Dan and I went hiking when we were in Hawaii back in August. We set out in late morning on the trail with excitement and energy. As we continued, the mountain got steeper and steeper. We kept thinking we were almost there but the trail just kept going up. The sights were magnificent, but we were losing steam.
Then, the stairs came! WHAT? STAIRS? On a mountain? Yes, it was the 400 stair glute-kicker at the end. Our energy and good attitudes were severely waning. As we passed people on their way down they offered encouragement, that it was all worth it. We were so ready to be there.
Then, we made it and it WAS worth it. As soon as we caught our breath we looked around and saw God’s beauty for miles. His blue waters and lush mountains. His wispy clouds at eye level. I couldn’t take enough of it in, it was so amazing.
The climb up was tough (even being in relatively good shape). We wanted to give up a few times. If we had, we would have missed the awe of God’s creation atop that mountain. As we made the trek down, we offered the same encouragement that we had received. We didn’t want others to miss out on the blessing at the top.
This happens in other life situations, don’t you think? Difficult situations arise that force us to push through (usually blindly and grasping for some sense of control) with the hope of experiencing normalcy, or goodness, or greater wisdom at the end. It usually isn’t an easy journey, but you make it, and reap the blessings of perseverance and hope.
We see this with the Israelites in many cases, but specifically in these next chapters.
S – Scripture: Leviticus 11-13
- Chapter 11 – clean and unclean foods
- 11:45 – “For I, the LORD, am the one who brought you up from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy.”
- Chapter 12 – the purification process for women after giving birth
- Chapter 13 – how to deal with skin disorders and diseases
- God saved the Israelites so that they would be HIS people.
- It was only by his hand and power that freedom from slavery came to Abraham’s descendants.
- God is holy, therefore his people must be holy.
- The instructions and laws were established for that purpose.
- God is still creating a holy people today. Even with Jesus sacrifice, that cleanses us from all unrighteousness, we need to choose to stay away from corrupt things in this world. What we allow our eyes to see and ears to hear affects our belief and worship of God.
When I sat and pondered these passages, I felt God saying:
“For I, the LORD, am the one who brought you up from _______________, that I might be your God. Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy.”
Each of us has our own answer for the fill-in-the-blank. Typically, it’s only in hindsight that we can fully know. I see it throughout my life, times that God brought me through something for a specific purpose.
He carried me through the rejection of a person close to me so that I would seek him first in relationships, know his unconditional love for me, and set boundaries and expectations for what true companionship. It was soon after that I met my future husband. Further, the lessons I learned carried over into this new relationship and built it to last.
God guided me through a knee surgery that took me out of the sports that I loved. Those, at the time, were a huge part of my identity. But because of the Physical Therapy I went through, I chose to go into Personal Training and help others heal through exercise. What seemed like a setback ended up being one of the greatest trajectory changes in my life.
By his grace, God lovingly and gently pieced me back together after the tragedy of miscarriage. This was the longest and toughest journey I had been on. Even though things haven’t completely fallen into place on how I can use my experience to bring God glory, I am starting to see future opportunities.
In each situation, I can hear God saying, “I brought you out of this so that I would be your God. It was by my hand that I carried you out and guided you through so that you could experience me and grow closer to me. You are becoming more like me with each trial you go through. The things you learn and unlearn are all preparing you for the great purpose that I have for you.”
When I look back at all that he has brought me through and how he really has worked everything out for a good purpose, I desire to holy. I want to shed off all that hinders me from being the closest that I can to God. I could never do enough to repay him for all that he has done, or do more righteous things to gain holiness. The great thing is, is that I don’t need to. He’s given that as a free gift. But I do want to honor him and spread his glory by how I live. I won’t be perfect, but I don’t need to be that either.
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes–these are not for you.” Ephesians 1-4
What has God brought you through? How has he brought good out of terrible situations in your life? Do you believe that he carried you through those for a specific purpose? Are you honoring all that God has done for you with your words and actions?
Take some time and reflect on all that God has brought you through and how you can now honor him with you life because of it. I’m not saying it’s easy, and it might bring up more questions, but God can handle it. Work through it with him.
Another post to check out is this: Already Victorious.
P – Prayer:
God, even though going through those trials was not my favorite time, I’m so thankful that you made something good come out of them. I can see clearly how you carried me and worked it all out. There are things now that I’m waiting to see how you can use them for good. Guide and direct my path to the people and resource I need to bring you glory out of the new wisdom I’ve gained from my experiences.
It’s a hard thing to wrestle with you about why certain things happen. God, I pray your mercy and guidance for those who are fighting for answers today. Be near them. Let them feel your presence and know that you have them and will carry them through. Thank you, Father. Amen.