Beauty in the Process | Emily Pandhi
BEAUTY in the PROCESS
BY EMILY PANDHI
Though this is just the beginning of a new year, God is already strengthening His army. In this process of refining our faith, we are faced with an influx of new challenges and spiritual hardships. In all honesty, it is not the easiest or most pleasurable season to be in, especially when no immediate results are seen from the struggles. However, as one dry season is replaced by another, God’s hand never ceases to be at work. At many times throughout this year, I have found myself surrounded by what I view as problems: overwhelming obligations, the stress of school, and a recurring feeling of weakness to continue pressing on in my relationship with the Lord. Yet, in the face of many trials and tribulations, God is revealing that my “problems” are a provision needed to strengthen and discipline my faith. In the midst of the valleys and deserts, growth is still possible; in fact, sometimes it is because of these things that we truly learn how to depend on Him.
For God, my dryness is a platform to direct me to the fountain of living water. My breakdowns are an avenue to discover that He is the one I can fall on when hitting rock bottom. My sin is an opportunity for God to remind me of his relentless grace and faithfulness. I am thankful that our God is not one to merely get us through the struggle without letting us get something from it along the way. All of the battles we fight have already been won by our Savior, so now all we have to do is live with that confidence in Christ. God never promised that is would be easy or convenient to endure through each day or stand up for His name in the face of persecution. What He did promise though is that we would have many afflictions and that He would deliver us from them all. In teaching me how to fight for my faith in applicable ways, God allows uncomfortable seasons to come so that I truly seek my strength and satisfaction in Him alone.
Yet another battleground I have found myself on is one in which I must fight with my mind. The mental war that forces me to constantly and intently fight against depression and loneliness is a tiring journey. Recently, I have had to endure through these feelings on a regular basis and find myself prone to gradually losing hope for a more joyful season. On top of this, I have come to the realization that depression and loneliness have side effects as well: vulnerability to Satan’s lies. Time after time, thought after thought, Satan attempts to interweave lies to contaminate my mind and explain why I am suffering internally, and they almost always lead back to me not being good enough. Satan is the author of lies, but God remains the author and finisher of my faith. So, when my thoughts try to tell me anything that does not align with Scripture, I must choose to filter it out and respond to Satan’s lies. I coerce myself to make a proclamation (no matter how difficult it is for my heart to actually believe). “That’s not my Father in heaven says about me.” I remind myself that if my Father has all authority and the demons flee in His name, then I need to take His word, not Satan’s.
Even though repeating this exercise every time a lie seeps in is beneficial, I still encounter days where my world seems to be caving in and I hit rock bottom. When darkness seems to be closing in on me, I know I’m being presented with the chance to see God as one who does not just meet my spiritual needs, but also my practical needs. That being said, deep healing is rarely the result of one night or informing God that you are giving up, secretly hoping that that will provoke Him to change your surrounding and internal circumstances. And while praying is an integral part of breaking the chains composed of lies and hopelessness, ultimately, like everything else in our faith, breaking those chains is a process. It is not a process that I have the reigns of, but rather one that compels me to instead pray that God would open up my eyes to the beauty in the process.