“The Process”

Do you ever just dread “the process”? We live in a results oriented culture…We want results and we want them now! Don’t we? …I know I do!

And so what exactly is “the process”?

“The process” I am talking about can be defined as “the systematic series of actions, steps, or stages directed to some end result.”

“The process” can have varying time frames…

“The process” can be short but more likely too long in our eyes…

“The process” can be something we choose or not choose…

“The process” can make us feel weary and tired and even discouraged…

“The process” can make us doubt ourselves…and even God.

Life is full of “the process” and it certainly can be challenging!

Whether we want a project finished like remodeling our home…whether we want a particular season in our life to end like changing diapers! …whether we want just a daily task completed like cleaning our house with 2 active little boys! (Yes…that would be me!)…

We must go through “the process.”

And then there are those instances in life…where ‘the process” is more than just challenging…

“The process” is flat out hard and heartbreaking…like wanting a difficult circumstance in our life to change or improve ie. our finances, health, or relationships…

And yet again…we must go through “the process.”

Are you currently facing “the process” somewhere in your life?

Whether we have control over “the process” or not…we are usually looking, waiting, praying, believing or working toward a positive end result.

We may not celebrate “the process”…we may not embrace “the process”…we may not enjoy “the process”…but that’s not always a negative thing.

Whether we like it or not…“the process” is clearly in the backdrop of many end results.

We tend to look forward to the end…the final result…the ultimate goal…the finish line…

And not so much “the process” that we must go through to reach that final outcome…whatever it may be.

And so with our focus on the end…oftentimes…we tend to miss the value in “the process.”

It is in “the process” that we find “the purpose” ….God’s purpose.

We serve the God of “the process” the one who created and uses “the process” not only for our purpose of an end result…or a completed goal…but for His purpose…and His glory!

God knows the value of “the process” …so much so that the Bible depicts “the process” in the lives of many individuals demonstrating that our God is the God of “the process” and “the process” has a purpose.

Abraham, Joseph, and David are just a few who went through “the process.”

Abraham went through “the process” when he was promised by God that he would be the father of many nations but he and his wife Sarah were so old that having children seemed impossible. “The process” took 25 years from the moment God made this promise to Abraham to the moment he actually had a son named Isaac. (Abraham’s Story Genesis 12:1-25:18)

It was in “the process” that God grew and deepened Abraham’s faith.

Is God growing and deepening your faith in Him in “the process” you are facing?

Joseph went through “the process” that began when he had a dream at a young age that he would rule over his brothers. But before that dream came true, he was…beaten by his jealous brothers…thrown into a pit… sold into slavery…accused of rape…put in prison. “The process” took over 22 years when Joseph’s dream eventually came true! And guess what? (Joseph’s Story Genesis 37:1-50:26)

It was in “the process” that God built Joseph’s character…the character that was necessary to accomplish the greater purpose God had for Joseph…and the purpose that went way beyond Joseph and his family!

Is God building your character in “the process” you are facing?

David went through “the process” of being known as just a young shepherd boy…and not old enough or big enough physically to fight in the military.

However, David learned and developed the skill of using his sling shot to kill lions and bears to protect his sheep. And so “the process” brought him…at the very young age of approximately 15years old…face to face with the giant Philistine Goliath who he overcame and killed with just one sling…one stone…and one try! (David’s Story 1 Samuel 16:1-31:13 and 2 Samuel)

It was in “the process” that God developed this young shepherd boy’s skill and abilities to face and kill the giant Goliath and this feat was just the beginning for the greater purpose that God had for David…ultimately as a king!

Is God building your skills or abilities in “the process” you are facing?

In the lives of Abraham, Joseph, and David, God had a purpose in “the process” …whether they knew it or not!

And so it is for us! God has a purpose in “the process” we too are facing!

For us… life as a Christian is full of ‘the process” as we face the challenges and difficulties that come our way…

But ultimately “the process” of becoming more and more like Christ…perfect Christ-likeness…should be our end goal…even though it will not come until the end of time.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6 NLT

God doesn’t work in spite of “the process”. He works through “the process”!

He works in us and on us and even out of us so that He can work through us!

God will use “the process” to show you what He has put in you so He can use you for His greater purpose… because you just might not know what you got!

God will use “the process” to work on you to build your faith, character, abilities, and certain qualities in your life to have greater trust in Him and make you more Christ-like…because you won’t be able to grow and be strengthened in these areas otherwise!

God will use “the process” to show you what He wants out of you so you can then move forward to accomplish His plans and purposes…because God knows what’s holding you back…even if you don’t!

What is God working in you…on you…or even out of you…in “the process” so He can work through you…to make you stronger and more Christ-like?

There is purpose in “the process” and God will use “the process” for His purpose! Just as He did in the lives of Abraham, Joseph, David and many more!

Viewing “the process” through God’s eyes will hopefully help us and encourage us that we can get through “the process”…no matter how long…no matter how difficult…no matter how painful…no matter how tired we may be.

Viewing “the process” through God’s eyes will help us see the value in “the process” as God strengthens us in areas so He can ultimately accomplish His purpose through us!

Reflection Points:

  1. Are you currently facing “the process” somewhere in your life?
  2. Are you so focused on the final result that you are missing the value in “the process”?
  3. Can you see the purpose in “the process”?
  4. What is God working in you…on you…or out of you…in “the process” to make you stronger and make you more Christ-like?

Actions Points:

  1. If you are facing “the process” somewhere in your life right now, it is important…no matter how hard it is…to remember that God loves you and cares for you and has a plan for your life. (Jeremiah 29:11)
  2. Remind yourself that Gods thoughts are higher than your thoughts and His ways are greater than your ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9) We may not always understand why we may be going through what we are going through but know that God has a purpose for taking you through “the process”.
  3. If you aren’t sure what God is working in you…on you…or out of you…pray and seek Him. Pray and ask Him to show you any areas in your life that are not pleasing to Him or any sin that may be holding you back from moving forward in accomplishing His purpose in your life. (Psalm 139:23-24)

Doubters to Doers!

We all experience doubt in our lives. When was the last time you doubted something…someone…or even yourself?

Doubt can creep in right after we make decisions…Did I make the right decision?

Doubt can creep in when we are trying to accomplish a job or task… Am I good enough? …or Do I have the ability to do this?

Doubt can creep in when we face struggles in life…Am I going to get through this?

We may doubt people, things, our abilities and even circumstances in our lives…

But how about God? Do you ever doubt or question God?

Doubt can creep in when our prayers aren’t answered right away…Does God hear me? …or Why hasn’t God answered me?

Doubt can creep in when we face what may appear to us as hopeless situations…Can God really help me? …Or Will God help me?

Doubt can creep in when we see bad things happen in our world…Why would God let this happen?

The word doubt is defined in the dictionary as “being uncertain about or lacking belief; distrust or questioning; lacking confidence; fear.

Even as Christians we can struggle with doubt. For some reason, we think that as Christians, we shouldn’t ever have doubt or that it is wrong or sinful to doubt…especially doubting God! We may have even learned that doubt is the opposite of faith and therefore, if we doubt…we have no faith.

And I can certainly see why we may think that way! After all the bible defines faith in Hebrews 11:1 as “being certain of what we cannot see”…and we just defined doubt as “being uncertain.” But check this out!

I love this statement made by Christian Theologian Paul Tillich…

“Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.”

This is such a profound and eye-opening statement! It is stating that doubt is an element of…a component of…a part of…having faith!

Have you ever thought that? This is so significant because it shifts our perspective about doubt. And even biblically, we can see the truth in this statement.

God used many people in the Bible to accomplish great things…and guess what? They started out as real doubters!

There are many examples in the bible of individuals who experienced doubt…doubts in their abilities…doubts in their circumstances…and even doubts in God! Yet God not only chose to use them but accomplished great things through them…and through their doubts!

Abraham expressed doubt when he was told he would be a father in old age. (Genesis 17:17)

Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought. “And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?” Genesis 17:17 NLT

Sarah expressed doubt when she heard she would be a mother in old age. (Genesis 18:12)

So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master–my husband–is also so old?” Genesis 18:12 NLT

Moses expressed doubt when he was told to return to Egypt to lead the people. (Exodus 3:10-15)

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:10 NIV

Gideon expressed doubt when told he would be a judge and a leader. (Judges 6:14-23)

“But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” Judges 6:15 NLT

Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the LORD speaking to me. Judges 6:17 NLT

Job expressed doubt when he questioned God’s justice. (Job 7:11-21)

If I have sinned, what have I done to you, you who see everything we do? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you? Why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins? For I will soon lie down in the dust; you will search for me, but I will be no more.” Job 7:20-21 NIV

Zechariah expressed doubt when told he would be a father in old age. (Luke 1:18)

Zachariah said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” Luke 1:18 NASB

Peter expressed doubt when he questioned the Lord’s reliability and power to sustain him from drowning. (Matthew 14:30-31)

But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” Matthew 14:30-31 NLT

Thomas…and how could we forget Thomas! …The one even referred to as “Doubting” Thomas! He expressed doubt when told Jesus has risen from the dead. (John 20:24, 25)

So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he [Thomas] said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” John 20:24 NIV

All these individuals clearly expressed doubt…whether it was doubt in their abilities…doubt in their circumstances…or doubt in God and His promises. So what was God’s response to them?

God showed patience! God showed love and compassion! God showed faithfulness! And God used each of these doubters to accomplish great things…and used their doubt to grow their faith!

Abraham and Sarah became the father and mother of many nations and were blessed with descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky.

Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and even though he didn’t actually enter the Promised Land himself…the Israelites eventually did!

Gideon conquered a powerful army of several hundred thousand Midianites…with only 300 men!

Job was blessed by God in the latter part of his life by having his fortunes restored and receiving double portion.

Zechariah became the father of John the Baptist…who baptized many including Jesus!

Peter was one of the 3 closest disciples of Jesus and considered a model for Christians to follow. Jesus also called Peter his “rock” upon which the future church would be built.

Thomas is known to have traveled outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel, traveling as far as India. Thomas was also martyred for his faith clearly demonstrating his devotion to Jesus.

Clearly we can see how God used these doubters to accomplish great things…And in their doubts…through their doubts…These doubters became doers!

Their doubts…as an element of their faith…moved them to greater faith!

Honest doubt is not a bad starting point as long as we don’t stay there!

And trust is the bridge we must cross from being a doubter to a doer.

What doubts are holding you back today? What doubts are keeping you from doing what God is calling you to do today? How does doubt play a part in your willingness to trust God?

Doubt makes us realize that we need to depend upon God…We need to trust God.

So we come back to the question…Why is doubt an element of faith? Because it propels us to grow in our faith! Doubt moves us to trust Him more!

Trust is the bridge from being a doubter to being a doer!

So how can we cross this bridge from being a doubter to a doer?

We must TRUST…

…In His sovereignty (Deuteronomy 4:39, Deuteronomy 10:14, Psalm 104)

…In His love for us (John 3:16, Romans 5:8, Romans 8:37-39)

…In His plans for our life (Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 32:8, Psalm 118:8)

…In His justice (Deuteronomy 32:4, Zephaniah 3:5, Revelation 15:13)

…In His faithfulness (1Corinthians 1:9, 2Thessalonians 3:3, Psalm 36:5, Psalm 119:90)

And this trust can only come from a relationship with God…a relationship that is purposeful in getting to know Him better…a relationship that pushes us to depend on Him and seek His will for our lives…a relationship that involves us spending time with Him praying and studying His Word.

One of the greatest things about our God is that He can and will still use us even in the midst of our doubts just as He did with these many individuals in the Bible.

Our doubts do not limit God from accomplishing His purposes. And instead God uses our doubts to help us grow in our faith! Remember this perspective…doubt is an element of faith.

Let doubt in your life help you move from a doubter to a doer…to accomplish and become all that God has planned for you…and consequently grow in your faith and trust in Him!

Reflection Points:

  1. When was the last time you doubted something…someone…or even yourself?
  2. Do you ever doubt or question God?
  3. What doubts are holding you back from doing what God is calling you to do today?
  4. How does doubt play a part in your willingness to trust God?

Action Points:

  1. Recognize that it’s ok to have doubts…but we can’t stay there!
  2. Begin to address the reason for your doubts…especially if it’s doubting God.
  3. Trust is the bridge that you must cross. Begin building your trust in God by strengthening your relationship with Him…praying and spending time studying His word.
  4. If you doubt God, draw closer to Him and depend on Him. Find scriptures that will speak to your specific doubts and pray that the Lord helps you move through your doubt and do the things He is calling you to do and be.