When I am afraid, I don’t face my fears alone.
When I have sinned, I don’t face my guilt alone.
When I grieve, He grieves with me.
When I dread, He helps me bear it, until the dreaded thing has come and gone, or been eliminated.
When I become complacent, and drift like a child so busy frolicking in ocean waves, that he doesn’t even realize he is being carried away, He knows where I am, and comes at my cry.
When some wolf in sheep’s clothing manages to sneak up and catch hold and tries to run away with me, the Good Shepherd intervenes at the exact proper moment that avoids harm, yet the near miss serves as a reminder to walk circumspect.
Season after season. In the Spring of childhood, He delights in the moment I learn of Him. He watches, knowingly, as I toddle along toward a day when I will become accountable. He orchestrates my experiences, knowing whom I will interact with, and when I will meet them. He enjoys my enjoyment of people as I work at my first job, but He knows that in the novelty of having a social circle of my own, there is one who will be an agent of destruction doing the bidding of the flesh and of his father the enemy of all who belong to Him. He will come with flattery. He will come with confidence, gleaming under the admiration of other children of darkness, who will sing praises of this ambassador of the enemy, and collectively work to spin a snare.
Satan is wiley. He’s been observing humankind for several thousand years now, and honed his craft. He doesn’t have to transform himself into an angel of light, all he needs is to know your vulnerabilities. He has to ask permission before he can attempt his influence or temptation.
The True Light never dims, but the eye that perceives the True Light sometimes does grow dim. Pain is a powerful motivator, and so is fear.
Seasons change, we pass from innocense and naiavety to knowledge and accountability. Summer comes, with sunny skies, the heady freedom of driving and having a job and a little pocket money of your own. It comes also with uncertainty, insecurities, and inevitable disappointments and failures, bringing with them the loss of some of that innocense and blissful ignorance you had in the Spring. Summer is a season of hopes, dreams, plans, but how often will those change before Autumn comes? How many will you have a change of heart over, how many will prove unattainable, and how many might be ripped away entirely against your will?
What we become does not depend entirely upon us. We do not live in a vacume, and each person’s lives, choices, and behaviors can have a profound affect upon many others.
The world changes entirely, over time, as actions and choices take place. Bombs on Hiroshima, planes over Manhatten.
For me, the actions of one person robbed me of something precious, and in that moment, created a seismic wave that has had aftershocks into decades of my life.
I thought at first, the Lord was no longer my constant companion. He seemed to have abandoned me. I was set adrift into a world I never wanted anything to do with, but since I believed my previous faith had apparently been misdirected, I just accepted this was my life, and tried to figure out how to salvage something from it that could serve as a foundation to any sort of unknowable successful future.
Operating in disillusionment, I tried to adapt my heart and mind to the circumstance, and conduct myself in a way that was foreign to me but seemed to constitute normality to most people I encountered. I wasn’t happy. I pretended to be. Fake it until you make it. Right? Things didn’t roll the way I thought they would, and I was sincerely perplexed, and had mixed emotions toward God. What was the point anymore?
Even through those years of estrangement of my heart from the Lord, He was still there. How else does a person come to understand the nature of our own flesh and sinfulness, than to wander off the narrow way and make acquaintance with the wages of their own sin. I now count myself fortunate to have been brought face to face with my fallen nature fairly early in life. I wasn’t persuing evil. Evil persued me, and as soon as the first snag came in the fabric of my young faith, the enemy pounced. It utterly quashed my faith for a while.
Faith is everything. If the enemy can find the tiniest chink in your armor, he will spare no effort in exploiting it to the maximum extent of mayhem he can use it to create.
When you fall in love and get married, you have a picture in your mind how it will be once the wedding occurs. Whether you are consciously aware that you have a pre-conceived notion of how it will be, or not, you have one. And as sure as you have one, it is inevitable reality will fall short, possibly in a very big way. If you are committed to your marriage, you will adjust your expectations and make the effort to work within the reality, as opposed to trying to bend life itself to your will and expectations. Ironically, we can do something several times in which our reality never aligns with our hopes, and still be just as disappointed as the first time we were so let-down.
Eventually, the majority of us learn to temper our expectations, or learn that what we are hoping for is unreasonable, or at least will require much more effort than we previously expected. We learn that we expect things from others that they are incapable of, and most of the things we think others owe us, we actually are not automatically entitled to. That extends to our relationship with God. Maturing in Christ is as much of a long-term process as maturing from infant to toddler, to pre-schooler, to high school grad, to an adult who is 100% responsible for self, and then on to being responsible for the next generation of your family line, not to mention responsibilities to your employer, and others.
As a young Christian, I had zeal, but not much knowledge. I had mistaken expectations, and I didn’t know how very much I didn’t know. Now I know a little bit, and am more aware than ever, of just how much I still have little to no understanding of.
You go from being shocked when you discover your capacity to sin, to being ashamed or bearing guilt over past sins already under the blood, to “trying to become a better Christian” to one day realizing not only does salvation come by faith alone, that sanctification does too. You realize how ridiculously foolish it was of you, to consider yourself anything other than utterly depraved and deserving of hell. I had a friend once express how shocked and ashamed she was that she actually did “X” I sort of chuckled and said, that’s why Jesus had to die, why are we surprised? We each eventually need to get over ourselves. Believing there is any virtue in ourselves is what is ludicrous, not the fact we sin!
We can’t “mature ourselves”. It takes an entire lifetime and we are blessed if we come to have understanding, discernment, to cease from striving and learn submitting during our lifetime.
We don’t walk alone through trials, nor even through periods of our own rebellion, He is always within reach, because He keeps us within His reach.
When the journey is over, when we leave this sphere, we will understand it all. For now, it is enough just recalling His faithfulness. He makes up the difference. Which is a good thing, because we have nothing to offer but faith. We have to take a perspective of “what He does in my life, is His business”. Once you are washed in the blood, there is no comfort and no peace to be found in the world, only in Him. More and more of Him.
We are in a transition right now, of dispensations. Everything currently familiar to us will soon be history. Humanity is at a critical juncture, but most of humanity is oblivious , while many of them are deceived about what this transition will bring. I humbly thank God for the honor of serving Him and by faith alone I submit myself, and this ministry for Him to do as He will in me and in it, for His glory. I realize these are perilous times, and I see the growing animosity toward the faithful remnant, and recognize the rising liklihood of persecution. There is no way for faith to be purified but by trial. For the 47 years I have known Him, He has never left me to endure anything alone. He has kept His promises and by faith, and by His power and grace, whatever I gotta pass through from here to heaven’s gate, I know three things;
It will be worth it all,
He will make a way to bear it,
He won’t let me endure it alone.
Through Christ, by Christ, in Christ, with Christ, and for Christ.
He is worthy of all worship and praise. Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess He is Lord, maker of all things, the Alpha and Omega, the great I Am.