I can feel small. Narrow and dark.
Some days I wish I was just done. Done with sin. Finished. Completed. Perfect.
I have this deep desire to be perfect and ...to be perfect yesterday, please.
But, alas, that is not how God works, I know. He is the author... writing our faith. He is the perfecter---the finisher--- of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2) He is the one who is bringing it into completion. (Philippians 1:6)
This truth jumped off the page and settled into my heart last week as I read in Exodus 23. He reminds His people that He is indeed leading them and will bring them to the land. He tells them that He, Himself, will destroy all enemies---all those that will cause them harm. But, ... BUT... He tells them,
"But, I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land will become desolate and the wild animals are too numerous for you. Little by little, I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land."Little by little, I will drive them out...
All these enemies of my soul... the sin, the pain and wounds, the flesh, the temptations, the devil... He is driving them out, to be sure! And, He will complete His work. But... little by little.
I have always seen this truth play out in my life. The "distrust and unbelief" issue in my life that He has been driving out. Little by little. Do you trust me now? Stephanie, now, do you believe me?
Yes, Lord, I believe!!
Good, He says, that was the 'Amorites' of distrust. Now let's get to work on the 'Hittites' of unbelief... and next year we will grapple with the Jebusites. "I will be an enemy to your enemies. I will wipe them all out completely!" (v. 20, 23)
He doesn't wipe our "land" clean all at once... because, well--- maybe... just maybe we can't handle it. We simply aren't ready to be that free! I don't know. "The wild animals are too numerous for you." He knows. He promises to keep working. He keeps watching and helping.
Until you have increased enough to take possession of the land... He whispers.
He IS increasing us.
Augustine of Hippo once said, "Narrow is the mansion of my soul, enlarge it, Lord..."
He knows what I can handle. He knows that the world and the devil prowl around like a lion looking to devour and steal; wild animals looking to pounce on my soul.
Don't be dismayed or discouraged. God will take the land! He is completing His work in me. He does win in the end... and always, always, always I walk through it all with Him. Led by Him.
Narrow is my heart, please enlarge it, Lord! Increase my soul... increase me and take full possession, Holy Spirit. Have Your way, little by little, in my mind and heart and soul!
Not perfect yesterday. Not tomorrow, either. But, by His grace, I am getting larger every day!