I remember my first chastening from the Lord. It was horrible. It felt like I had football lodged in my heart. Not only was I convicted, but remorseful. I knew God’s word and had been through similar situations before. I handled them well, but once the heat got turned up, I burned in the fire and fell to the ground as ashes when it was all over. I succumbed to the very thing I hated because it pleased my flesh to have revenge and my feelings validated. What exactly was it I did? Well that’s a long story… However, I will say a few words: Slander, gossip, disrespect of authority and manipulation. It was not my finest moment.
The situation I was facing was full of evil and had satan’s name written all over it. I was doing what was done to me, but the heat I felt from the Lord is what tore me apart. I was representing Him and I was not doing it well. After a few days, I realized that God still loved me and He would never stop loving me. Sometimes it’s like that. God will let something blow up in your face, not to make you feel guilty, but to bring about correction.
When I think back to that time, I remember praying about the situation, but still acting out of my flesh. God desires to teach us how to walk out His ways in a world misguided and owned by satan. God desires to teach us to fight in the spirit and not the flesh. At the time, I was ignorant of what that really meant. I believed that once I prayed, God would help me get what I wanted and deserved. So, I began to do things to support my prayers, but they were not the right things. I was tired of being meek. I saw all the aggressive, wicked, and less qualified prosper right before my eyes. Little did I know, the whole time, satan was enticing me to participate in an evil game by giving me the false hope of becoming one of them. I took the bait.
All of this happened, but not without warning. Months before I encountered this situation I had a dream. In the dream, an older lady came to me and told me, “Do not get caught in the triangle.” I pondered it for a few days, but couldn’t quite understand what it meant.
When everything hit its apex, I laid in bed, asking God to make me feel better. I wanted to feel justified and I wanted the other parties to feel guilty and convicted. Instead, the Lord told me to focus on myself. He shared with me that the condition of their hearts and actions had nothing to do with mine. It stung like a bee. My flesh wanted to point the finger, get the pat on the back, and be the victim that needed rescuing. But God turned me into a victor instead. I got the victory that season. I learned how to be inside the fire and not get burned. Their flames were out of control, but my fire was burning at a steady temperature because The Father had set it. I finished my course with peace, self-control, and meekness. I sought the Lord for my next endeavor. Not only was it far worse than the situation I left, but I was chastened again. Again, I rolled over in my bed. Instead of asking God to make me feel better, I asked Him, “Lord, why is this happening to me?” Immediately, He gave me a verse to read and I understood. I knew what I had to do. This time, I decided to let the situation burn down to ash. I had so many things to worry about and desperately wanted to keep the fire going. However, the more I used my own strength to keep the fire going, the further I moved from God. I had no more grace for the situation.
I spent 40 days seeking the Lord. God taught me new things about himself and I learned new things about myself. It was hard to be where I was because people were happy I was not prospering, or so they thought. I was constantly told things like I know you’re waiting on your blessing and we got ours don’t be discouraged. Or, are you sure that the next time will be different? Satan wanted me to believe that God didn’t favor me and cared about others more than me. Just because people are receiving tangible blessings, or have a higher position than us in the world does not make anyone less blessed. The level that God blesses each one of us is different and relative to our unique journey and the person. There are no favorites with God and we are all in equal standing with Him as humans. So, in ignorance, people believed that I was in a terrible state. In truth, I was in the best place I could be – All I had was Christ! All I had was the word of God.
MY SOUL WAS PROSPERING!
I was entering a new level of relationship with God. I never trusted Him fully until that season and that was my first taste of it. If the Lord never chastened me, allowed me to face difficult situations, and if I did not obey Him, than I wouldn’t be here now. Where is here now? Here now, is loved. I am loved by the Lord. He is my Father, my Friend, my Corrector, and my Teacher – simply put HE’S MY EVERYTHING. After everything was said and done, God took all my ashes and gave me beauty. He blessed me with something I can’t even gather the words to articulate it. People ask me how I did it all the time. Simply put, I did nothing grievous. I obeyed God. I put my pride, feelings, worry, and stress aside to do what God called me to do in that season.
So be encouraged today, chastening is the first step to a better life and deeper relationship with Jesus and the Father. It’s a pathway leading directly to love. I am so grateful that the Lord didn’t allow me to stay in my ignorance. God pays so much attention to EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US – it’s truly amazing.
Hebrews 12: 6 TLB
And have you quite forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his child? He said, “My son, don’t be angry when the Lord punishes you. Don’t be discouraged when he has to show you where you are wrong. 6 For when he punishes you, it proves that he loves you. When he whips you, it proves you are really his child.”
Ephesians 6:9 TLB
And you slave owners must treat your slaves right, just as I have told them to treat you. Don’t keep threatening them; remember, you yourselves are slaves to Christ; you have the same Master they do, and he has no favorites.
To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”