Taken in part from CarePages, April 16, 2010
“Who is this who darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?”
What is it in our nature that makes us think we should be privy to understanding? Is it some remnant of the forbidden fruit? That grievous lie that led mankind to believe they could be equal to God by their own volition?
As those who have been reborn, who have supposedly died to our old delusions of divinity, we are commanded to abandon the ways of the world, including our old way of thinking, and surrender completely to The Spirit, letting Him live through us.
Yet, when we face the trials that are intrinsic to our new life (God didn’t say we MIGHT have trials, He said we WOULD) we demand to know why, confounded and even angered when we don’t get all the answers.
Some take solace in the fact that they may find out “someday.” Even though we were given Job to show us how it is, we still seem to think we are entitled to know the mind of God. Are we better than Job? More obedient? Humble? Righteous? Has anyone suffered more that Job? Is anyone more deserving of understanding? I know I’m not. And what was God’s answer to Job?
“Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
To what were its foundations fastened?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
“Or who shut in the sea with doors,
When it burst forth and issued from the womb;
When I made the clouds its garment,
And thick darkness its swaddling band;
When I fixed My limit for it,
And set bars and doors;
When I said,
‘This far you may come, but no farther,
And here your proud waves must stop!’”
And that was just the beginning! He goes on for four chapters! Is God some pompous, power mongering, egomaniac? No. God is God. In His own words,
“The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”—Exodus 34:6-8
God knows exactly who He is and what His place is. It is His desire that we know ours. So, what is that? Given that we were created by Him for His glory, apart from Him, we have no place or purpose. That is why it is so vital that we relinquish our own desire to know the mind of God, and instead, seek to know His heart.
If indeed we have died with Christ, then we are DEAD. If indeed we have been resurrected with Christ, it is not we who live, but Christ who lives within us. It is no longer what we want, but what He wants. It is no longer what we need, but what He needs.
It is no longer our will, but His will.
Likewise, it is no longer our skills, or power, or responsibility to accomplish any of it, but His. Who we are, as children of God, are extensions of Him. Parts of His body.
When your mind tells your arm to reach out and catch a falling child, does your arm say, “Why? I don’t understand. What’s the point?” Does it instead, reach out and slap the child?
Some of us know the grief and chaos that results when parts of our bodies forsake unity under the guidance of our minds and decide to act on their own will. Peace no longer reigns and the whole body feels the effects. In a healthy body, the arm does what is it told, and every member of the body is at peace and filled with joy.
God’s word tells us over and over that what the world calls a curse, the body of Christ calls a blessing. Peter says,
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”—1 Peter 4:12-13
Some would say this refers only to persecution, but Christ suffered every trial, physical and emotional, that we do on earth.
James tells us to,
“Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”—James 1:2-4
Just as Christ’s suffering glorified God, so too does ours. It is His way of showing the world that He alone can save us. He alone provides the faith, courage, and strength to persevere. And as part of His body, when He is glorified, we share in that.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”—Romans 8:28
The fact that He loves us and has a purpose for everything should be enough.
When we see another believer suffering, our first instinct is to say, “I’m so sorry you have to go through this . . .” That’s what the world says. But the world doesn’t know God. I feel the pain of others very deeply. Even Jesus wept at the sorrow of His friends. My family can testify to the tears I shed for you. But who am I to apologize for God? Who am I to devalue the great work He is doing in His body?
In Job 40, God tells Job,
“Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it . . . Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?”
If we indeed serve a sovereign God, should we not say in the face of suffering, “Though my heart hurts for you, I praise God for showing you His favor and making provision for you. What can I do to help you through this?”
These words may sound harsh to some. You may say, that’s easy for you to say, you’ve obviously never watched your child, or loved one die. You were healed of cancer, what would you know about suffering?
But I have watched both my child and my grandma die, and those of you who have followed my story from the beginning know that I have been spared nothing. Nor do I expect to be spared. I am no better than Christ, why should I?
But this is in no way a criticism or judgment. I tell you these things that your joy may be made complete in Him. That you would know the peace that passes understanding. Truly know it. This is what God has laid on my heart, and I must be faithful to it.
“But His word was in my heart like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
I was weary of holding it back,
And I could not.”—Jeremiah 20:9
Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Not just those in perfect health with perfect marriages, and families, and finances, but ALL who believe. But we cannot be partial partakers in the Kingdom. We cannot be both of the world and of the Spirit.
If we truly believe in God, we must believe His Word in its entirety, no matter how incredulous it sounds to the world. Knowledge impedes faith. And the only thing God commands us to understand is His Word. His heart.
When we turn our eyes from the world and earnestly seek His heart, He will give us all the faith we need to receive His will. His blessings. And we will finally know true peace and unbounded joy. We will finally be free.
God’s grace and peace be yours,