It was good to put yesterday to bed. Some days are like that. They begin with such promise. But wind picks up, clouds move in quickly and before lunch, it's pouring. Full-on pouring. Thunder and lightning and all that promise is at the bottom of the street flooding onto Lakeway (the busy 4-lane city street at the bottom of our hill).
But I also know that such days serve a purpose. This morning as I was just minding mine (and apparently the Lord's) business in prayer, I suddenly thought of that young man who went canyon diving by himself a few years ago and got one of his hands caught under a massive boulder. He stood there for a couple of days watching working through the problem while his hand began to putrefy. Finally, long past his water, his strength and almost to the end of his life, he cut off his own hand. Then made his way down the the extremely narrow canyon, out to the edge of a cliff, belayed down with one arm, drank some pretty gnarly water, and was finally rescued, his one arm badly bleeding.
I'm sure I'm oversimplifying this very compelling, very complex story. But what whispered to my soul this morning as I prayed is that sometimes very hard days--with very difficult things in them--are God's ways of helping me lose my life to save it. Or to lose what I think my life should be--in my own puny brain--for what He knows it is meant to be. It's easy to look at difficult interactions and eschew them, blame the enemy for them. But we are meant to be pure. And maybe it's His great love for us that that is in the middle of such hard days because He's always about making us more like Him. And He'll cut off a limb if that limb is poisoning us. He tells us, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it but whoever loses their life for my sake will save it. What good is it for you to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit your very soul?" (Luke 9: 23-25a)
I felt a little lighter when I climbed beneath the covers last night. It had been a hard day. But it was worth it. Yes, even that soon, I knew it. To become more like Him...I take such a day. Because that, after all, is what it's really all about.