when the LORD breaks in and reveals something to you that gets your attention. It’s a good time to stop and take some time to figure out why this holy moment had an impact on you. As you reflect on what the LORD said to you and what is happening in your soul, the idea is to come away with a changed heart and a plan of action, if the LORD is pressing you to do something. I’ve been around this circle many times with friends, but having the LORD as my guide, was pretty amazing. I felt the weight of needing to repent, since it seemed like He was serious about disciplining me. Coming face to face with my sin was what I needed. Although He has certainly convicted me on many occasions, this time was so different. I feel like He brought me to a place of great pain to get my attention and have me start to take care of this.

I was struck by how amazing the LORD is to discipline those He loves, because He knows what’s best for us. He wants us to be perfect and complete in every way. A friend and I had talked not long ago, about how Jesus didn’t want any of His Father’s glory, even though He was God. His humility spurred me on to further repentance.

My journal entry on March 27 talks about having just finished As Silver Refined. I wrote “So much has happened since I started this book. I am healed. My joy is back. I am me again. And, it’s all because of God and His goodness to me.”

It is, indeed.