When it comes to forgiveness it’s often the little offenses that cause the greatest frustration. The ones that happen frequently can create a mountain of bitterness.
Many times I prayed for God to remove the issue, but He was more interested in completing the work He began in me. His purpose was that I become mature, not lacking anything.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).
As bitter as I once was, the grace of God has allowed multiple opportunities for me to learn how to forgive. I’m not saying that the things I was angry about were trivial or unjust or that God causes adversity so He can teach us a lesson. I will, however, say this:
God is more interested in our personal growth than our personal comfort.
One way to recognize that God is trying to work on forgiveness in us is when we repeatedly go through the same issues over and over.
Does your issue seem like it’s revolving on a merry-go-round? Is there something God has asked you to do that you’ve refused? If you’ve already “been here, done that” at least once before, chances are that your repeated issue is another chance prepared by God for you to get it right.
The Purpose of a Crisis
In the Chinese language, the word crisis is comprised of two symbols that define its meaning. One symbol means chaos or potential danger and the other means hidden opportunity. A crisis is all about perspective. We choose which perspective to embrace; we choose which direction to take. A crisis is like a fork in the road of life that can lead to a turning point if we choose the right path. The destructive path leads to death; the path of hidden opportunity leads to life.
In the English language, a crisis is defined as “a turning point, a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined.”13 Often our crisis is a dramatic emotional and circumstantial upheaval; but through our crisis, God wants to birth something. In the medical field, a health crisis is the point in the course of a serious disease at which a decisive change occurs, leading either to recovery or to death. Similarly, at some point in our crisis, we choose either recovery or despair. When we get to the end of our rope, we need to let go of the rope and grab onto hope.
Kim Clement, teacher and songwriter, explained it like this:
Within every crisis is a hidden opportunity. The word for crisis is the same word used to describe a birthing stool, the seat on which Jewish women sat as they gave birth. So during a crisis, you are giving birth. Out of this pain, you are going to bring forth something great, and it will come from within you. Instead of trying to lay blame, remember that God has given you a promise.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What issues in my life seem to be on repeat?
- What do I think God is trying to accomplish in my life through this difficulty?
- How can victory in this area make me stronger?