At lunchtime recently, I fixed myself a bowl of soup, sat down with a magazine, and proceeded to enjoy my meal. My boys weren’t yet hungry, deciding to eat later. As I finished my soup, my oldest son came in to prepare some scrambled eggs for himself. I was in the kitchen, so I pulled out the skillet, bacon, and non-stick spray. He didn’t ask, I just stepped in and helped. When his eggs were done, I got a bowl and fork out for him, in addition to pouring him a glass of milk. He never requested it; I just did so. He very often does the same for me. He seems to read me, know what direction I’m going, and jump in and help. When we mesh like this it’s a beautiful, harmonic thing.
With my younger son, it’s sometimes more like sandpaper and wood. We bump into one another and it’s rough. As we try to move, there’s a coarse rubbing that takes place. I make a request or a comment, and he bristles, adopts a bad attitude, and responds inappropriately. In turn, I react with anger, frustration, or irritation. There’s a brusque sanding that takes place. After a time, apologies are given, hugs abound, and love is shared. This is the smooth, polished part that comes after sanding.
Does that mean that my eldest and I never have rough patches? Of course not. And there are certainly times that my other son and I coast the same path together.
While you might think that one type of relationship is better, I submit to you that both are valuable and necessary. Both aspects are present in my relationship with God. There are times that I flow right along the river of God’s will, reading His mind, and jumping in without being asked. These are glorious and holy moments. But then there are the times that I bump into God and His way is different from the one I had in mind. His “touch” seems rough and uncomfortable, even harsh at times. During those difficult interactions, I have a choice. I can pull away and remain in my jagged, unfinished condition, or I can allow Him to refine my imperfections, lovingly fashioning me into His image.
May you learn to embrace both concepts in your relationship with Christ. You will find a holy balance when you can relish in the refining work of the Lord as much as in the glorious harmony of walking in His will.
“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:9-11