I woke up at 3:30 this morning.  Made myself stay in bed until 5:00, then finally decided to call it quits.

So, I thought I’d let you know I’m still here.

I never really intended to take such a long hiatus from posting, but sometimes life just gets in the way.  The last month or so has been pretty full — in good ways and hard ways.  I usually find writing inspiration from real life, but I haven’t felt free to post about some things and the pace of my days has not left much extra time.  The result is that my blogging well ran a little dry.

But I did want to share a few things that have been ruminating in my soul for a little while.  (And if they are not coherent, you can blame the oh-so-restful night of sleep I got last night.)  My bible study recently finished the book of Hebrews, and there are a few things that really stuck with me.

First and foremost, Jesus is better.  He is.  Better than the angels.  Better than Moses.  A better priest.  He offers a better rest.  A better covenant.  A better sacrifice.  His kingdom is better.

Our lives must actually reflect that He is better.

Secondly, we must make every effort to enter God’s Sabbath-rest (Heb. 4:1).  God commanded Israel to rest because he himself rested (Ex. 20:8-11).  He rested because he had finished his work (Gen. 2:1-3).  Therefore, we rest because God finished his work.

It is finished.

Cease striving, Beloved.

Finally, but perhaps most poignantly for me over the past couple of months, we must have a right perspective on hardship.  The writer of Hebrews tells us that we are to endure hardship as discipline.  And the word he uses for discipline carries with it the idea of being nurtured and shaped, in the way a parent influences a child.  Hardship is hard (profound, I know), but it carries with it purpose.  And that purpose is that we may share in God’s holiness.

James puts it this way:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

I lack things.  In my character, in my spirit, in my heart.  Hardship, trials, and difficulties are used by God to fill up what is lacking in me, to make me like Him.  His work in me will not be finished without them.  I will not be mature and complete without them.

And the purity of my faith can only be measured when the heat is turned up and the dross surfaces.

I pray I will count it all joy.