Many times we hear people say, “God can’t be the ‘God of Love’ if He is going to let someone suffer.” “When the Bible says that God will ‘rescue you out of all your troubles,’ that really isn’t what it means.” “Obviously God has abandoned you.”
“Is it a dangerous thing to fall into the hands of God?” “Can He be trusted?” “Why would God stand back and allow the enemy to bruise His children?” “Lord, it isn’t supposed to be this way!”
Others will ask you why you keep praying, “You know God’s not listening.” “You’re forgotten, you’re nobody, He doesn’t care about you.” “You were better off before you met God.” Satan specializes in lies, confusion, desperation, and depression. He will move into your greatest weakness or need and throw his worst in our faces, then sit back to see what will happen.
Look, I may not always understand what is going on around me, but as far as I am concerned, it is lawful for Him to do whatever he desires with His own. I presume you agree that we do not serve Him from selfish interests. Are we going to cling to Him only in times of prosperity? If it is comes, are you willing to accept from His hand sorrow and suffering as well as joy? Will we accept good from God, and not trouble?
I say that because just as when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, when one approach didn’t work, he tried another, then another, steadily increasing the pressure, the seductiveness, and the subtlety of his strategies.
For instance even in the very best and strongest Christian marriages there will come times when either partner may view the other (however temporarily) as no longer a lovable or godly person. But married couples make the vow “for better or for worse.” Then, when it becomes worse and one’s spouse has a nervous breakdown or contracts some lingering terminal illness, there are few wives or husbands who will find in themselves a natural desire to keep on being smilingly supportive. Notice I said a natural desire. There is always an abundance of grace for those who reach out for it.
The horrible truth is that many who call themselves children of God, in one way or another, do indeed serve Him for the good they get in this present world and in the world to come. Rather than serving Him for Himself alone, and would curse Him to His face if they experience any trial of significant proportion. And yes, I am sadly thinking of several nationally know ministries. Sorry.
I don’t think anyone has said it better than John White:
“Our quest must be the quest of a suitor, a suitor too blinded by beauty to descend to calculating self interest; too intoxicated with love to care about the cost or the consequence of his suit. It must be the love of Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet, enchanted by his words and grace, but deaf and blind to the frustration and fuss of her resentful sister (Luke 10:38-42). An enchantment of that sort will not be broken, nor its pleasures denied.
“It is time we threw spiritual pragmatism out of the window. We come habitually to God carrying shopping baskets and armed with a checklist of needed purchases when all the time He wants to put His arms around us and draw us to Himself. We know no other way. Custom and tradition have drilled us in the art of celestial bargain hunting. It is time we forgot about our spiritual performance and our spiritual needs and gave ourselves up to passion.”
In yesterday’s message (and with most of my messages), I presume you are truly interested in pursuing and honoring our Lord; to honestly cry out to our Father. If I am correct, then we need to take His instructions to heart and apply them to every area of our lives and, as John White described, “give ourselves up to passion.”
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.