I think what’s making it difficult for me to progress through my post is that unlike my revelation about I Corinthians 13, I don’t remember having a specific moment where I quit fighting God’s discipline and accepted it as loving behavior. In trying to write about it, I’m having trouble tying it up in some neat package. I don’t have that handy dandy, I Corinthians 13-like moment to write around. The learning itself was and has been a more gradual experience with plenty of frustration and setbacks.

Honestly, while it’s frustrating my attempts to write it into a nicely tidied story, I do think that it’s a good thing. It’s life. It’s so (insert clip of huge smile spreading across my face) life. Sometimes, you bet, we stand on a mountain top and have an epiphany. We get to see a transfiguration or something equally cool and awe-inspiring. We gain a revelation that can drop like a bolt of fire from heaven and burn through our hesitancies, rebellions, and misgivings. As awesome as those moments are, they are only sometimes. Revelation can also come through the passage of seasons, through the growth of a summer, through the slow, wearing action of a stream upon a stone. It can feel like no progress at all as we stumble forward, one step in front of the other, or even take two steps forward and one step back. It can grow and ripen slowly, and that’s all right. It’s okay if life and learning take time. Not everything is, “Beam me up, Scottie!” Considering that learning to trust God about love and discipline took me a while and was a very frustrating process (and I’d be silly to claim to be done learning it now), it seems appropriate that writing a story about it would also take a while and be, at points, frustrating. In fact, it makes me smile, because here for me is another small moment of revelation and remembrance. To overcome, to finish well, life will demand something more than, “Eureka!”

I do think that revelation received more slowly and perhaps less dramatically is just as awesome as the quick and elevated types. Actually, in some ways, I like it better. It makes me smile and smile and smile some more to see God at work, slowly and methodically, in all the little things of our lives. Little things are important. Little things are what make up all the big things in our lives. Hebrews 12 starts out by saying this:

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

“Run with perseverance” – wow, doesn’t that make your heart go pitter-patter with excitement! *laughs* Maybe I’m projecting me onto you, but I would guess that it probably does not. Perseverance, the “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition” (thank you, Merriam Webster), is not something that seems to come naturally or easily. Simply trying to develop it ensures that a person will run into “difficulties, failure, [and] opposition.” The development of perseverance seems to go something like this: “EW… EW… Ew… ew… ew… oh… Oh… OH… Hey! Huh, maybe I am progressing.” Perseverance is so often about the little things that try to stop us, like blisters and aching feet and sore muscles. To acquire perseverance is to acquire the belief that practice makes perfect, that failures are actually an opportunity to learn, and that you don’t arrive all in a rush right now.

It tends to be a frustrating process. It’s also deeply rewarding. Mountaintops make me feel exultant (they show off God’s glory in a special way), and that’s good. However, perseverance is satisfying the way cold, clean water is on a hot day, and I personally like that better. It lasts longer. It enables me to live every day with the hope that I am progressing, and that the difficulties and disappointments and frustrations through which I suffer are but part of the journey I am making toward joy. Perseverance is what helps me cling to faith and love especially when they don’t make any sense to me. Perseverance moves me past this “now,” this moment in which I doubt and struggle and fail, into moments of deepened trust, joy, love, and, yes, even discipline.

So I’ve struggled to tell a good story about accepting the discipline of God coming from His love for me. Okeydoke – so be it! Apparently, writing and story telling mirror life. I shall persevere and see what God has for me in this process. He’s always up to something. This, too, can be an opportunity for growth and to learn more of Him!