Doug Creamer column: Three lessons

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 21, 2022

By Doug Creamer

I received the opportunity to speak at church last week. When I started to plan what I might say, I reached back into my past. The more I prayed and thought about it, the more I felt like the Lord was leading in a different direction. He wanted me to talk about things that I was currently working through in my walk of faith.

I wasn’t interested in sharing current issues, but you can imagine who won that debate. The more I tried to pull and change the direction which I felt the Lord leading me, the more I realized that I was fighting a losing battle. I would much rather talk about things that I had already overcome, places where I found the victory in my life.

No one has arrived spiritually; I am no exception. I struggle to live out the faith that I profess, and the truth is that I fail along the way. The journey of faith comes with many ups and downs. If I am going to speak or write about my journey, I think I would prefer to focus on the times when things are looking up.

I have shared many testimonies with people about how God brought me through some dark times of my life. In sharing those stories and testimonies I always end with my arrival on the other end. I like to share with people about how God helped me and the lessons I learned through the dark and challenging places in life.

How do you share with people the lessons that you haven’t learned yet? You can’t tell your listeners, “Here’s how I made it through” if you are in the middle of those lessons yourself. All you can tell people is that this is the lesson I am trying to learn, and this is what God is showing me in the midst of this lesson. I can also point to the grace that God is extending to me in the middle of the lesson.

One of the best things I can point to as a teacher is those in the Bible who have learned the lessons I am trying to learn. God gives us plenty of examples of people who have gone through the lessons that we are trying to learn so we will have faith in him through the process. Those biblical examples show us how to apply our faith to our current circumstances.

By now, I imagine your curiosity must be stirred about what lessons I am trying to learn. The first lesson involves the simple truth that we can’t fix ourselves. We have to find where God wants to work in our lives and join him in the process. Sometimes he picks big things and sometimes he picks little things. The key is to find where he is working and work with him.

The second lesson is that we have to trust God. That sounds like an elementary lesson until God brings up areas of our lives where we like to be in control. We are his children and he is in control of all areas of our lives, or at least that is how it is supposed to be. Then he points to an area and tells you that you are trusting yourself, not him. That’s when the work begins.

The final lesson may seem a little ironic, but God doesn’t always feel like he needs to work on us. Sometimes God just wants to be with us. While there is always work that needs to be done, as long as we are on this side of heaven, God knows that we need to rest. Growth and change in our lives takes time. Strong solid growth takes time. God wants our faith to be solid so he is in it for the long haul to see us grow and mature in our faith.

I want to encourage you in three specific ways. First, ask God what he wants to work on in your life. Focus your efforts there. Things will go more smoothly that way. Second, give yourself a break. God doesn’t expect you to be perfect, and he is invested in you for the long haul. He believes in you and sees a bright future for you. Finally, trust him with the entire process. He knows exactly how to shape you into the image of who he has destined you to be. He knows what he is doing and he has your best interests at heart. These aren’t easy, and I can say that because these are the lessons he is trying to teach me. I am learning by his grace.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or

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