I have walked with many people through the valley of doubt and fear and joined them in their struggle with painful and perplexing questions. More than once we have failed to resolve the key questions of “why me?” and “why now?” Yet, in our quest for resolutions we have uncovered other truths of great value. Like the man who sold everything he owned to purchase a priceless pearl, sometimes the things we originally sought seemed ultimately less important in light of greater lessons unearthed on the journey.
The process of debate not only helps uncover unexpected truths, but also exposes impure motives and hidden sin. The writer of Hebrews tells us God uses our trials as a form of discipline: “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:10-11).
The sin that has lodged itself in the inner recesses of my heart is not easily extracted. It is meshed in a web of rationalization and self-justification. Trials tear away at the web, and while I may never win a single argument with God, He leads me to victory over myself.
Therefore, contending teaches me. It is a primary means of godly instruction yielding eternal fruit. And while I would prefer an easier course of education, I know my stubborn heart must be challenged if change is to occur.
What has God taught you in the process of contending? Why does a stubborn heart keep us from learning what He wants to teach us?
Dear God, break my heart of stone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.