Many times God gives me mental pictures to help me better understand spiritual things. Today He showed me two different images. One relates to levels of spiritual maturity and the other relates to our dealing with struggles.
I've been a believer since I was about 10 years old. I am now, hmmm mmmm, 41 years old (there, I said it!). You would think that after 31 years of walking with Christ I would have "arrived" or nearly so. Well, I'm no where near having "arrived" and that's because I've diverted from God's path way too many times. You are probably familiar with the verses Jeremiah 29:11-13 "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the LORD. Even though I KNOW that God has plans for me, from time to time I have devised my own plans, which caused me to stray from the path He has marked me (Hebrews 12 comes to mind). But when I DO finally achieve a level of spiritual insight/understanding, I sometimes find myself frustrated with the people around me who still haven't "gotten it". Why is that? If it has taken me so long to get to a certain point, why should I expect everyone else to be on the same page? So here is the mental picture God showed me today. When God finally freed the Israelites from Egypt, there were millions of them, right? So it took quite some time for them all to travel. Now those who were at the head of the line would reach a destination long before those at the end of the line (duh, I know, but bare with me). Now the Israelites were not very patient or content (who is?) people, so they griped and complained - A LOT! I was picturing those who were at the head of the line being the instigators of the pity parties, while at the back of the line the people were just getting out, still celebrating their freedom and were probably wondering what all the fuss was about. Now, griping and complaining are not good things and it's not spiritually healthy, so what's my point? My point is, we don't all arrive at the same destination at the same time! It's not healthy for us to become frustrated with other believers just because they are not "seeing" a certain spiritual truth when we do. We need to stop looking at the people around us, and keep our eyes on God, Who is the One with the plan. Of course I totally expect some, if not all of you who are reading this to have already come to this understanding; but there might be others who have just arrived at this place, like myself, or are still headed in this general direction of understanding.
The other picture that I had today was really more of a memory. When my daughter was around two years of age, she was diagnosed with asthma. After a scary episode that led to a hospital stay, she was prescribed albuterol in liquid form. This stuff was beyond nasty tasting! It was absolutely horrid! She fought so hard that it literally took her dad AND myself to hold her down to administer this medication. Remember, she was only two! She didn't realize/understand that this horrible tasting stuff was NECESSARY in order for her to be well. How many times do we struggle and fight against God because we are going through a difficult time that we don't understand? How many times has He promised that those difficulties WILL be worked out for OUR GOOD? How many times has He come through on His promises? EVERY SINGLE TIME! These struggles and difficulties that we face from time to time are NECESSARY for our spiritual well being. We don't like it. We don't want it. BUT IT'S NECESSARY!
So there you have it. God is so good, and faithful! Deuteronomy 7:9 "Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands." PRAISE YOU, LORD!!!
If you are on a difficult, tiresome journey, don't give up. Just SEARCH for GOD's PLAN, seek His face and FOLLOW Him. If you are going through a difficult time that puts a horrid taste in your mouth, just trust God to work it all out for your good (Romans 8:28).