Well hey there. Long time I no write. (Anything personal, that is). Wow! Is it me, or is 2016 going really fast and at the same time, well, for those of us anticipating prophetic fulfillment of things, time also feels like it is s–t–r—e—-t—-c—-h—i–n-g interminably!
I took another trip to the mountains after coming home for my husband’s surgery, and then cut that trip a little shorter than planned, in part, because of the drive-by shooting that occurred a week ago, to which my husband was a very up-close eye witness. Lo and behold, sitting in our living room the other night just before ten pm, there was yet another round of rapid-fire “taps” that at first I thought may have been fireworks. Labor day isn’t typically a “fireworks” holiday, but with back-to-school just days away, no telling what neighborhood kids might get up to for their last hurrah.
But no, sure enough it was gunfire again. In just a few minutes the sky was flashing with blue lights. Apparently the intended target was hit, but news through the grapevine is that he survived, and therefore, (we were warned off the record) this is not over-with. We figure it is gang-related.
I’m not on here to write about neighborhood crime, however. Just, really, to write about how all of us are facing whatever the enemy can throw at us to discourage us in this moment in time, when history itself is winding down. I bet every person who reads this, can say the same. Whoever you are, whatever you do, whatever your age, or stage of life, I bet you have your own testimony of how hard the enemy is working to discourage you, if you are trying to live your life for the Lord in these increasingly hostile times.
I was surprised yesterday, to read a post by another lady (Geri Ungerean) a sister in the Lord who blogs on these topics and who also contributes on Rapture Ready, revealing that she struggles with relentless depression. I never would have guessed, as her writing is so clear and well-done, and researched so thoroughly. I know people said similar things about me when I suffered from horrible depression for so long, that they had no idea. Part of my issue when so depressed, was that it was so hard to think clearly. Christians who suffer from depression get a lot of flack from other Christians (the ones who have never dealt with depression) about their depression in many cases. I, like Geri, feel God allowed mine for a purpose. He saw fit to lift mine after many years, but that doesn’t mean He does that for everyone. When you have lived that way, you carry around a very real dread of the possibility of ever going back. I have other health issues He didn’t see fit to remove. But being thankful whether in the midst of a medical or mental health condition, or in deliverance out of it, is absolutely essential to daily survival.
Geri, if you read this, I just want to say, as you do, we serve a good God, and the suffering does, as you know, have a purpose. And I recognize your sharing of that very personal and painful fact about yourself, for the sacrifice that it is. For the sake of encouraging others. A sacrifice of praise to our Worthy Savior and Lord, even in hard times.
Every struggle, whether it is internal and private, financial, interpersonal as in relationships, for the Christian, is an exercise in submitting to God, in order that He can accomplish His will in us. We often don’t know what He is up to. We often can’t see the benefit. But we learn that the key is to simply submit. Our natural response to pain is to resist. But when we submit to the Lord in all things, it subdues the flesh, which is one of our enemies in the Christian walk.
In our house this year, we have had some significant struggles, but God remains faithful. We could look at the recent violent crime and become anxious about the fact we are tied to a mortgage in a location that is losing value at a slightly faster rate than the average, or we can be thankful that God protected us despite the violence and has kept this home a safe haven for us, despite everything else going on around us. I have learned that life brings many storms, and rather than ask the Lord to move me to a more hospitable “climate”, I came to realize that when the Lord lets the storm rage, and instead touches His child with a hand of calm and peace, well, that is a much more faith-building experience. You see, life will never cease to churn up those difficult times, trials, losses, and sometimes they are catastrophic. God warned us this would be so. For me, “in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world”, was not much consolation before I had been through any real hard stuff. Now that I have, though, I can actually see it making sense and being true.
It is the difference between “knowing” that what the Bible says is true, and KNOWING it is true. Knowing what you’ve been told or what you’ve read, verses knowing what you have seen borne out in your own experiences and circumstances.
So don’t fear the trials, don’t dread the heartache. Our God is trustworthy. You do have a choice. You can read His promises and go on doubting, or you can read His promises and decide to accept them as truth and believe them.
If you remain doubtful, especially after He has carried you through some troubles, don’t be surprised if more troubles follow. Count yourself blessed if He takes the time and trouble to prove them out in your life. But if you will not take God at His Word, then, Believer, you will have to learn the hard way. It’s how we are. That’s how it works.
As Spurgeon said, if you won’t believe Him for the other stuff of life, what business have you of believing Him for your Salvation? Maybe you need to be looking for a “better” Savior if the one who wiped away your guilty verdict is not sufficient for stuff like meeting your daily needs.
Where else could you go but to the Lord? When put that way, it’s really rather ludicrous not to trust Him in any and every other matter. Nothing is as huge a feat to have pulled off, than that of paying for the sins of the whole world.
From Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” Devotional for March 7th Evening:
Doubtless the reader has been tried with the temptation to rely upon the things which are seen, instead of resting alone upon the invisible God. Christians often look to man for help and counsel, and mar the noble simplicity of their reliance upon their God. Does this evening’s portion meet the eye of a child of God anxious about temporals, then would we reason with him awhile. You trust in Jesus, and only in Jesus, for your salvation, then why are you troubled? “Because of my great care.” Is it not written, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord”? “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication make known your wants unto God.” Cannot you trust God for temporals? “Ah! I wish I could.” If you cannot trust God for temporals, how dare you trust him for spirituals? Can you trust him for your soul’s redemption, and not rely upon him for a few lesser mercies? Is not God enough for thy need, or is his all-sufficiency too narrow for thy wants? Dost thou want another eye beside that of him who sees every secret thing? Is his heart faint? Is his arm weary? If so, seek another God; but if he be infinite, omnipotent, faithful, true, and all-wise, why gaddest thou abroad so much to seek another confidence? Why dost thou rake the earth to find another foundation, when this is strong enough to bear all the weight which thou canst ever build thereon? Christian, mix not only thy wine with water, do not alloy thy gold of faith with the dross of human confidence. Wait thou only upon God, and let thine expectation be from him. Covet not Jonah’s gourd, but rest in Jonah’s God. Let the sandy foundations of terrestrial trust be the choice of fools, but do thou, like one who foresees the storm, build for thyself an abiding place upon the Rock of Ages.