Monday, February 18, 2008

Maelstrom













Part Two


So, I got to thinking.

This is what occurred to me: can it be that God actually means what he says? I’m not joking! Most of us live our lives as if God doesn’t exist or if he is, he’s totally impotent. Why is that the case? Because, if we get down to the real nitty-gritty, when we cry out to God and he doesn’t appear to hear, when we feel lost, abandoned or alone, when we are stressed out, burdened to the limit and weighed down by the cares of the world and we succumb to discouragement, depression or disillusionment, what we are actually saying is that God (pick one):

didn’t tell the truth when He said He’d supply all my needs

doesn’t care about me

likes to see me suffer

can’t relate to what I’m going through

is teaching me a lesson

can’t work because of my unbelief

etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum
Let’s face it: if God really did care, he wouldn’t leave me in this mess! He’d rescue me! He’d scoop me up like Superman! Where is He when I need him most?

So – getting back to the sad fact that I couldn’t think of even one Christian who has really learned consistently how to overcome in the maelstrom of the battle…

This is what occurred to me: can it be that God, who promised that ALL things work together for the good for those who love the Lord, is allowing these soul-sapping battles to buffet us over and over because He wants us to discover a mystery? Why does He say things like, "Do not be alarmed at the fiery trials…", "Endure hardship as a soldier of the cross", "Count it all joy when…"? Is He advising us just to think happy thoughts, like a big celestial Pollyanna? Or could there actually be a solution we have not yet seen?

I’m beginning to wonder if the reason we get repeatedly buffeted is so that we’ll finally get sick and tired of getting sucked into the maelstrom and learn to fight! Do you remember the scene in "Christmas Story", when Ralphie finally exacts revenge on the neighbourhood bully? That victory accomplished something in his soul!

I don’t believe for one second that God wants us to pretend our struggles don’t exist (that would be stupid). On the contrary, I think that He is trying to teach us that we don’t need to get sucked into the vortex of bewilderment and despair when we sense white water approaching. How? In times of desperation, we need to declare God’s truth. I see this as an act of warfare. What is this truth? The truth is, HIS life indwells us! HE is the victor, the mighty champion. HE said we could do all things through Christ who strengthens us. By declaring the truth, we acknowledge the absolute perfection and holiness of HIS character. He IS good. He DOES love.

Declaring the truth is not without precedent, but it does come with a price. Satan approached Jesus at his worst moment, when he was famished and weak after his fast in the wilderness. What did Jesus do? Despite how he felt, despite how easy it would have been to give in, Jesus consistently declared the truth…and the scriptures say the devil departed from him! Accordingly, as we do the same, no matter how bad things may appear, our minds will be transformed as we deliberately flood the darkness of our soul with light. This will not be easy. We’ve spent our entire lives inclining our ear to the voice of the enemy (see #s 1 to 7 above).

As I said, I don’t know a single Christian who has broken through this spiritual sound barrier. The enemy of our soul is intent on keeping us from discovering the truth of the power of Jesus’ spirit indwelling us; consequently, many of us are filled with despair and anxiety to the core. However, God does not judge us for our failures. The following excerpt from "The Shack" by Paul Young illustrates this:
(God speaking)

"Remember, Mackenzie, I don’t wonder what you will do or what choices you will make. I already know. Let’s say, for example, I am trying to teach you how not to hide inside of lies…And let’s say that I know it will take you forty-seven situations and events before you will actually hear me – that is, before you will hear clearly enough to agree with me and change. So, when you don’t hear me the first time, I’m not frustrated or disappointed. I’m thrilled. Only forty-six more times to go. And that first time will be a building block to construct a bridge of healing that one day – that today – you will walk across."

As for me, I trust I am beginning to "hear clearly enough to agree with [God] and change" so that when I sense the next maelstrom approaching, I’ll learn, by allowing my mind to be transformed to the truth, how to avoid getting sucked into the vortex.

Margi

3 comments:

Dave A. said...

You beautifully declared the truth without posing pat answers. Thanks, Sis.

Dave

Kent said...

I think a lot of this hinges on our identity (what we know about our position with Father).

Jesus didn't have an identity problem in any sense. He knew who he was, he knew his father and trusted him totally, and in turn he knew what that meant as far as the place he occupied every moment, whether in the midst of difficult trials or just having a chat with his friends.

Dave A. said...

But the battle for our minds is still a real battle whether we're sure of our identity in Him or not. Storms will continue with that desire to drown and destroy us. We are to have faith in Him who overcomes in us while we agree to allow Him to have His way with us. Just adding some ponderances.