The other day, I was thinking about the years when my son, Chris, was in the Marine Corps...and all the things he shared with me from his experience there. Unless you're up close and personal with a recruit, you'll never understand the slogan "the few, the proud, the Marines." As parents of a recruit, my wife and I were given a training tape that covered their entire 13 weeks of training.
The final part of their training involved a 72-hour intensive training exercise. During this event, they endured hunger and lack of sleep and rest as they maneuvered real live mortar. This training exercise taught them how to work together as a team and suffer through extremes while pushing forward toward their objective. The finale of this exercise was a grueling 16-mile walk up the hill.
THE FINAL 56 HOURS WERE CALLED "THE CRUCIBLE."
It is during the Crucible that each recruit is required to put into practice every value of the Corp and to apply all the training they had received over the past 13 weeks. You might say this is where “the rubber meets the road.” It is in the Crucible that the very fiber of every recruit is tested, to see if they understand and are willing to live out the values of the Marines. It is in the Crucible that many fall away and are sent home, or are sent back to start the training all over again.
What I have come to understand about this walk with Christ is that there is a Crucible for every one of us. It is uniquely designed and tailored with the specific intention to test all the things that His Spirit has poured into us during our “training” in life and its difficulties. It is designed to bring us to the place where we can be used in His Kingdom.
IT IS DURING OUR CRUCIBLE THAT MANY OF US FALL AWAY, OR GIVE UP.
Some of you may be walking your 16-mile journey uphill right now. Some of you may feel like you’re withstanding live mortar rounds, or walking through the wilderness.
How’s your heart? Are you feeling battered and bruised, and wondering whether you can make it through? Do you find yourself weary and worn today? Do your battle scars ache?
I’VE BEEN THERE, TOO.
I want to encourage you today with some wisdom and supporting Scripture the Lord has revealed to me throughout my own Crucible.
- In my strength, I can do nothing, but through Christ alone, I can do all things. Philippians 4:13
- I need my brothers and sisters in the faith. We were not designed to walk our Crucible alone. Galatians 6:2
- God has a specific plan and purpose for each of our lives. Ephesians 2:10
- It’s not about us at all. Our purposes are always about serving others, for His glory alone. 1 Corinthians 10:31
- We are all called by God to fulfill a purpose in His Kingdom…and we must answer His call. Romans 8:28
- We are all called to plant seeds. To give ourselves away to others. If we sow His Kingdom, we will also reap through others’ lives for God’s glory. 2 Corinthians 9:6
Wherever you are in your walk with Christ, be encouraged. There is an old saying, “God will not give you more than you can handle.” I have to disagree. God will always give you more than you can handle, but He will never give you more than He can handle.