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Sitting in the Hot Seat

09 Jul Spiritual Formation | Comments Off on Sitting in the Hot Seat
Sitting in the Hot Seat
 

In The Hot Seat

It was the middle of the afternoon and the thermometer read 99 degrees, and for some weird reason I felt challenged to take on the heat. As I began to collect my gear to go on a bicycle ride, I felt my excitement begin to rise. After a 10 mile bike ride to my daughter’s house, I could reward myself with a swim in her pool.

I could tell my wife thought this was a bad idea, but she didn’t try to talk me out of it. Instead, she masked her concern with a not so subtle “You’re really stupid” look. Needless to say, within the first two miles I began to think that maybe I really was stupid. When my course turned west, directly into the wind, it felt like the Santa Ana winds were searing my body. The weather reports were true, it really was hot!

To rationalize that I wasn’t stupid I quickly reasoned with myself: “10 miles is shorter than my normal rides”, “I can ride at a moderate pace”, “I can rest anytime I want to, and if things get really bad I can call Karen and she’ll come rescue me.”

At least I was fairly certain she’d come for me. Even in the intense heat I felt in control. I wanted to challenge myself and I knew I could regulate how hard the challenge would become. If it got too uncomfortable I could stop.

In search of comfort and control

We like to be in control don’t we?

Sure a challenge or some pain is ok, as long as we can control the intensity and duration of the pain. I’ve been around long enough to know that God doesn’t work that way. When we’re in one of life’s storms we can cry uncle or tap out but God usually doesn’t remove the pressure at that time. It’s not because He’s a mean God. It’s because He’s looking out for us.

James reminds us that when he writes:

“When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” (James 1:3-4)

When you find yourself in one of those uncomfortable trials today or in the future, whether it’s something you’ve brought on yourself or something that God’s allowed into your path, remember a few important tips:

  1. Don’t ever give up. You’ll miss the benefit if you do.
  2. Talk to God about your pain, He’s right there with you in it and He genuinely cares.
  3. Talk to your trusted friends or mentors, they care too but they can’t encourage you if they don’t know.
  4. Pause to notice how God is working on your behalf. It may not be immediately obvious, but God is cheering for you.
  5. Remind yourself that this trial will make you a stronger warrior for The Kingdom.

Sure, I could have stayed in the comfort of the air conditioning today, but because I didn’t, tomorrow when I get on my bike I’m going to be stronger and faster than I was today. Likewise, for the sake of The Kingdom, endure the trial, grow from it, and then run to the battle as a stronger warrior. God knows we need you.

Jerry Higley
Executive Director at Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ
Jerry Higley is the Executive Director of Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ and an adjunct faculty member at LBC teaching Student Ministry courses at both the undergrad and graduate level. When he's not at work, he loves spending time outdoors hunting and fishing with his grandkids.