I seem to constantly go through the same cycle in my relationship with God. First He draws me in and I experience the kind of excitement and fire that anyone has when they first come to Christ. Then He brings things to the surface in my life that are dragging me down and pulling me away from Him, and He deals with them. This of course is rather unpleasant, and at this point I engage in evasive maneuvers and suppress everything “so He can’t get at them” and act like everything is fine. I start to even resent God for “causing me so much pain” (even though I’m the only one causing myself any pain, by hanging onto things that aren’t good or nourishing) and I have to force myself to read my Bible or pray. And then, because He’s God, He draws me back again. He makes me realize that He loves me and that I belong to Him, that His plans for me are not to harm me but to prosper me and give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
Why is this? I wish I could say I’ve learned my lesson now and won’t break the cycle where God begins to refine me, but I can’t because I’ve thought that many times. Now, in the stage where God is drawing me to Him, I can say that I trust Him and will continue to trust Him even when I feel like He is painfully chipping away the hard edges, but I don’t know whether it will last. What I can say is that each time it seems to be just a little bit easier to stop trying to run away. Each time the stretch between running away and coming back gets shorter. So…that’s good, right? If there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that a) God is in control and He’s faithful, and b) this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
People always say that and you’re like, “Right. Right. But for me it will be a sprint. I’ve got this. I’m just that awesome.” But it’s a marathon no matter what you do. It’s a marathon because, quite simply, none of us could handle a sprint. And God knows that. It’s a life-long marathon, an exciting one, and trying to cram it all into a year or two is going to cause burn out and discouragement and bitterness and a whole slew of other problems. Then we blame God and say He expects too much of us, when actually we’ve taken all this excess stuff on ourselves.
So, I know where I’m sitting now that the cycle will continue. But I guess it’s encouraging that it’s getting shorter, and that the highs are getting higher. God is faithful, whether or not we are. And that’s kind of encouraging too.