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Boot Camp Hell
11 August 2013
Emmaus Way in Israel, led by Arni and Yonit Klein. Yesterday I received their latest newsletter, in which they shared some of the very difficult trials they and their ministry colleagues have been going through. And once again the words they wrote really connected with things I have been going through myself:
In both situations the unavoidable questions loom in search of an answer: "God, what are you doing? Why did you allow this?" Or even more pointedly, "Why have you brought this on me?" I think that the need of an answer from the Lord can strike even deeper than the trauma on the natural level.After reading this, I felt stirred in my heart to write back to them and share some of the insights I have been gaining this year, which have been very helpful to me. Perhaps they will be helpful to you as well.
In my own life and situations, I have pondered these questions long and deep. As I have been training my children lately, I feel that I have gain some clarity and peace about them.
My two oldest children turned 19 and 18 at the beginning of the year. In the Spring, I decided to implement some changes which would help them achieve the goal of becoming independent, responsible, self-supporting adults as soon as possible.
The main change I made was that, aside from housing, food and insurance, they would have to pay all the rest of their monthly living expenses themselves. I had come to realize that there is no real responsibility without financial responsibility. The one who pays is ultimately the one who is responsible.
My kids asked, "Papa, you're not throwing us in the deep end, are you?"
I replied, "Yes, I am. And it's not because I don't love you, but because I DO love you."
I went on to explain that when you join the army, the boot-camp sergeant in charge of your training makes life hell for you. But it's nothing personal. He's not doing it because he has something against you, or doesn't like you, or is just being mean.
No, the sergeant knows that real war is a horrible hell, and his job is to prepare you to face it, so you won't have a breakdown or become dysfunctional. He has to make boot camp hell in order to prepare you for what's coming, because that's even worse.
I'm doing a similar thing with my kids. Being a self-supporting young adult in this modern world is very difficult. So I'm making things harder for them now, while they are still living at home and I can supervise their progress, so that when the time comes for them to be on their own, they won't have a breakdown or become dysfunctional.
I know the inner character and outer skills that they will need, and I can easily see that they are not there yet. So with the goal always in mind, I arrange their life conditions in order to help them arrive at that goal in the straightest line possible, in the shortest time frame possible. Even if it makes life difficult for them, and even if they think I'm being harsh or mean.
All that to say: I believe that God is doing the same thing with me. I think that conditions and situations are coming in the future which will be very difficult. And there is no way I can escape going through them, because it won't be just me who is affected, but entire countries, regions and even the whole world. Just like World War II — if you were living in Europe, you were in it, whether you wanted to be or not. I think that what is coming will make WWII look like a mere dress rehearsal.
Because God knows about the hard times that are coming upon the earth, and He knows that I will not be able to escape them, and He knows that I am not at all ready to face those hard times without sinking under the waves, I think He is bringing / allowing all sorts of hard times — going through boot camp hell — in order to prepare me and make me able to stand.
Such action on God's part shows that He actually loves me very much, despite the fact that I often feel like He doesn't care, or that He's abandoned me or forgotten about me.
Goldie Hawn's classic film Private Benjamin, we protest very loudly to God, "This is NOT what I signed up for! There's been some sort of huge mistake here! I'm in the WRONG army! This is NOT what was advertised!"
During the Spring when I was pondering the changes I would make in my teens' lives in order to put them in "boot camp for adulthood," my thoughts were drawn to the familiar passage in Hebrews 12 which talks about children being trained. When I read it in The Message version, verses 4-13 really came alive in my heart as a Spirit-breathed "now" word from God for myself and my family. It could be that it is also a "now" word for the wider Body of Yeshua as well.
Having these analogies with my kids and with the army really helps me, because I can see that there is legitimate and vital purpose behind what God is doing in my life. He absolutely knows what's ahead for me, and He wants me to be strong enough to make it.
So, in one word, what I believe God is doing in my life, and what I believe he is doing in the lives of many of His children, is PREPARATION for what's coming, because He knows we're not yet ready for what will be coming upon the earth.
This realization brings peace and comfort and understanding to my inner person, and an acceptance of what He is doing in my life, even though it is often still very painful and difficult. As a father, I can understand the need and the process, and God is an infinitely better Father than I am. Just to realize that everything is specific preparation and not just arbitrary suffering makes it a lot easier to bear for me.
This article is 22nd a series of articles on this Web site related to My Journey with Yeshua (Jesus) which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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