Did you know that life is a classroom?  We learn, develop, change, and evolve into the person God intended us to be through the things we experience in life.  Scripture talks about newborn babies needing milk but as a child grows, they need more than milk. (I Corinthians. 3:2) I love the way the scriptures use real life examples of our physical life to teach us about our spiritual life.

When life hurts we have an opportunity to grow by leaps and bounds.  In the past few weeks we have all had a great opportunity to grow.  A world wide pandemic will cause us to struggle with fear, anxiety and uncertainty.  Faith needs to grow just like our physical bodies need to grow.  The scriptures also tell us that one way faith grows is through hearing the Word of God.  (Romans 10:17). We can’t grow apart from the Word.

God has shown me a lot over the years through so many different allegory’s.  We have several azalea bushes in our yard that has needed to be pruned for years.  I’m not the one that works in the yard and my husband does a great job taking care of a huge yard.  He hasn’t had a chance to spend time on these bushes so this week I decided that I would do some pruning.  Now I have no experience, but I knew that it was needed.  So I took the clippers and began cutting away at our bushes.  (I did check the internet and I knew it was the right time to cut them back.)  As I pruned the bushes I imagined what they would look like next spring.  If the pruning is done right, these bushes should bloom more beautiful than ever.

When I finished I had piles of cut off branches.  Not just dead branches but I had to cut off some branches that were green with growth in order to shape the bush.  If that bush could speak I would imagine they would say, “Stop! That hurts!”  But I wasn’t pruning these bushes because they did anything wrong or I was mad at it.  I was pruning these bushes because it was needed so they could grow more healthy and shine brighter.  Sometimes God prunes us.  He can cut away certain things in our life to help us grow.  By no means am I saying that God is the author of all hard and difficult things in our lives but He certainly uses these things to grow our faith in Him and in our true identity.

As I think about this pandemic that we have all found ourselves enduring; I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my faith has grown.  I recognize things have been cut out of my life like too much busyness or too much shopping or too much eating out or you fill in the blank.  Have you noticed?  It’s incredibly sad that people have suffered and some have lost their lives and I do not believe God brought this pandemic.  But I do see how He is using it to grow us.  I feel more settled.  I feel like my priorities are getting rearranged into the right order.  I feel like my eyes have been put back on what is most important.

I hope you are growing through this season.  A question that I have learned to ask God when I am in the middle of something hard is, “Father, what do you want me to learn?  Teach me, Father, and let me get everything out of this season that I need to get.”  Let’s not get back to normal.  Because our normal wasn’t healthy.  Let’s be better than normal and let’s allow God to complete the work that He’s started in us.  I love the verse that says.  “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Our Heavenly Father is the expert Gardner.  He knows when to cut, where to cut and how much to cut.  We can trust Him.  You may not recognize yourself in a few weeks.  You may have more peace and fulfillment than you’ve ever experienced before. If you are hurting please know that God feels your pain and knows how to comfort you in your pain.  Try to not focus on what you have lost and ask Him to show you what you will gain in this season. I hope this blog gives you hope.