Do You Get Mad When a Spiritual Lesson You’ve Already Learned Returns Again?”
Welp, turns out that God is leading me through a season in life where I’m learning new lessons about an old struggle. Maybe “lessons” isn’t the right word. Perhaps, it’s more accurate for me to say that God is teaching me more about His character, His power, His presence and His provision, BUT He’s using an old, familiar, frustrating struggle to do it. Ugh. Can you relate?
In the past few weeks, I’ve wrestled with patience. Anyone else out there feel me on this? If you’ve done my I’m Waiting, God: Finding Blessings in God’s Delays Bible study, you’ll know I spent a decade learning how to trust God’s timing and the spiritual discipline of patience during long seasons of unanswered prayer. One of my greatest faith lessons was waiting while trusting God and not pushing my plans when I worried that God wasn’t moving fast enough. Praise God that He was patient with me. Eventually, I learned some great lessons, and I give God glory for how I’ve grown in that area.
I thought that I was good to go on patience for the rest of my life.
The last few weeks though, have proven that I’m not. It’s been uncomfortable and humbling. Here are some real thoughts that have been going through my mind lately. Warning—it’s raw and real:
“Ugh. I thought that I’d already figured this out.”
“Was God trying to teach me something that I ignored?”
“It was really hard the last time. I don’t know if I want to go through this again.”
As I wrestle with this new season of unanswered prayer, it’s been challenging not to beat myself up. Not only that, but I’ve had to choose not to believe the lie that I did something wrong or that God is punishing me.
I want to say these same things to you too. If you feel like you’re reliving spiritual lessons that you’ve already learned in the past, that doesn’t mean that you messed up or that God is punishing you by making you go through something similar again.
Satan would love nothing more than for us to discount God’s work in our lives. Let’s not give him that victory!
Instead of making assumptions, we can choose to get curious.
Here are a few “curious questions” that I’m asking myself:
1. How am I entering this new season differently (or more maturely) than the last time I went through a similar challenge?
2. Does God have something new to show me about Himself to deepen my faith and trust?
3. What blessing might God have in store for me this time if I’m faithful to Him in this new journey?
I don’t know if these questions are helpful for you, but they are for me. As a spiritual anchor for these questions, consider the Apostle Paul’s teaching to the Philippians as he sat in prison…again. Paul would be the perfect person to ask: “God, why are You letting me go through this again?” Yet, listen to his wisdom and consider how it could apply to your life today:
And I am certain that God, who began a good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. -Philippians 1:6 NLT
Aren’t you so encouraged when you read this verse? Notice how it doesn’t blame you for taking one step forward and then two steps back? This verse affirms that God is working FOR you, He is not disappointed in you!
You may be going through the same old situation, but God has new blessings, strength and peace waiting for you.
COMMENT: What area of faith or spiritual lesson are you learning in a fresh, new way these days?