It’s interesting that we often talk about God as our loving Father, but we fail to mention that He’s also our counselor and coach. In other words, as much as He delights in having a relationship with us right where we are, He also refines us through difficulties and struggles so that we become stronger. When I was growing up, my Dad would encourage me to keep going when the going got tough. He taught me to swim and surf when I was afraid of the water, and he didn’t let me give up on baseball even though I hated it for three years. He also made sure I kept up with piano lessons and martial arts classes in spite of desperately wanting to quit. Interestingly, as much as I resented those things at the time, today, I’m grateful that I can sit down and play the piano, and I’m blessed to know how to surf and defend myself. You see, somehow, all of the stretching that I resisted ended up reaping rewards in my life, and by remaining committed, my soul grew stronger and I was empowered to take on even tougher challenges as an adult. Likewise, I think the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives is not only that of affirmation, but of acceleration, which ultimately leads to transformation. In other words, He uses the things that test and try us to move us forward, strengthen our spirits, and transform us from the inside so we look and act more like Him.
My friend, this time in history is trying, but God is using it to fortify your spirit and transform you into the likeness of Jesus. When you get up each day resolved to keep your feet firmly planted in faith and your eyes fixed on the unchanging presence of your Savior, He faithfully builds His unshakable Kingdom in you through difficulty and pain. You can lean into the power of His Spirit knowing that He is fully affirming your acceptance in Him while also accelerating your spiritual growth and transforming you into His image with ever increasing glory. Like a coach, your Heavenly Father is spurring you on to love, good deeds, right thoughts, and just actions, all of which reflect His nature to a watching and waiting world.