Do you ever find yourself just going through the motions? Perhaps you’ve been through a situation, and you’re doing your best to survive. Maybe you’ve even asked the question we all tend to ask, “God, why am I going through this?”. You put on your smile and do your best to shine your Jesus light, loud and proud, but it doesn’t change how you truly feel about your situation. For some of us, God has spoken clearly about a direction He has for us, but it seems like we will never get there. On our journey to the promise, we hit one wall after another. Roadblock after roadblock. So again we ask, “Why?”.
Well, I believe I found the answer. Please don’t misunderstand; I don’t have an explanation as to why bad things happen in general, other than we live in a fallen world, but when we talk about why God allows us to go through things on the way to our promise (the fullness God has for us as individuals) I believe He’s been showing me the answer. So, I wanted to share this thought with you.
Back in April, my friend Faith and I went to the Outcry Worship concert to celebrate our birthdays. It was an incredible evening of worship, and I did a whole lot of talking and listening to Jesus. Toward the end, Chris Brown from Elevation Worship was talking and one thing he said stuck in my mind and in my heart. He mentioned, “the platform is not the purpose.” I loved what he said because being in ministry it’s easy to think it’s about the platform. If you don’t have a big platform, you’re not doing something right, or you don’t matter as much to kingdom work. But that is just not the truth. God doesn’t measure the size of our platforms, he looks at our measure of obedience. While I loved this thought, it caused me to ask this question. “Lord, if the platform is not the purpose, what is?”
In the weeks and months to follow, I made it my prayer to understand what the purpose was. I thought maybe it’s the people. The people we reach, that’s the purpose. And just when I thought I had it figured out, the Lord said something I didn’t expect. Like he often does, He gently whispered, “No Cassie, it’s not the people.” What? It’s not the people? And He lovingly whispered back to me, “It’s the process; the process is the purpose.” That wasn’t at all what I was expecting or frankly what I wanted to hear, but I let Him continue to explain. He said to me in a few words this next thought: often we want to rush through the process, go through it and get it over with in order to move on to the fullness God has. Sometimes we even try and bypass this process, but God doesn’t want us to merely go through, He wants us to grow through the process. Then I began to understand, if the process is the purpose, then there’s purpose in the process.
As I let this marinate in my spirit, God brought King David to my remembrance. David was anointed King at a young age. 1 Samuel 16 tells the story of how it all comes about: Samuel sets out to anoint a new king, one of Jesse’s sons. He meets all the brothers and is tempted to choose Eliab (v.6), but verse 7 says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the Lord sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.’” Let me stop for a moment to remind someone that you are enough! People may look down on you, they may reject you, or they may set you aside, but God sees your heart. He knows what plans He has for you and no one or nothing can stop the will of the Father! You are enough!
So the Lord straightens Samuel out here and directs him to ask if there are any more sons to choose from. Verse 11, “Samuel asked him, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’ ‘There is still the youngest,’ he answered, ‘but right now he’s tending the sheep.’ Samuel told Jesse, ‘Send for him. We won’t sit down to eat until he gets here.’” Again I need to pause, there are some of you who have been tending sheep for so long you wonder if you’ve heard the Lord correctly when He spoke to you about your calling. I get it, me too! But this verse reminds us that if we stay faithful where we are right now, God will send for us when the time is right. Stay faithful in this season, and God will bless you for your obedience.
Jesse sends for David, and in verse 12, David is anointed the king. The end. Just kidding! This was only the beginning for David. There was much for David to learn. As a matter of fact, it was twenty-two years from the time David was anointed king before he reigned over all of Israel. Say what? Twenty-two years? Lord Jesus, that’s a long time, am I right? But God showed me this as a reminder that the process is the purpose, and there is a purpose in the process. So what use could twenty-two years of waiting possibly have? Well, plenty:
- The harp taught David humility (v.14-18).
- The lion and the bear taught David how to fight a giant (v.34-37).
- The Philistine giant taught him how to face an army (v.49-50).
- The hunt for David’s life taught Him to seek refuge in the Lord (1 Sam 22:1).
- Most importantly, shepherding his sheep taught David how to shepherd a nation (v.11).
Zechariah 4:10 says, “do not despise small beginnings”, meaning: don’t hold them as insignificant because they are significant to the father. What you thought was meaningless could be the very thing setting you up for greatness.
And Matthew 25:21, “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”
The purpose of the process boils down to growth; we are to grow through, not just go through things. Jesus would never allow us to go through something we couldn’t grow through. We serve a good Father, and He wants only the best for us. Sometimes the best can come through a desert, a valley, or the wilderness. These times are inevitable, but we must choose, will we go through them or grow through them?
One last thought. Exodus 3:1 has encouraged me more times than I can count. And I pray it helps you as well. It says, “Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.” Did you catch that? On just the other side of the process, the wilderness, the desert, or the roadblock you are facing, you will find the promise, the mountain of God. Grow through.