The Process: He's All About it.
“What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.”
In some circles, we hear a lot about “the process.” They say, “God’s all about the process,” and “God’s much more concerned with forming the life of Christ in us in any season than bringing us to a particular destination itself.” They exhort, “Embrace the process!” I believe these statements with all my heart, I remind myself of them, and throw out encouragements like these in many a conversation over coffee.
But in all honesty, sometimes the seemingly prolonged process God is working in and through our lives is frustrating and sometimes annoying. That’s exactly the attitude I found myself reveling in when this little reminder came my way.
It began with good ole’ Oswald’s words on July 28th, in My Utmost For His Highest (As a side note, I’d argue that God’s process and His purpose in the mundane are two of his anthems, his life messages. I’d read this entry a few times before, almost everything is underlined, and I’m sure much of what I believe about this topic was influenced by the writings of Oswald Chambers). With all that being said, because I believe this truth so wholeheartedly, the fact that this reminder was coming my way again, in the midst of a long, drawn-out season of foggy and unclear next steps, was just sort of…. annoying.
“It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.”
“What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.”
I didn’t even really want to receive this truth. I wanted to shrug off the invitation to enjoy God’s process. I tried to close the book and move on with my day in an absolutely self-justified state of mild frustration.
But God wouldn’t have any of it. That’s when He dropped the beginning of Matthew 11 into thoughts (I always know God’s talking to me when He interrupts me).
At the start of this chapter, John the Baptist, the man called by God and prophesied about throughout the Old Testament, is in prison with a death sentence. He obeyed, walked in His destiny, and did God’s will… and it landed him in prison. Naturally he questions Jesus. He sends his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you really who you said you are? Are you really the One we’ve waited for all this time? Because it’s not working out so well for me…” (my paraphrase).
Jesus responds with what I believe is a kind, gentle correction and answer to John’s question. He affirms that He's everything that was promised and His mission is still unfolding right on time. Then He says it: the hard, beautiful, kind and bone-chillingly challenging words of a good friend:
“Blessed is the one who does not fall away on account of me.” Matthew 11:6 NIV
“Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” Mathew 11:6 ESV
Right here, this is where Jesus brought this statement close to home; right where I’d settled down in my frustration-laced attitude.
It was as if He was saying to me,
“My will is being accomplished right on time, according to plan. Kaylee, you’re blessed when you don’t fall away on account of me & you’re blessed when you don’t slip into faithless-living and lifeless religion on account of my process. ”
That’s it. That’s the challenge of any disciple in the midst of a season you wish ended yesterday. We’re blessed when we don’t slip into a slumber or faithless apathy on account of His ordained process. Learning that God works by process isn’t a one-time lesson, rather it’s the only way He works. Therefore it’s to our advantage to find joy in the process and give God a yielded, soft-lump-of-clay-kind-of-heart. That is when He can freely work His purpose, the firsthand knowledge of His character, and His will in our deep, deep parts. And when we embrace this process in faith, it becomes much easier to enjoy His presence along the way.
“His purpose is the process itself.”
Be encouraged. If you’re in process, you’re right where you ought to be. Remember? When in doubt: love and be faithful. When we jump headfirst into His process, our focus is removed from needless worry and anxiety about the future that we have no power to secure on our own. Then our attention is freed to recognize the opportunity to do good and love God that stands before us in today.
“Blessed are those whose strength in in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion.” Psalm 84:5-7
We’re getting there, friends, we’re getting there.