There are countless devotionals out there, perhaps this is the first one ever titled like this one. We warned you we wouldn’t be ordinary or boring. So here it is “When Life Sucks”, because sometimes it kinda does, doesn’t it?
In a specific time of the year, farmers often burn their fields. Yes, the fields they work so hard to protect. The fields which produce their precious harvest, they set them on fire. Everything is burned. Intentionally. Everything that was growing is set on fire to perish.
It seems kind of counter productive. All growth is intentionally stopped. Everything is burned down to the bare ground leaving a charred black blanket. It wasn’t an accident. The fire was intentional.
Sometimes we go through fires in our life. What we had is now lost. What once flourished is now a charred ground after destruction. And we’re left standing in the fields of our life wondering how it will ever be okay again. Why does this happen to us? Why does God allow the fires to strip us of the very things we’ve worked hard for? Why all the trials and stresses?
Well, it’s not like God didn’t warn us. 1 Peter 4:12 says “Don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.”
While the setbacks and trials you’re facing right now seem senseless and overwhelming, this isn’t strange at all. It’s all by design. And you can trust that design is FOR you, not against you. Oh, it won’t “feel” like it’s for you as your fields are on fire and things go up in smoke, but ultimately it is for your good.
You see, those fields that were burned by the farmers, the ones that were left as nothing but a charred black blanket, they will be florescent green just a few weeks later. Because the old has been cleared away, the new can grow in abundance.
BECAUSE THE OLD HAS BEEN CLEARED AWAY, THE NEW CAN GROW IN ABUNDANCE.
And isn’t it the same in our lives? We try so desperately to hold on to what has been when it’s season has already passed. Last year’s crop has died, let it be cleared away now. Let go of what was and embrace what God is doing in your life now. The fires you feel today are a sign God is about to bring growth and renewal to you.
The devotional you hear today is now the number one daily devotional podcast in the world … but oh if you only knew the fires it took. If you only knew how many times I’ve quit along the way. The times I’ve told God he picked the wrong person because the hate mail was just too much. The times I got it wrong and felt so embarrassed.
Now, looking back I see each and every trial, each and every fire was burning off something I thought I required, something I had worked so hard for and now it was gone … but it was all part of the process of growth. Part of the process of humbling. Part of the process of becoming. Part of the process of life. And it was worth it.
Are you being humbled right now? This is the process of growth. The process of becoming. And I promise it will be worth it.
I’ve been public with our family’s battle for our youngest daughter. That hasn’t been easy. I’ve been shamed, but the truth is I was the one doing the shaming. It seems to me there are a whole lot of hurting families out there who can totally relate. So I’ve shared the fires as they came and the burned fields that were our shattered hearts for 1.5 years. I desperately wanted God to fix it, but instead he allowed it. He allowed things to get worse. He allowed things to get harder. And he allowed some things to go up in smoke.
Now today, on the other side of the fire that raged, I see the beginning of the sweetest new growth. I talk to my girl almost daily and she is once again a source of absolute joy. She is growing and becoming, and I have to believe her life will be bigger and her purpose will be greater because of the hard seasons of painful fire that humbled us all.
Maybe you’re going through something like our family did, or maybe it’s something totally different. Fire is fire. It hurts and it destroys. But it can have a greater purpose. It can be used for something good.
1 Peter 1: 6 says “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.”
There is wonderful joy ahead, but first trials. First fire. First the old must be burned away … then the new can flourish.
Toby Mac said it like this: The circumstances we ask God to change are often the circumstances God is using to change us.
I’ve learned to trust the fires in my life. Now it doesn’t mean I look forward to them, but it does mean I don’t fight them so darn hard anymore. Life is like the seasons. Constantly changing and evolving, growing and becoming. The more we fight it, the harder we make it for ourselves. Embrace the season of life you’re in now. There’s beauty around you. There are things you have today that you won’t have in the next season. Don’t miss it now.
And when your fields get set on fire, know it is for a purpose. Don’t be surprised when some things go up in smoke. It’s all good. Say that with me, it’s all good. It may not feel good and it may not look good for a while. Charred black fields are an eyesore. But wow, when that brand new fluorescent green grass starts growing in, you see it was all worth it and your fields are better because of it. And you’ll know, it’s all good.
God is not trying to destroy you. He is always on your side, working for you, going before you and making a way. He knows what is best for you, he knows what will help you grow into the person he had in mind when he created you, and he’s not afraid of a little fire to get you there.
New growth is ahead. Your season is about to change. Don’t give up in the fires.