As I was reading Oswald Chambers today, I cringed, because I could still taste this lesson in my soul. You see it is easy to repeat those words and feel good about ourselves. It is easy to get all sentimental thinking, ‘I have His promise for ever He will not forsake me no matter what.’ Then we go on with a false assurance thinking that everything is be “groovy”. I know it because until I understood Salvation from God’s point of view, if someone would have told me that there was more to it than feeling good about reading these things, I would have been very unhappy. Why? Because when we live in our ignorance, it is not that we do not know something is missing, but we do not dare go deeper to find out what is missing. Somehow in our mind we convince ourselves to remain just where we are and live with some kind of emotional Christianity all the while convincing ourselves that God is satisfied and all is well.
Imagine my surprise during the wilderness time that I was experiencing with Him, a time where my soul was already isolated, wounded, and hollow. I found out it was important to Him that these beautiful words I so treasure in my head and felt so good about, had to make their way to my heart. Frankly, I could not understand what God’s problem was since I was feeling so good when I read these things? Just the fact that they made me feel so good toward Him should be enough for Him. Besides, nobody ever told me there was another layer to it, so why was the Holy Spirit rocking my boat?
You see, true Christianity demands that those words, enter our heads, go down to our hearts, where the Holy Spirit weave them in us. At that time, God made me experience the coolness of having ears in our hearts. I remember saying, wow! I have ears in my heart. Since this experience persisted and I woke up the next morning as if someone had put my ears in my heart and those two ears I have attached to my head, were completely irrelevant. In fact they were useless to God. Then I ask Him “why is it I only hear with my heart?” That’s when the Spirit explained things to me. Suffice to say I lived out three awesome days where I could have been deaf and it would not have mattered to me because I had a different set of ears which I found out is part of the new heart.
There is a big difference between hearing with our heads and hearing with our hearts. The Pharisees who missed out on Christ, one of their problems was that the word of God could never take root within. All they possessed of their religion, was part of their intellect and they felt holier than thou, yet, that was enough for them. This is us today, if we insist living shallow lives and never let the Holy Spirit move freely in our lives. Again, the Israelites in the wilderness missed out on God’s blessings because they could not get that. Notice that every time they finished enjoying a blessing of God, He then tested them. They never passed one single test, because everything was at the level of their heads and emotions.
When I lost everything in the wilderness, only one friend offered me a place to stay until I get back on my feet. Somehow I knew that’s not what God had in mind for me and He kept telling me in my heart where He wanted me to go. At that time, it defied logic that God would send me to live with one of the meanest person I know. Yet, it was amazing in the way it happened; I did not have to beg. Soon, I found out God intended to test my heart whether I believe or not that He will never forsake me. As far as I was concerned that was the wrong timing because too much was going on in my life at once. But, God did not care.
Imagine having to live in a place where you are constantly reminded where the doors are? Imagine when you act as if you do not understand, it was spelled out for you over and over again? The daily roller coaster, the emotional torture and the fear of being on the streets were enough to drive me crazy. All the while God was making sure I knew that going to my friend’s place who invited me few months back, was not an option. I went through this for months with the wrong attitude and wrong beliefs. God was waiting for me to get to the right place, in the meantime, the Holy Spirit was working out salvation in other parts of me, within me. When over a year has passed and I had the same problem to deal with, the stress of this life was killing me. Only then, I was willing to HEAR God. You see, I was too busy feeling sorry for myself and what my life has become. Too busy feeling the pain of the true Christian life and too busy reassuring myself with the wrong Bible verses, to hear what He was trying to accomplish in me and with me.
All He wanted was for me to change my attitude, stop fearing the idea of being homeless, and trust that He is in control. He wanted me to stop worrying. Yet, He offered no other assurance that if I stop fearing the idea of being homeless, I was not going to be homeless. Then, He made me understand that if I could not find peace through knowing that He is truly God, He is in control, and let go of my life in His care even when I do not understand. If I could not stop being afraid of the outcome where it seemed that nothing was to my advantage, and the end result was humiliation and dying on the streets, that would mean to Him that His word does not matter to me. It would mean to Him that I do not trust Him and I do not have faith in Him.
Through this lesson I learned two things. When we can see the circumstances of our lives through His eyes, it is because the word of God has made its way through the heart, it is no longer at the level of the intellect and the emotion. Secondly, when we set out to obey His word through our circumstances, we make the decision to trust and have complete faith and no matter what He decides for us, it is well with the soul, then the impartation process takes place.
When I made the decision to stop being afraid, just trust Him in whatever He decided for me in this situation I was in, I knew the worst could happen to me. I also had to find a peaceful way to live with it. When you find that peaceful way, it is all well with your soul, because you stop claiming and fighting for your rights (dying to self.) You stop feeding the self, the flesh. By the way, this is part of the process of discipleship that Christ was talking about in luke 14:33 and it is also salvation being worked out in your soul. I truly hope through this you can see why salvation cannot be separated from sanctification and discipleship process. Anyway, as you stop claiming your rights to self, you realize, you actually stepped into the new life you have in Him. As you deal with these trials and circumstances, His way, those words like “He will never leave me, nor forsake me” become the fibber of who you are and what you are made of, because He works them out in you.
As I grew more and more spiritually, I found out these circumstances as I shared above, were only basic faith being worked out in me. When it comes to working out salvation in us, God usually kills 100’s of birds with one stone. Here is the kicker, you find that every day is a challenge to live out this life truly knowing in your heart and soul, that He will never leave you nor forsake you. Every day is an opportunity to truly trust and have faith In Him!
“I will never . . . forsake you.” Sometimes it is not the difficulty of life but the drudgery of it that makes me think God will forsake me. When there is no major difficulty to overcome, no vision from God, nothing wonderful or beautiful— just the everyday activities of life— do I hear God’s assurance even in these?
We have the idea that God is going to do some exceptional thing— that He is preparing and equipping us for some extraordinary work in the future. But as we grow in His grace we find that God is glorifying Himself here and now, at this very moment. If we have God’s assurance behind us, the most amazing strength becomes ours, and we learn to sing, glorifying Him even in the ordinary days and ways of life.
Courtesy of: http://utmost.org/