Monday, July 11, 2016

Take Heart When Life Goes Against You

Bear with me in reading the following long quote:
“In the walk of faith there is a sound that is impossible for us to get used to; it often comes abruptly, and it always happens surprisingly.  It’s inaudible, but it is powerful.  And most of us can name specific places and times in our lives when we heard that sound.  And I’m referring to the sound that occurs when God closes a door.  The thing that makes it most difficult is that we usually misinterpret that sound.  It often comes on the heels of a strong commitment to obedience, being filled with the Spirit, going through a season of prayer, often over weeks of time, followed by hard work, diligent effort, the counsel of others… and then SLAM, that door shuts.  And to make it even more difficult, following the closing of the door, there’s silence, deafening silence… God’s silence.”
— Charles R. Swindoll, When God Closes a Door
You are not in control of your life, no matter how much you insist you are.  Yes, this particularly applies to those who hate God.  God proves that He controls everything.  And that doesn’t make anyone happy, including Christians.  But it’s a fact.  Christians and non-Christians need to get used to it.
Nobody likes it.  The non-Christian says, “Yes, there you go, a ‘loving’ God would not let good people suffer!”  The Christian says, “But, I’ve been living a good and godly life; and now this!”  For the Christian, lament is permissible.  But lament is worse than a waste of time for the non-Christian, because they complain to others and end up with a bad name.  The Christian rails against God, to God, and finds that God allows such railing — in fact, He designed it.  It’s an important kind of prayer.  But that, in itself, doesn’t seem to help much in the midst of anguish… only later is it seen to have helped.
There are times in our lives when, for no apparent reason, a door slams closed.  At such times life’s so unfair.  Our misfortune runs counter to what we expect.  And then, silence?  From God?  We wonder what that’s about.  We imagine some of our Atheist friends having a chuckle; not that we’re suffering, but that God is somehow proven (in their eyes at least) to be impotent.  But what they don’t count on is our faith — that backs a faithful God.  Such a faith proves that God does in fact exist, just as such a faith inspires an acceptance for something nobody can change — life, in the ultimate sense, is beyond anyone’s control.
So if we would pursue a real faith we must know that such a faith can only be procured in the testing.  When life goes against us.  Otherwise faith is window dressing.
Take heart when life goes against you.  God is for you, necessarily in His silence, in fortifying your faith.
He chose us.  We must choose Him.  When He’s silent.  And if at the first sign of vacuous darkness we depart, we choose comfort from a liar, because there’s no comfort in darkness without faith in the Lord.
The ultimate expression of faith is choosing to be still before God when He’s silent.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.

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