“I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.” Mark 8:2 (NIV)
Last time we were together I spoke about how there is one universal characteristic which makes a teacher “great.” When a teacher takes the time to establish a positive relationship with one’s students, it makes a huge difference in how much the student will learn and ultimately the student’s overall success.
God has had me on a journey for the past 12 years to learn how to trust Him, with an especially adventurous past five years. As a result, there have been a few truths God has taught me during the journey that I want to share with you. I’ll share three of them today. Maybe learning these truths will help get you out of your desert faster or at least help you appreciate the journey more.
Truth #1: The Journey is the Destination.
When we began our journey, I was misguided. I thought I was actually setting out for the “promised land.” Even though I didn’t have it well-defined in my head, I knew I would know when I arrived because I would be able to sit on the shoreline, take a huge nap and indulge in some of the “milk and honey” people kept talking about.
It wasn’t until I realized God’s heart for me that I grasped the truth: the journey is as much a part of the destination as stepping into my calling. When I opened my eyes to rsee the journey for what it was, a chance for God to bless during the walk, to refresh me during the tests and trials and lessons and a chance for God to continue to invite me to become the person He created me to be, then I was able to relax and take in some of the great scenery. It was then I was able to realize how much God had His hand on our family while we were still walking. We were never walking alone. We were never left to our own strength. He was always right there, directly in front of us, sometimes also beside us and at other times guiding me by the small of my back to take one more step, go one inch further, because it would be worth it. I had to look back at how far we had come before I could see just how close God had stayed throughout the whole journey. Now I know when I step into my calling completely, I will still be walking the journey. The journey doesn’t go away – the journey continues even if the scenery changes slightly.
Truth #2: The Journey is Meant to Prepare and Teach; Not Punish.
It took me quite a while to realize this truth. God didn’t take me on this journey to punish me. In the same way, most teachers don’t give pop quizzes and hard tests for the sake of inflicting anxiety on their students. The teachers are wise enough to know what students need to learn to be successful in the real world. Our Heavenly Father has an even more loving heart for each of His children than the kindest teacher. He realizes we each have our own journey to walk. He knows what is needed to equip us for that journeys as well as knowing what strengths need to be strengthened. Those are the areas that He focuses on to help us be as prepared as possible.
When we accept His invitation to work on our weaknesses, we need to keep our eyes open to see the ways in which He is right there helping us learn. Again, though, He doesn’t force. He invites us to choose to learn the lessons and take the tests. And His patience is endless when we come with the right heart. He doesn’t expect us to get it right the first time. God knows practice makes perfect and allows us all the time in the desert that we need. I find that I’m usually the one with the “hurry up” attitude, not God.
Truth #3: We Can’t Fully Appreciate the Blessings until We’ve Learned the Lessons.
I know this truth was an eye-opener for me. I couldn’t fully appreciate God healing me from depression until I had learned what God’s peace felt like. I couldn’t fully appreciate the privilege of working inside my gifts until I realized the discomfort of trying to be successful at a job where my gifts were absent. I couldn’t fully appreciate embracing my role as wife and mother until I tried to juggle that calling on my life with four additional jobs also vying for my attention.
Come back next time and I will share the final three truths God has been teaching me.
© Cheri Swalwell 2018