Years ago as a young man fresh out of high school I left the comforts of home to report for my national service at the South African Police College in Pretoria. There were so many mixed emotions of not knowing what to expect or what awaited us all.
At our first parade our Company Warrant Officer summoned it up what to expect with the following phrase, “This will be the best six months of your life you will WANT to forget!!” True to that statement the following six months broke us, stretched us, pushed us and drove us beyond our limits: physically, mentally and emotionally, Only to then to rebuild us into what we were commissioned to become. What we saw as unnecessary hardship opened our eyes to realize it was all for this one moment in our lives that we would graduate as well discipline, highly trained and effective policemen. We left home as boys but returned as men.
We had to go through it to become it!!! There could be no graduation ceremony without having being pushed beyond our limits and even to breaking point to prove that we could wear our badge with honor and distinction. I cannot tell you how often many of us wanted to give up and walk away from these hardships. The lack of sleep (3-4 hours a night), the constant barrage of orders, the unrelenting physical training, the emptiness of being homesick and the lack of sympathy from any of our drill sergeants all became overshadowed the day we marched to the parade ground one final time. For this was the day we became qualified policemen.

This story reminds me so much of our Christian walk as believers. Many of us have received a calling to serve the Lord in various ministry roles. Some have received a specific word regarding what the Lord has called each to be, only to discover that the moment we take hold of that word we enter into our spiritual police college. Some have been called to be Apostles, some prophets yet others as pastors, teachers, evangelists and many other areas of ministry. The calling we receive is always fantastic and very promising. We dream of seeing ourselves reaching the world, we are going to pastor the largest churches, we are going to travel the world for Jesus however there is always one small, tiny little detail we often overlook – PREPARATION!!! Each of us must Go through it (the fires of the Lord) to become it (the leader you are called to be). The greater the call the greater the fire. Unfortunately there are no short-cuts in which to gain one’s badge of honor, it can only be earn in the fires of preparation.
Paul writes to Timothy “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” II Timothy‬ ‭2:3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
Often in those seasons of darkness and loneliness we tend to feel that either the Lord has abandoned us or that we have failed as a believer. We feel vulnerable and exposed on the road to our destiny. Paul mentions that Timothy must endure hardship as a good soldier, he does not mention the enjoyment of being a soldier as soldiers never want to retreat or give up when there is no war. It’s is only when we are being stretched, pushed to our limits and having to face the enemy and not experiencing any relief that we tend to want to walk away and maybe even surrender. In those times when it seems all is lost, embrace the promise of our Lord that He will never leave nor forsake us. Embrace the destiny He has placed upon your life and never let go of your dream. We must ask ourselves the questions, is this stormy season happening because of the our spiritual condition or is the Lord preparing us for something greater?
Remember this that every tunnel has an entrance and an exit. It may seem dark in the tunnel but it’s taking us through the mountain and the exit and the light is not too far away.
In closing I urge each of you to meditate on the Scripture below:
“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:” Hebrews‬ ‭10:35-36‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

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