Imperfection is an opportunity

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:3-5)

Jean de la Bruyere reminds us, "Out of difficulties grow miracles." What miracle are you waiting on? It could just be that at the end of these present troubles, a miracle will have begun. I want to say that life without trials or problems is never going to produce anything that really matters. Why? They are the foundation for the development of our character. A life without solidly grounded character isn't really all that fulfilling - in fact, it can be downright disappointing. Trials or problems emerge, not to confound us and weaken us, but to really help us understand where we turn when we need help. Do we turn to our own strengths and abilities, or do we turn our focus toward God and allow him to bring things into focus for us? Too many times, I did the former, but nothing good came from those problems until I turned them over to God. I needed to get my eyes off of the problem (me) and get them on God. Why did I infer the problem was me? In all honesty, I was the one getting myself into those binds, so when you looked at the root of all of those problems, you'd see my pride, stubbornness, or fear.

Those problems didn't defeat me, though. They shouldn't defeat you, either. Why? They are allowed because there is something within our character that needs a little work. Some mental or moral quality just isn't up to par in our lives, so God uses whatever it takes to expose what needs to change. Some call these qualities our 'temperament' - the sum of all the good and bad stuff that make us act the way we do. I have some pretty good strengths, such as being organized, a planner, and thorough in my work. I have some not so 'perfect' stuff in my character make-up, as well. When you add that I can be demanding, too harsh in my answers, and a bit too judgmental of others, the good doesn't always outweigh the 'imperfect' side of my character. I needed God to show me what 'parts' of my temperament needed his attention, so the good parts could flourish. We all have those good and bad parts - but without God's help in identifying them, we just flounder around in a muddle of problems wondering why there is no end to it all. When some of those areas of my character began to change, it was indeed a miracle in the making!

When the Holy Spirit fills our lives with God's love, there is a revelation of those things within each of us that don't exactly 'line up' with that love or his grace. Those are areas we might not want to focus on all that much, because they are 'problematic'. God isn't content to just 'push them to the back' in our hearts but wants to bring them forward so he can help us recognize when those things are leading our heart and not him. Pride keeps us from admitting we have those areas of 'opportunity' in our lives. The first thing God may deal with is that overarching issue of pride, but if we think he deals with it once and it is gone, we have another thing coming. Pride is at the root of a good many of our 'not so perfect' character traits. It will be dealt with time after time, until one day it is no longer leading our actions. We might not see the miracle instantaneously, but when God sets to work bringing forth the good, it will happen. Just sayin!

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