I have been thinking lately that our relationships with the Lord are a lot like going to University. Now, bear with me on this analogy a bit.
Admission to this University is simply just knowing the Director of the Admissions Office, his name is Jesus. Knowing Him, and His "letter of recommendation" is all that's required to "get in." Just like college, we start off with the basics, intro classes. Many people never graduate from their freshman year, many people drop out, many people fail certain "classes" over and over as we are required to pass them to graduate to the next level, and some classes are never really done with and we just keep moving on to the next level (Broken-ess 101, Broken-ness 102, Broken-ness 103, Dying-to-self 101, Dying-to-self-102, etc.). Some of our professors are great and wonderful men and women of the faith. Other professors are unjust and harsh. Everyone's major is the same: Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself." There is really only one required text book.
Lately, for me, I have been feeling as though I have moved on from my "undergraduate years" and on to some sort of graduate school for faith. The problem is, that the "classes" I am taking are those that most people, includig myself, would rather not face. Just like my biology degree and my disdain for Organic Chemistry or Calculus, these classes are required for me but I am going in kicking and screaming. I would much rather stay in my comfortable little undergraduate world, but the Lord has seen fit for me to "graduate." He's super excited about this! "YEAH! Congrats, my beloved, you did it! I am so proud of you! Not everyone gets here, but you did!!" I can almost hear Him saying.
But, I, I am not so excited. "What? MORE broken-ness? MORE suffering? MORE rejection? MORE persecution? MORE holiness? I am not sure I want that!"
But, He calls to me says "This is the path, my daughter. This is the path to knowing me more. You must walk as I walked. You must bear the cross as I bore it. When I say less of you and more of Me, I mean that. I meant it when I said you had to die to yourself, and I know that this is painful. I didn't say it would be easy, in fact, I said it would be hard and that the road was narrow. But, the good news, is that you do not go alone. I am with you. I will enable you. I will strengthen you. In fact if you try to go without me, you will fail. You HAVE to trust me more. Sometimes the lessons in this level will look as though I have left you and you will not always understand why, but I have not, and I will not leave you. You have to believe that I do not teach things to my children that are not important. Do not turn away, do not take your eyes off of me. You're reward will be immeasurable. I am so proud of you, I am so pleased with you, and I am so in love with you."
So, in this season in which I am wondering "How much harder can it get?" The answer is: This is the wrong question!
The questions SHOULD be: "Lord, what are you teaching me here? What about your character do I need to see in these trials? What of myself needs to die? Can you please teach me to trust you more, even when hope seems lost and I don't understand?"
And, in this, perhaps I can graduate from this "class" and move on to the next that the Lord has for me. All I know is that I am going for my pH.D