Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Transformers

In 1984 when I was a senior in high school, Hasbro introduced a cool new toy line called "The Transformers." These action figures could change from robot to vehicle with a few turns and twists. They were "more than meets the eye" as the theme song said.

I have met my own real life transformer. And it could kick Optimus Prime's or Megatron's butt any day of the week. This transformer goes by the name of Pain and it takes as many forms as there are people on this earth. Each pain being unique to the individual.

The psalmist wrote, "Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name."

I have prayed this verse many times for my life. I don't want to be here and there. I don't want to be halfway for God or so caught up in the pursuit of comfort and ease that I lose sight of the kingdom of God. And it is easy to do. Be half-hearted, get distracted. The gravitational pull of the world doesn't stop.

Thankfully the Father is aware of my struggle and He has a plan. This plan involves the great transformer, Pain. God knows the exact pain I need that will lead me to rethink how I am doing life, that would push me to seek change. Without pain I will never let go of the things that are dividing me. Pain brings focus. Pain transforms.

But when pain comes, there is a problem. Pain hurts. And in my hurt I sometimes run away from God. I sometimes seek relief in other places. Some of the very places God wants to lure me away from.

The relief, if I find any, will be short-lived because the real answer to my pain lies in learning to turn my face to Jesus. I have to open my heart to the One who knows and understands me and knows my need.

Life with God begins with a turning from my way to His. And daily life requires that same decision every day. Will I turn to the Father or will I turn to my own devices? When in the midst of my pain will I cry out to the One who can save me, comfort me, and help me? Or will I stubbornly insist that God doesn't care?

My children have all gone through immature phases when they accused me of not loving them. Those accusations usually involved some sort of discomfort that was good for them. I'm ready to move out of that baby phase of my Christian life. I want to have an undivided heart. A heart that says to my heavenly Father, "This growing hurts. I don't like it. But I know You and I know You are for me. You made me and planned me and You want to know me more deeply. I trust You with this pain. Hold my hand as I walk through this valley today."

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