Pruned by God Is Painful!
As parents, we’re always on the ‘look’ for teaching moments. As Christians, our first goal is for our personal lives to back up what we say we believe so the ‘teaching’ moments with our kids are respected.
I can say on the first point I have royally failed… Again.
This week is also “Epiphany week” in the Christian calendar. The ancient tradition of celebrating the ‘wise’ men who followed the star of Bethlehem. A time for seeking out and intentionally asking God to reveal Himself to us in new ways.
Man oh man, did He ever ‘reveal’.
I got a fire-hydrant dose of self-realization-correction-humiliation– this week. My character flaws starkly “revealed’ in the pure revealing light of an “Epiphany”, my individual inspection of the soul.
The bible describes ‘pruning’ as an unavoidable process God requires for spiritual growth. As believers, we get that concept mentally… but the painful truth is harder to accept. For us to grow straighter – deeper – stronger, God has to remove the old, dead and dangerous parts of us that can no longer be allowed to entangle our lives.
My Epiphany for 2015 was like being hit with spiritual napalm. A powerful pruning moment that I had actually asked for. BUT didn’t really want.
Not since my conversion experience in 2002 have I felt such a life-correcting intervention of the Holy Spirit.
Sounds great… but in reality, the power of an Epiphany can be a ‘bone breaking – soul stretching – painfully real and unavoidably ‘my’ issue to deal with‘… kind of experience! Not fun. Not easy.
It felt like soul surgery – as if an extremely sharp scalpel had cut out a hunk and left a painful scar in the ‘old’ me. Not pleasant, but according to John 15 absolutely essential for my growth.
A parenting / life-Epiphany can be an amazing and (in my case) overwhelming moment! Its clarity so strong it can push us one way or the other inside. Once confronted with truth, we can either flare up in pride and self-righteousness or admit our error and move forward on our knees, in humility, broken. Living in-between one or the other response is not an option with God. We’re either willing to stay with Him or we flee.
For the parents who know they are blowing it. Folks like me… let’s decide in 2015 we’re going to learn how to ‘abide”. Learn how to cling close to our savior, transparent and real, honest to the painful truth’s revealed – unwilling to run away.
I’m learning to lead from a place of perpetual brokenness… aware of my ever and absolute dependence on God’s grace to be a part of this parenting adventure at all.
And… as God reveals and removes the gunk in our lives…let’s be sure we walk those things (issues) out with our families.
That means we determine to live different. It means were willing to be accountable, willing to break the painful patterns in our lives.
As a father, as a disciple of Christ… my epiphany forces me to reassess if I’m going to remain willing to make adjustments in how I live.
Will I defend my place or ‘right’ to be ‘right or will I respond in humility, admitting my failure and choosing to ‘listen more’ and pontificate less. Choosing to remain in the painful place, living self-aware… patient in the pain of God’s loving ‘pruning’ work.
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