“See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:10 NKJV
There is an expression which (given all that’s happening) has probably been used a lot this year; “Things have to get worse before they can get better.” For my fitness fans, you often hear, “No pain, no gain.” Both sayings are used differently, but essentially make the same point – we must endure the worst of things before we can endure the best of anything. Any “better” thing we may want for our lives comes at a cost and requires of us something God has placed inside us, something we didn’t know was there. And, often, this thing can only manifest when we have experienced the “worse” or endured immense pain.
While many (myself included) will consider this to be a very noble and spiritually sound sentiment, I’m going to venture out and say this is hardly my reality! I’d love to sit here and tell you that I’m always contemplating the “better” and how amazing the “gain” will be when all is said and done. I’d love to say, I can’t wait for my refining to be completed and I just know I’ll come out like gold! I know all this to be true, by the way. I know that God is working all things out for my good; that purpose is being birthed; that my breakthrough is on the other side of my trial. All of this is TRUE! However, even in this truth, I am still having a human experience on earth; and, I don’t know about you BUT because of that…I have questions.
Why? Why must pain be necessary to experience gain? Why should things get worse before getting better? How does that make sense, logically? And, exactly how much worse are we talking? Is there a time limit or a measure on how much worse? I know I am not the only one who’s had these questions. And, then, I think about the Bible, God’s Word – our manual for life’s…everything; and I was lead to the book of Haggai chapter 2. “Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing?” (Haggai 2:3). You see, at this time, the temple was destroyed and those who remained, after Israel was captured, were discouraged. God says, “Look at it, compared to how glorious it looked before…now it looks like nothing.” Pulled down. Thrown. Destroyed. Anyone else felt like that?
BUT then in verses 4 and 9 God says, “Yet now be strong….Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts….The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.” God is saying, “You saw it then, you see it now, but you ain’t seen nothing yet!” So, I realized: there are things that must be destroyed before they can be built; some things that must be pulled down before they can be set up; and that some things must be uprooted before other things can be planted. Only then, sister-friend, when your life looks like rubble, shattered glass, cracked ceilings and demolished walls. When there’s nothing much to look at, remember your former because your latter will be greater, and “you ain’t seen nothing yet!”