“Jacob was utterly helpless and, without God, utterly hopeless. He felt the full bitterness of his unscrupulous, cynical ways, now come home to roost. He had hitherto been self-reliant, believing himself to be more than a match for anything that might come, but now he felt complete inability to handle things, and he knew with blinding, blazing certainty that never again dare he trust himself to look after himself and to carve out his destiny. Never again dare he try to live by his wits.” —J.I. Packer, Knowing God
I don’t know why it’s so difficult for me to just give into God, especially now, when it seems like, already, the year is weighing down on me. While reading the above book, I looked up this reference:
“All in vain I have kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning…” (Psalm 73:13, 14, ESV)
In other words “God, I’ve been doing everything right, striving to do what You want and pursuing You as You’ve desired, but I’m struck down and knocked over and pushed around not just by the people around me but by Satan and temptation and everything! What’s the point?’
But the Psalm doesn’t end there…
“But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end…” (v. 16,17)
“When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward You. Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me to glory…My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (v.21-24,26)
So even though the Psalmist (who happens to be Asaph) was bitter and cynical and frustrated with his situation, he remembered God’s promises, the way that God came and loved him and brought him into His saving light. Even though things outside of God and His love and influence look way better than the struggle you’re going through, Asaph is here to remind us all that this is so not true. Everything in the world might seem nice, but you know, whether from your own experience or from someone else’s experience, that apple is poisonous.
Ya know what I was thinking about today as I struggled with all sorts of spiritual nonsense? I thought of 1 Peter 5:8-9, which says “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
Oh! You mean I’m not the only Christian girl wading through the crazy waters of attending a secular college?
No, Hunter. No, you’re not.
So, maybe you’re one of the many Christians who are going through this, or maybe your struggle is completely different. I can honestly say, whatever it is, you can be sure God has you safely tucked away in the shelter of His hands. I know you might feel alone, or you might feel like none of it’s really worth it. But it is. It really is. If nothing else, you’re an encouragement to me, part of the brotherhood going through what you’re going through. If you’re a Christian in a not-so-Christian environment, whether it be college, work, home, or elsewhere, I’m so glad that you’re there, because that is by far the perfect place to grow in your faith, and you can be sure that God will use it to grow you more than you ever thought possible.
It’s funny. A while back, I prayed a prayer similar to Psalm 139:23,24, which says, quite boldly, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” In other words, “Lord, scoop out all of everything that doesn’t glorify You, and replace it with what You want, because I want my faith to be genuine, and I want You.”
Well, I don’t have much of anything. Sure, I’m very grateful for the things I do have, but as a college student, I learned real quick just how little I actually have in terms of possessions, food, money, etc. Meanwhile, many wonderful things that I never thought would happen are happening, from the internship to friendships to growth to the wonderful thing I talked about a week or so ago. So while God has swept away my physical security as well as some of the things I’ve been depending on emotionally, He’s putting in its place security in Him and in His love and sovereignty and omniscience.
Honestly, a fear of mine, as it was last year, is tasting the world and turning away from God for good, completely leaving my faith and following the ebb and flow of everyone around me. But as I think about all the things that God has done and everything that He is, how can I possibly believe that He would let me go so easily? After fighting so hard, after giving His son and going to such lengths to secure my clinging to and growing in and falling in love with Him, do I honestly think He’s going to leave me? Even if I do fail, even if I do fall, God will still love me, He’ll still claim me, and I’ll still be with Him when all of this is over. Also, I’ve tasted the world, and it’s awfully bitter.
Today I was a bit sore from my rumble and tumble yesterday, and I was exhausted, which, apparently, is also a side effect of near-death experiences. After French Class (which God gave me the energy to thrive in) I ate lunch with Bree and then headed back to the dorm to steal a nap. After a long rest, I opened up a few books. I’ve got it figured out: I’m at present reading seven different books. The one I opened up today is The Master Plan of Evangelism by Dr. Robert E. Coleman, foreword written by Billy Graham. So yes. Lots of reading…all the time…every day.
I finished some homework, grabbed dinner, skyped with mom, gained perspective on life and on chameleons, and that was the day. I have to say, I’m kind of glad today was rather uneventful when I consider what yesterday was like. But I love the adventure of a life God has given me, even on the days that seem ordinary. I have to remember that every day is made and woven, stitch by stitch with the needle of time, by God, and that each day is always extraordinary, even if it’s just because He made it 🙂
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” —Galatians 6:9