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i simply love Graham Cooke. he puts things in language i always understand. there have been many times i have had an AHA! moment because of how he explained something.

one time i was listening to him and he was talking about being in relationship with God. there is a moment where you feel His presence. you are so incredibly happy. you feel peace. and joy. and comfort and nothing has even changed in your circumstances.

and you say to Him, “i’ll do whatever you want me to!”

“really? anything? are you sure?”

“yes! yes! anything you want. my life is yours!”

“well if you’re sure…”

and life is great and then all of a sudden something goes wrong.

“why have are you doing this?” you cry out.

“remember when you said anything? now is that moment.”

i remember many a scenarios like that. telling God how in love with Him i am and the next thing i know, He is growing that patience i asked for. or He is really letting me learn to hope in Him. or He is actually preparing me for the “good things He prepared beforehand.”

you see saying “yes” to God doesn’t mean it is flowery from then on out. having a yes take up every square space of your heart doesn’t keep you from ever hurting or being lonely or wondering what it is He is doing. sorry to break it to you. He never promised it would glitter and rainbows. in fact, He promised there would be pain. it is a world where we have given power to satan. to sin.

but saying yes with your whole heart does in fact change everything. and i am not talking about you said you wanted to be a christian and you got baptized but you never changed anything and you actually look just like you did before you got saved. i am talking about encountering this God and saying you’re in, having counted the cost, and letting Him get you to where you need to be.

the truth of it is often a yes means something may hit the fan…soon. not because i think God does bad things to us to teach us a lesson. but honestly, there is no growth without a fight. there is no winning without a fight. there is no reward if we never have the opportunity to pick the right answers.

i am fully convinced that He leads us into the “valley of the shadow of death” knowing He is by our side so that we can “fear no evil”. it is in those moments where we get to experience His protection and provision. it doesn’t always look like what we thought it would look like. it sure doesn’t feel like what we thought it would feel like.

6DeathsDark

one of my favorite questions that Graham asks God is

“what do you want to be for me in this season that you can’t be for me any other time?”

man. what a great question. i have asked that a lot since i have heard it. 10+ months ago, i entered a season i knew would be difficult and painful but i wasn’t expecting what i got. and often i have asked, why? why are we doing it this way? and i get nothing. when i asked what do you want to be for me, i heard Him talk about how He wanted to provide for me. why can’t you provide a different way? or provide through a job? and He answered something along the lines of because this way you KNOW it was me providing and no one else.

the other day i was talking to my best friend. he talked about how you can never be prepared for the first time you have to walk through hell. whatever that hell is, you think you’re prepared and then you get there and you want to quit. but the next time is a little easier cause He came back or came through or whatever is appropriate for your situation.

He walks with us through that valley of the shadow of death so that we can walk back through a little more confident and push back the darkness a little bit more. He walks us through to prepare us for the fight our hearts have longed for. He prepares us for victory. He prepares us for hope!