And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son (molded into – Amplified Bible), that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. – Romans 8:28-29.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters. – Psalm 23:1-2.
Anita Mann had a frightening few hours early last Wednesday morning around 3:45am in Portland, Oregon. No one appears to know exactly how it happened; including Anita and her husband. Maybe she was out sleepwalking, some people do. However, it happened, Anita slid between two walls into a spot where she was squeezed, sandwiched, into only an eight inch wide area. Anita screamed and pounded on the walls with her fists until someone did hear her, and rescuers were finally able to cut into the wall and free her. Thankfully, Anita is okay with some scrapes and minor hypothermia. (OregonLive.com 01.17.13; FoxNews and many other news venues)
Once we have been born again (John 3:3) God begins the process of moving us from being baby Christians to mature Christians. The goal is for us as Christians to become like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This process of molding us into a likeness of Jesus varies from person to person. For some of us it takes a much longer time to be conformed to the image of Christ than it does for others. God takes us where we are and begins to work in our lives.
The maturing, conforming, molding of our lives by the hands of God does not always feel like a pleasant experience. However, God always wants the very best for our lives. At times the conforming may feel like we are being squeezed between two walls that are only eight inches apart like Anita Mann experienced. I can remember some times like that, but from the distance of several years I can see that it was a merciful God who kept the pressure on me bringing about the changes that I needed.
The 23rd Psalm is perhaps one of the most beloved passages in the Bible. I read it often at funerals, and during times of stress I have meditated long upon those words. However, did you catch the words just prior to that beautiful vista of green pastures. What does it say there? It says, “he makes me to lie down in green pastures.” Why does God have to make us “lie down in green pastures?” Because at times we are unable to recognize what is a green pasture and what is not. At times, we do not want to lay down in a pasture, especially when we can see all of the dangerous glitter and charm of worldly pleasures. That is why, if we are a child of God, we sometimes experience that squeeze of God’s molding hand upon our lives. It may not be exactly what we want, but have no doubt that it is the best thing for our lives. Maybe this is one of the reasons we are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
(The maturing, conforming, molding of our lives by the hands of God does not always feel like a pleasant experience. However, God always wants the very best for our lives.)