Do you spend time wondering what God thinks of you?
These days, churches, pastors and self-help gurus tell you that God loves you, loves you in spite of all your ugly sins, accepts you just the way you are, accepts your awkward crayon drawings and slaps them proudly on his refrigerator in the sky. You are his daughter, and that makes you a princess.
And that’s all true.
But if that’s all true, then why does God allow pain in your life?
The end of Peter’s first epistle is full of instructions to his readers of how to cope with burning trials – the fire of persecution. These trials are there to refine them, to improve them. The fiery trials are for their good. They make Christians ready for heaven. Our trials make us ready for heaven too.
My friend Jenny told me recently that we are like wrinkled shirts – we are clean, we are dried, but we are thoroughly unfit for wear. Even the most beautiful garment (or heavenly princess) is not really presentable until the wrinkles are gone.
Is God ironing out your wrinkles? Does it hurt? How do you think your shirt feels, under the heat? Can it see what lovely improvements you’re making to it? The flat placket and the immaculate creases? Just think – the shirt will never get a chance to see itself from a distance. It has no sense of perspective on its own fiery torture.
Worse yet, all the pain it’s undergoing is only to serve as an adornment on another. The shirt doesn’t get to walk around the town square alone, showing itself off. Its only job is to make you look good!
And then, when it’s dirty, it has to go through the whole process, all over again. And again. And again. Hot irons and sizzling cotton. Ouch!
Do you ever feel like that shirt, under God’s hot iron?
You are a heavenly princess. But God has plans for you. You have princess training to go through. And it’s gonna hurt sometimes.