When I was a missionary, every time we would be transferred to a new area, we would gather as missionaries and sign each other’s transfer journals. These little journals allowed us to write a note and parting thoughts to missionaries we had come to know and be friends with. We would find a blank page among all the previous messages and write our testimonies to one another or share encouragement.
One transfer afternoon, I was sitting at the table of journals and was passed one to write in.
Instead of penning my own thoughts, I suddenly found myself reading the message the person before me had written.
That moment is frozen in time for me. It was as if the world stopped and the words recorded were being said to me, instead of another missionary. I was so overcome by the power of that message that I quietly copied it down word for word in my own book so I could have it forever to remember.
The message was written by Lewis Munday and simply said,
“The Lord does not tell us what we are not, but what we are. He shows us how far we have come and although he also shows us how far we have to go, and what we can improve, that comes with a feeling of hope, a desire to improve, and a feeling of achievability.”
The reason I was so struck by this message was because it was the first time I had ever been taught how to discern what God’s chastening is like.
The moment the Lord chastens the Brother of Jared is not a moment of being called a sorry loser for forgetting to pray.
The Lord does not tell us what we are not, but what we are!
He shows us how far we have come and although he also shows us how far we have to go, and what we can improve, that comes with a feeling of hope, a desire to improve, and a feeling of achievability.
He likely talked with the Brother of Jared, reminding Him of how far he had already come. Reminding him of the progress he had already made. And then reminding him that they weren’t done yet. They still had further to go. He may have pointed out what wasn’t working…reminding the Brother of Jared of where He was really leading him, and pointing out how the current situation wasn’t going to move them closer to the promised land.