Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we've gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
This post isn’t for everyone.
It’s just for You. You know who you are.
The one who can’t catch your breath between this crisis and the next.
The one who looks back at the last few years and sees stress, heartache, sleepless nights, weary days.
The one who hears things like “You’ve got to be kidding me. Again?” and “How can I help?”, over and over and over.
I’m with you. I know.
Oh our lives might be different,
but I know.
It might be the loss of a business, a crippling diagnosis, the despair of a loved one, a devastating betrayal, a long term illness. It might be deep, deep loneliness or regret or anger. It might be a mountain of debt, a tunnel of isolation, a pit of depression. You might not be able to put a name to it. Anyway, you’re too weary. The floor is constantly shifting beneath you. You feel like you’re in some kind of Willy Wonka madhouse, and the room is getting smaller and weirder and your old life of comfort and peace seems like someone else’s story. You can’t retreat to the dreams you used to dream, if you even dream at all.
My Mother-in-Law calls this The Narrowing.
Suffering leads to perseverance.
Perseverance to character,
character to hope.
The Narrowing: It’s how you begin to feel a new heartbeat. It’s how you discover what’s really important. It’s where you find meaning.
It’s when Someone takes a hammer and a chisel and begins to chip chip chip away at what shouldn’t be there. It’s when Someone sees the masterpiece that lies beneath the rock, and He won’t stop until the excess lies broken and dusty on the floor. It’s when, slowly and deliberately, chunks of the old you are chiseled away. Pride, self-preservation, comfort, greed, gluttony, and all other things dark and heavy. Those things you don’t speak of. Those things you fear and hate the most. You know.
You know something needs to be done. You know those things will cling to you
unless Someone takes up the hammer.
I’m with you. I know.
But oh my friend, listen to me. There is discovery here. There is a language spoken only by those who have been broken, chiseled, narrowed. Hope wins. And love is poured into our hearts; poured carefully and generously until we overflow with the deep and the wide love. And then! Oh, then it spills over into lives all around us.
This life we’re called to; this life of following Christ—It’s a narrow road. And we are a people who have been called to be narrowed.
and press into hope
until His Spirit pours love into your heart
and it spills over into the lives of the broken
and you truly learn what it is
to be narrowed.
Hebrews 12: 1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…