Have you ever had a song come on at the right moment? I spent much of the day just a couple days ago rejoicing at the fact that I could mow my own lawn. Many people may not understand that. I was reminiscing about my life around this time last year. I could barely get out of bed. I couldn’t do any physical labor. I was in a pretty stormy season of life back then. It seems like a lifetime ago now.
As I was finishing up my workout, doing cardio on the elliptical, I was praising God. Not out loud by any means, that would be weird for all of us. I had just completed a grueling leg day full of squats, lunges, deadlifts, and several other exercises meant to punish the quads, glutes, and hammies. I started to look back on my life over the last year and the pain and suffering I went through to get to where I am now. Then a song came over my headphones. It was like God wanted me to hear this song in that moment and praise Him even more.
“Your back to the wall wall. You feeling now hurt hurt. Your head to the sky sky, your knees to the dirt dirt dirt dirt. Why when we go through it, right in that moment then, do we begin to believe that the moment won’t end? After the sun sets, wont the sun rise? After the rain pours then won’t the sun shine? Look at them mothers, pained up in delivery, she hears her baby crying and pain becomes a memory. Yeah, I just wanna remind you, your now will be a then, just looking behind you. Surely the God of all glory will take me break me and then he’ll restore me, store me. Hey so when the sky’s looking gray above know that His grave was dug just so we can taste His love. Yeah, so stop trying to dodge the rain drops. Hide under His wings and watch the rain stop.”(JSON BEHIND THE CLOUDS)
We as humans only see what is right in front of us. We only see the hurt, the pain, the struggle in the moment. We forget that we will look back on this moment and rejoice at the fact that we made it through. The pruning season is never easy. When God decides to reshape you, it is painful. But looking back you can see Him and His work in everything. I wanted it. I told God plainly that He could take me and reshape me into what He wanted me to be. Believe me the process was painful. But looking back, I would endure it again and again to have the blessings and the rewards that come with this reshaping process. Like a caterpillar, now a butterfly, I can see things through a whole new lens from above.
“And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’” (Hebrews 12:5-6)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:1-2)
When God begins pruning us it hurts. He begins to remove the dead and damaged branches from us that are not producing the fruit He wants. The false idols and the false beliefs are cut away allowing for new growth and the fruit of the Spirit. Because God loves us, He is not willing to leave us in the state that we are in. He wants us to become new in Him. This process takes time and often takes some work on our part and unfortunately some really hard times as well. This last year has been that process for me. The last year felt like it would never end and now it feels like a distant memory.
When the rain is pouring and the storm is at its worst, we lose sight of the fact that God is still at work. When we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, we lose sight that God standing beside us. It seems that when the hurt begins our sight starts to shrink until all we see is the situation at hand. We lose sight of the end result. That the pain will leave one day and the result will be worth it. We forget that the sun still shines on the other side of the clouds. When the rain stops, the sun will shine again.
I rejoice that I can look back and see God at work in all the dark times. I see how far He has taken me. I see everything that was lost so that I may gain. And it was all worth it. That song struck me at just the right time. No matter the circumstance you are going through, God is still sovereign. He is still at work. He still holds all things together. And when the pain is over may we look back and rejoice. Praising God all day long as we tell others about how great the Father’s love for us is. That He would choose to reshape us and make us in his image.
The chorus of that song still fills my heart. “The dawn of every new day, is the proof that night will fade. Just like a mother forgets her pain, when she sees her babies face. As she holds her smile, and the joy my heart contains makes it all worthwhile. Even when rain is falling down, You shine behind the clouds.” (JSON Behind the Clouds)
The story isn’t over. It is still being written. One day you will look back and rejoice. Your right now, has now become a then. Keep your heart centered on God and keep moving forward.