I don’t know if everybody who reads this boring sub-standard blog is saved, so this may not make sense to everybody, but coming across as senseless has never stopped me before, right? So here it goes…
Have you gone thru periods in your life where you feel like you’re sleeping? Christians do this. Generally it happens under a couple of different circumstances. Sometimes it’s because life is too easy; the world is comfortable – or the world is a downright lovely and precious place and we hope nothing happens to come in and mess up our plans.
Or… there are times when severe trials hit, maybe relationships are torn asunder and the foundation of your existence suddenly feels like you’re trying to cross an ocean of Jello. (I would wish my Jello Ocean to be cherry, because honestly, all other flavors are pointless) Or perhaps war has broken out or the economy has flattened you, or your children have become unrecognizable or somebody you love dearly has died.
There are times in a Christian’s life when existence boils down to mere survival. And during these times you will either feel an overwhelming presence of God’s love and peace, or you will feel entirely alone. Drowning. Groping. Blind. Lost.
Are you a better Christian if you feel ‘peace and love’ during the times of trial? No. Not at all. How do I know this? Just take a look at some of the Psalms that David wrote begging God to refresh and renew and to save him. Look also to Job. Talk about feeling empty and clueless. God was still ever present and knew exactly what was going on.
And it’s during these times you may start questioning your salvation, or even questioning the existence of God. I mean, let’s face it; there really are circumstances that happen which seem so random, so destructive, so pointlessly harmful…
But here’s the good news. If you claim Christ – or more accurately stated, if Christ has called you, then He absolutely *has* you. You are tethered directly to Him. He’s got you in a harness and if you start skipping towards a cliff and begin playing at the edge of the precipice, He is going to yank you right back from the brink of ‘death’. He will. If you are saved then you belong to Him. He is the author and perfector of our Faith. That means he created (authored) your faith and He will perfect your faith. He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. Don’t believe me? Check Philippians 1:6.
He has strong hands – strong enough to hold even you and your weird problems. If you are tempted to doubt Him, I understand that. But don’t stop there. Plead with Him to reveal himself; truly humble yourself and resign yourself to wait patiently. Americans don’t know how to be patient. We think a few days of suffering, or a few weeks, several months or even years ‘prove’ God’s unconcern for us. No. You have let your American upbringing cloud reality.
I’m going to leave you with two more hard things to hear. First of all, if you are going through trying times, do not be amazed. No seriously. Don’t be surprised. In Philippians chapter one (again) God says the believer is granted two things. We’re actually granted a lot of things, but in Philippians chapter 1 we’re specifically reminded of TWO things that he’s given us as a gift. Know what they are? The first gift he granted us is “belief in Him”. We didn’t fumble around and dig that up on our own. He gave us the very BELIEF we needed in order to receive salvation. Yes, mind blowing, I know. But you know what else the believer is granted? I’ll just write it out so you can see for yourself:
Philippians 1:26 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him, but also suffer for his sake
How’dya like them apples?
So, my friends, don’t be amazed if your life is hard. Be amazed if it’s not. Be a little nervous if it’s not.
Secondly, consider the possibility that you may not be saved. You believe in Christ? Good for you. Even the demons believe in the existence of God and they shudder (James chapter 1), what makes your ‘belief’ different?
In 2nd Corinthians 13:5 it says, Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless you are disqualified.
Yikes times two.
Again, the good news is that if you have been called by God, you will persevere because He will make you persevere. Stop being afraid. Stop getting distracted. Examine your life. Stop rushing into sin that you know you have no business being involved with. Repent and fully give your life to Him.
Turn to Him even if it doesn’t “feel” like He’s there. How do you know if you’re saved? Look at the fruit in your life. Do you love Him? Are you willing to forsake the world for Him? If you feel like you’re coming up short then cry out to Him in your weakness. He knows you’re pathetic. He made you, remember? He is strong in your weakness because that’s when you realize how much you can’t fiddle around and make things work by your own efforts. That’s actually good news.
Lord, sometimes it’s so easy to ‘fall asleep at the wheel’. These are hard times for so many. God help us to see you. Help us to understand your glory and our own insignificance. Flatten our pride, Lord. Forgive us for trying to find the answers on our own. Help us to be patient in affliction. Give us a love – a true love – for our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Give us a passion to reach out and minister to others whether or not we’re suffering or prospering. Thank you for loving us; thank you for your kindness. Help us to live a life that’s worthy of your calling.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him
And for those of us who are not suffering thru a trial at the moment. Thank God for this time of rest and strengthening. Minister to those who feel crushed and overwhelmed or who have real needs. Do not grow weary in doing good. Don’t waste times of strength. Use it to serve the body of Christ.