“We will be scattered, not into service, but into the emptiness of our lives where we will see ruin and barrenness, to know what internal death to God’s blessings mean. Are we prepared for this? It is certainly not of our choosing, but God engineers our circumstances to take us there. Until we have been through that experience, our faith is sustained only by feelings and by blessings. But once we get there, no matter where God may place us or what inner emptiness we experience, we can praise God that all is well. That is what is meant by faith being exercised in the realities of life… Do we not see God at work in our circumstances? Dark times are allowed and come to us through the sovereignty of God. Are we prepared to let God do what He wants with us? Are we prepared to be separated from the outward, evident blessings from God? Until Jesus Christ is truly our Lord, we each have goals of our own which we serve. Our faith is real, but it is not yet permanent. And God is never in a hurry. If we are willing to wait, we will see God pointing out that we have been interested only in His blessings, instead of in God Himself… Unyielding spiritual fortitude is what we need” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
It’s true. My interest has been solely focused on the betterment of my circumstances, hoping and praying for blessings so my life can get right again and yet I’ve been stripped of everything so that my heart and mind can again be rearranged, refined, stretched, and altered. My circumstances matter little.
I need to take off these grave clothes that I keep running back to and trying to put back on. I keep trying to get wound up and clothed in them when I need to be unraveling and casting them off for good. I am a new man, a new creation, a resurrected life. I need to turn away from yielding to temporary fixes and tempting bandaids that provide fleeting satisfaction and go straight for the real stuff, the living water, the antidote.
My complaining and crying and begging as my life sinks lower and lower and further and further into despair and brokenness has not changed my crumbled circumstances, and yet God has been there all along with outstretched hands that were pierced for me. The bottom line is, I’ve been selfish. And while my heart bleeds, contracts and hemorrhages over what’s happened to me, it does not change the fact that God is on the throne, that He holds all things together, that what’s fallen apart will be redeemed in time and will be used and fall into place, nothing wasted, but only in retrospect. He has never given me any reason not to trust Him, it is my doubts and my struggles and my circumstances that have faltered my faith. But perhaps that’s because my belief has been sustained by feelings and blessings, and God has been at work to make my faith bigger than that, to make it permanent. If He truly is working all things out for my good and His glory, I should rest knowing He won’t deny me the very desires and love He’s specifically placed within me.
This relationship we’re in has been rocky and unsteady, only He has never wavered while I’ve squirmed with panic. Nevertheless, despite my fears, anxiety, lack of trust, immense doubts, weariness, sadness, depression and unbearable heartache, I am still compelled by His cross and His love and the Master Story He’s told and is continuing to tell.
All I’m asking for is peace, a renewed mind, the ability to know and believe in my heart that “it is well” and that God’s not going to leave me hanging, that He does have a plan and a purpose, job, community and companion for me. I need to believe that everything can be redeemed, and that I’m going to fall in love with someone someday who would never let me go, no matter what. All this time I have been asking, begging, pleading for a clear path, a new direction, and yet God has had me on it all along. Through the darkest and most challenging moments of my life, this is the way to permanent faith.