Sunday, April 29, 2007

what do you do when the lord is wrong?

All to Jesus, I surrender. All I want is you Lord.

Ever said, or sang, those sorts of things? If so, be prepared. I have noticed something over the years. It is not a certainty but a very strong tendency that eventually happens in the life of Christians. You may find yourself in a situation where what God asks is absolutely wrong for you. That is, to follow God is something you absolutely do not want to do. It could be something that you view as making you miserable for the rest of your life or denying you something you view essential; something without which you will be miserable.

Let me give some examples. A person wants a divorce and can see only a life of misery if the marriage continues. Maybe someone has an opportunity for a job, money, love, or whatever, but the Lord says no. In fact, there is absolutely no doubt that the Lord says no. It is a time when you know you have to make a choice between following the Lord and having any hope for some sort of satisfying life. You'd rather be dead than do what the Lord asks.

I am not talking about an addiction or compulsion. I am not referring to sin fueled by sudden passion. I am not talking about something you don’t want to do but end up doing anyway. I am talking about something you really want more than anything. Something you do not intend to regret. It is not a decision you will slide into unknowingly, but a conscious, purposeful decision.

You start with the “yeah buts.” You read or hear the Word of the Lord and comeback with “Yeah but....” “Yeah, but what about him or her? He did that. She did this. Yeah but they didn’t have to do…. It is not my fault. It is not fair. Yeah, but I do not deserve this. I’m tired of this....” Your reasons are solid but the Lord does not seem to be receptive. You may be right in all you say, but God seems extremely closed-minded on the subject.

He just isn’t listening.

People may say you must have faith and things will eventually be good. However, what you hear from the Lord is not the statement “I will deliver you if you trust me,” but more as if he is asking, “What if I don’t? Will you trust me?”

You know this is a major crossroads in your life. God is very real to you. Yet, God wants you to do or not do something and he does not seem to care about how hurt you are or how hurt you will be. This is tough, double tough. Sure, you won’t lose your salvation but you know that you would be purposely turning your back on God. You are seriously considering walking away from him and you know that if you do, then you can’t sing those songs on Sunday morning without being a total hypocrite. What makes it worse, you are right: you really will be a hypocrite. You may fake it for others but you will know. The result is emotional estrangement: you will distance yourself and not have a close relationship with God.

The Lord may make the conditions so bad that no matter how strong you are, you find yourself pushed to that special place designed just for you where your strength is not enough to bear what the Lord asks. There is no desire left in you to want to follow God, at least not under these conditions. Those songs you sang about loving and following Jesus seem pretty hollow, pretty hypocritical. (They probably were anyway, but you didn’t know it.)

What are you going to do? Now you don’t have even the strength to follow God. You can walk away from God in your own strength or choose a path where you are helpless and have zero strength. However, if you cry out to him to enable you to follow him, then there is good news. You will end up in a very special place in God. He will deliver you to place you never wanted to be. You will no longer be able to rely on your own strength because you have found out it really isn’t worth much. This is good. You also end up resting in God’s strength because you know you can’t trust in your own. This is very good.

If you haven’t experienced it, then it is hard to understand. You know without a doubt how weak you are and how virtually faithless you are. You also get to know what it means to really rest in the Lord’s strength, how what faith you have is not of yourself but a gift from God. There is no room for boasting. You understand it is not your righteousness but the righteousness of God in you. You finally understand how God’s strength is made perfect in your weakness. You thought you understood those things before but now you really begin to understand the upside down world of being in Christ.

Is it worth it? Is the humiliation, the stripping away of anything you thought was good in you, and the realization that God needs nothing in you, a good thing? No, it is an awful experience. The journey stinks and even the destination doesn’t appear so good until after you get there. Trusting God is not always enjoyable, but the destination is something you have to experience to appreciate.

Job said, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him." Will you trust him even if he has you live through it?

Yeah it’s worth it, but you won’t know that until later.

Who is your Lord?

Yeah, it is worth it.

Be blessed.

1 comment:

Darlene Sinclair said...

Our honeymoon was, pardon the expression, hell on earth. Really. I sat in the corner of our hotel room the first morning crying alone before he woke up. I will spare you all the awful details because it is painful for my husband to remember, but I will say that as I sat there in tears before the Lord there was no question in my heart that divorce was no option (yes, it was that bad already...)

As if it were yesterday, I recall saying to the Lord, "I know I am in this for good, and if I have a life this miserable for the rest of my years, so be it. I will trust You alone."

The next year and a half were as miserable as I had imagined. We were hard-headed individuals (if you know us you can imagine that to be true.) I am grateful now for the binding covenant that marriage is - God knew He would need superglue in order to make this thing work.

Years later, because there was no other option in God's economy, our relationship is a treasure to us and to Him - a testimony of His grace. He loves marriage, and yes, He will help us in it.

It is the same with anything in God. If we trust that He knows why He has commanded something, we will experience the proof and reason in time. It may be weeks, months, or years of walking in faith without seeing that proof or reason, but it will be revealed in time.

His ways are so much higher...

Thanks for the reminder that surrender always costs us something, but the dividends are so much greater in the end.