What happens when people prefer to curse God and die rather than to bless God and live? What happens when faith grows paper-thin and hope in God’s promises dissolve? What happens when your integrity is attacked and your virtue is denounced? What happens when words of encouragement are interpreted as barbs of accusation? Well, you either cave in and give up – or you hold fast and keep going. In Hebrews 10:35 we read: do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.
Have you been accosted by strong believers, whose faith has all but crashed? People whose Christian lives stem back thirty or forty years – even longer.. who are all but accusing God of not caring – I have. Long-time friends and dear relatives, who seem to be giving up on their faith. Friends and family I have known most of my life, are failing to trust in God. Men and women, who’ve missionaried and ministered in many foreign parts.
As I see the way many believers have been battered by the assaults of the enemy.. as I watch life and hope crumble beneath the feet of those who dearly love the Lord.. as I hear of God ‘hiding His face‘ and prayer being offered to a ‘closed heaven..’ prayers that have been pleaded for years, sometimes decades! As I hear of despair from ones who’ve been the spiritual mainstay of many others – I do wonder.
My ears have been lashed and my eyes wet with tears at many scathing accusations. Accusations I don’t understand. Accusations against the God Who bought us. Accusations – saying God does not understand and God doesn’t care. My precious cousin was one such dear one who all but crashed – one of many. She was one who lashed out at me for writing on faith – for hers was all but gone. She accused me of not understanding her particular situation and she accused God for the unanswered prayers of decades, that fell on ‘deaf ears‘.
Yes, I see the world sinking in a cesspool of sin and many believers falling apart. Critical times smash hope as rampant sin and instability increases exponentially. The long, black tunnel of despair seems to stretch to an eternity, as the world we once knew, transmutes out of all recognition – and God fails to hear the cries of His children and seems to ignore their pleas for help. I don’t understand and I have no acceptable answers… but I do have few meager crumbs of comfort for such despair.
As I seek in these devotionals to offer words to encourage and words to challenge.. am I to come to the point where I question whether, like Job’s wife, I should I advocate: curse God and die.” or continue to encourage: trust God and live…” ? Or when the Lord searches me and asks: will you also leave Me and go away? How do I respond to this inquiry to my heart? Do I walk away as did Demus – and turn my ears to the user-friendly gospel – or do I in the plaintive and pathetic words of Peter cry out: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
Some years ago I learned a valuable lesson:- the children I taught were the most profoundly disabled people to survive.. often labelled ‘vegetables‘ by Social Service, I had a responsibility and I had a choice – accept the ‘professional’ opinion or discover their premise to be false. And so I considered the lack of communication was not the child’s responsibility. It was my responsibility alone. I was the incompetent non-communicator – not the child. I was the one at fault, until a pure channel of communication was discovered. A blink, a caress, a movement of a tongue, olfactory stimulant, a little finger quiver – all contributed to our developing intercourse – to bring a deeper understanding and trust – until communication and trust was established – sometimes taking many long years to achieve. But not one ‘vegetable‘ failed to become a competent and liberated communicator.
Valuable lessons have their spiritual counterpart – and this is no exception. Maintaining MY faith in God’s Word is a choice I have had to make over many years. Mine is the responsibility.. to throw away my confidence in Him, or to trust in His love. Do I allow life’s overwhelming circumstances to dictate what I believe OR do I cry with Job:- though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. No, I don’t understand, but I have no alternative but to trust in His love.
Do I let the terrible situations facing so many I love dearly, affect my faith in God? No: God forbid, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it’s written, thou might be justified in thy sayings, and might overcome when thou art judged. It hurts-yes – and I don’t understand – true! But I have no alternative, but to trust in His love – believe His Word. From my youth I studied the Scriptures and discovered them to be true… do I now dismiss the proofs of a lifetime because I don’t understand?
I once walked the street with three young children, having no place to sleep that night. The Island courts restricted the children’s travel to England. They became the island prisoners for many years. I didn’t understand then, but I had no alternative but to trust in His love. Yes I have a choice and I have a responsibility – and the choice and responsibility is mine and mine alone.
I can allow the enemy to blind my eyes to God’s goodness. I can dismiss the promises in His Word that speak of His love for me, His child. I can throw away my confidence, and pour scorn on any veiled, future reward. I can throw up my hands at the crippling circumstances prevalent today. I can deny the Lord that bought me and agree with the world that “God is dead“. I can agree with my cousin’s recent perception of things….. as she wrote: I’m tired of believing the best and seeing only the worst. I’m tired of waiting for things to improve but never seeing anything change. I’m tired of saying things that patently don’t tally with what is actually happening. Where is God in all of what we’ve lived through for so many years. And where is He now?…. OR I can seek to: hold fast the profession of my faith without wavering, knowing that: He that has promised is faithful.
No, I don’t understand what she and others are going through, but I personally had no alternative but to trust in His love. Three times… three times the Lord spoke to the churches in the book of Revelation: That which you have already -hold fast till I come. Remember therefore what you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. Behold, I come quickly: hold fast to what you have, let no man take your crown. No, I do not understand but I have no alternative but to trust in His love and to hold fast
Oh – by the way, my cousin did not curse God and die she chose to trust God and live.
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