Well my friends, Summer has finally arrived! Can I get an Amen? While the deer may have walked right up to my front porch and eaten my flowers, the birds are singing and the sun no longer goes down before six o’clock so I’m calling it a win! I remember when I was a little girl and summer always seemed to possess some kind of magic. We grew up in a home in the country and we didn’t have air conditioning. Instead, we opened windows and placed fans into them. I remember my sister and I screeching when June bugs made their debut and our brothers saving the day by capturing them! Playing softball with the whole family in the backyard. Bonfires. Staying up all night and reading books that took me on fantastical adventures. I remember one summer it was so hot, my sister and I went to Kmart and got a kiddie pool! There were times we even got to camp out on the deck for the night! And don’t get me started on all of the times we got to spend the night at our grandma’s – swimming in the pool, chomping on watermelon, and the best part? Grandma’s house always had pop and candy! Side note: as an adult I now understand why moms, dads, grandmas, and grandpas are always hollering to “Shut the door” and “Use a towel instead of dripping all over the floor!” Of all the seasons, summer always feels the shortest to me. Even on the summer days that seem like they will never end, they do, and before I know it, I’m grabbing a sweater as I head out the door to the changing of the leaves and the unique beauty of fall.
Isn’t that how our mountain tops feel? Like we didn’t quite get to stay there long enough and enjoy the view from every angle? We only get a few deep breaths in before we are heading down to conquer the next valley! But why should we want to stay on that mountain top? Mountain tops can make us too comfortable. It’s easy to become complacent on a mountain top. Using it as a permanent base instead of a resting and rejuvenating place it was meant to be. You see, this world is not our home, and when we become comfortable, we become a bit lazy, and I believe we miss out on opportunities for serving and growing in Christ. Dare we become bold and fearless and pray, “Lord, make us UNcomfortable!”?
The refining fire is no joke (Hotter than HOT, making the hottest summer days feel like a blizzardy winter day)! And at times, it feels unbearable – especially when you add the pain of rejection, betrayal of friends, judgement of fellow believers, and your own flesh – it becomes easy to declare, “Silver! I’ll take silver!” But our Creator has other plans for you, He declares, “Gold, my child, you shall come forth as Gold.” I’ll share with you one last memory, my dad used to pour us a cold glass of orange juice or sweet tea and we would take a sip and smack our lips and sigh “aaaaaahhhhh.” We were satisfied and, in that moment, life was just about as perfect as a life can get. Here’s a reminder, when you are thirsty, so thirsty, and worn out, ready to settle, trust the Potter’s Hands. He is the Living Water that promises you will thirst no more! John 4:14, “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Read: 1 Corinthians 1:9-13
Consider: The ministry, discipling, leading, and mentoring is hard work! Sometimes it seems like you take one step forward only to move two steps back. It can feel discouraging, lonely, and fruitless. At times like these it is important to readjust our focus, and trust that the Lord is working, even if we cannot see what He is doing. Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” We are called to grow, to not remain like babies, and often God uses people to help us grow! Uh-oh, here’s where trouble can come into play because people are so very human; often disagreements can arise. Keep this in mind: Fussing with one another can hinder the work of the Holy Spirit. Mark 3:24-25, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” The Bible talks about how important unity is! Psalm 133:1, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” Why is unity so important? John 17:23b, “So that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” The world is watching how we treat one another! We do not want to be a stumbling block to the world but a stepping stone that points others to Christ (I Corinthians 8:9, I John 2:10).
We are all works in progress and it is important to remember that we mature in Christ at different rates. Sometimes it takes a little longer for us to understand what the Lord is teaching us, sometimes we learn from experience and sometimes we learn from watching others journey through a trial. We don’t know everything. We don’t know how God is moving and working, we are just called to trust that He is. II Corinthians 4:18, “as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” Philippians 2:13, “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
My mom shared with me an important piece of advice that I’ve found to be quite beneficial: “If the issue isn’t going to matter in 5 years, then don’t waste the next 15 minutes being angry about it.” Let’s not get distracted by petty disagreements and miss an opportunity to share Christ with the world. Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
To-Do: How do you work to resolve conflict in a way that honors God? What do you do when you receive advice or input from someone you disagree with?