We don’t exactly understand how God transforms us through life’s struggles, we have to cooperate with Him and do what He asks of us. He is always at work to transform us into His likeness–and that means greater joy!
Like most people, I have spent a good amount of time trying to understand my life experiences. And, if I am honest, many things haven’t made sense. Unexplained paths. Dashed expectations. Disappointments. Shattered dreams. There have been times in life, probably like you, when I have looked back over my shoulder and thought, God, what in the world was that all about?
But I recently had a life-changing revelation that I have been trying to understand my experiences in the wrong way. Instead of analyzing them through a lens of good or bad, right or wrong, perfect or imperfect, God’s will or my will, maybe I need to look at them through the lens of holiness.
I have to admit, my brain has always turned off when I have heard this word. Why? Because even though I have heard the word “holiness” a million times, I haven’t ever really been able to grasp what it means. And, I have a feeling I won’t ever come close to understanding its meaning until I get to heaven. It’s like trying to tell a woman who has been blind from birth what a breathtaking sunset looks like. Even though I intellectually know holiness is good and beautiful, I just don’t get it because it’s so “other.” It’s so God. But I do know that holy is what God wants me to be (1 Peter 1:16).
The definition of holiness–in a nutshell–means being set apart to purity, to be like God. And the result of holiness, of God transforming us to make us more like Him, is outrageous joy, amazing peace, overflowing love—and all the other things that are embodied in our Perfect Creator.
So what does holiness have to do with trying to understand life’s painful, meaningless, or seemingly pointless experiences?
When I understand that God’s goal is to make me holy, not to always make me happy or grant all my desires, then every imperfect situation, every struggle, every disappointment, every heartache, every experience I can’t understand, and even my sin become a means for Him to accomplish His goal to make me holy. Everything (and I mean everything!) has divine purpose. For those who belong to Christ, no experience in life—good or bad—is ever wasted! God uses everything.
Nasty neighbor? An opportunity for holiness. Unfaithful mate? An opportunity for holiness. Broken dreams? An opportunity for holiness. Unemployment? An opportunity for holiness. Financial struggles? An opportunity for holiness. Sin? An opportunity for holiness.
Since we don’t exactly understand how God transforms us to make us more holy through life’s struggles, we have to cooperate with Him and do what He asks of us. And, we have to take Him at His Word. Isn’t this what Romans 8:28 promises? It’s His guarantee that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to His purpose.” He is always at work to transform us into His likeness–and that means greater joy!