What you tolerate, you’ll never change (Part 2)

In darkness we rise.

Proverbs 31:15 says: ‘She gets up whilst it’s still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.’

I do not like mornings: fact. I’m terrible at getting up in the mornings. I genuinely believe that we shouldn’t have to get out of bed until the sun says so! So when I read this Scripture many years ago, I wanted to ignore it. In fact, for a long time I did ignore it, until one day I felt drawn to it. Again and again I read those words: ‘She gets up whilst it’s still dark’ until suddenly I heard a whisper: ‘In other words, whilst darkness surrounds them, the people of God rise up.’

It totally changed my perspective on that verse. When darkness surrounds us, when circumstances tell us to stay down, to throw the duvet over our heads because we cannot face our lives, it’s in those very moments that our response should be to rise up! Rising up to a place of action is a response to difficulty that will instantly increase your chances of overcoming.

I know that some of you reading this will think that it’s easy for me to write this when I have no idea of what you facing. You may think that there is simply no way forward: no way to rise up when what you are facing is so beyond your strength and ability to endure. And you would be right; I can’t possibly know what you are going through right now, but I do know that God is not asking you to rise up in your own strength.

Look at this main in John 5:5-8:

‘One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked Him “Would you like to get well?” “I can’t, Sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” (New Living Translation)

I find it interesting that Jesus asked a man who had been sick for over three decades if he wanted to be well. Why did He ask him that? I believe it’s because Jesus knew that this man would need to be at the point of no longer wanting to tolerate his condition in order for him to be healed.

You see, so often we blame everyone else. We blame our past, our hurts and our dysfunctions, as the reasons why we just can’t quite make it up off the floor of our lives.

We find excuses for our dysfunction and in doing so, create a space for it to exist. Then Jesus comes along and offers us hope. He asks us if we want to get well. And often, like the man in the story did, we immediately give Jesus the reasons why we can’t be well; why we can’t rise up; why we will be the ones who are left behind yet again.

But Jesus knows that you are crippled. He knows that you’ve got good reason to still be sitting down waiting for you life to change; and yet He says the same thing to you and me that He said to that man 2000 years ago: ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!’

We are need meant to try and get up in our own strength; all we need to do is be obedient to His Word. That rippled man had laid low for 38 years, and had every reason not to believe that Jesus’ words could tie him the power to rise up. The crippled isn’t say: ‘Heal me first and then I’ll walk.’ He simply believed and obeyed, and in his response to the Word of God, the miracle came.

If you feel you cannot rise up, that you simply have no strength of your own, that’s ok. Jesus will give you what you need. All you need to do is believe, respond and decide your heart that when Jesus says, ‘Stand up’ He will give you the ability to do so.

There is no shame in finding yourself in a dark place. We all experience times of feeling downtrodden with the weight of darkness around us. Jesus felt it too. In fact, He was down for three days. For three days He was surrounded by darkness. He had every opportunity to stay down, to give in to death and submit to the pain of His crucifixion. But He chose to rise up! Jesus rose up amidst His darkness and in doing so, He conquered death and made a way for each of us to do the same.

The fact is that rising up, like the Proverbs 31 woman we looked at earlier, is never just for our own benefit. You see, this woman rose up for a purpose. Daylight was on its way, and she knew there would be mouths to feed.

There are people on the other side of your breakthrough. There are those who are attached to your life right now who need you to rise up. Your staying down – your playing it safe – does not serve them well.

Darkness is your rising up time; it is your chance to learn the tools for overcoming adversity, because daylight will come. And when daylight comes, there will be many who need the lessons you’ve learnt and the tools you’ve applied, to be explained to them. We need to be those who learn lessons in life not just for our own benefit, but so that we can be carriers of truth, of hope and of freedom.

By Arianna Walker

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