Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The Persevering God
God is zealous. He perseveres. (Is that why He puts such a high premium on endurance, to make us more like Him?) He presses. He nudges. He makes plain. If you wish, He will allow you to go around a stubborn heart problem again and again, but that is not His want. His stated goal: Freedom. No chains on His kids. Total, reckless, glorious trust that brings bold liberty. He provides the fertile soil of circumstances to test the reality of our faith in Him. All the lip service, bible quoting, and church attendance in this wide world don’t mean a thing if the heart is still pulled up short by unbelief. It’s a mercy, really, the pain of trouble. It’s like the rubbing wound on an animal chained up too long in the same spot. It starts to really hurt, and finally gets the poor creature the attention it needs.
It was in my youngest days as a little tomboy from Indian Orchard,
that the infection of fear began dividing cells that have festered over many years. Perhaps it started when my mother was taken away in a straight jacket and began what would become the remainder of her life as a captive to full blown schizophrenia, lost to her home, her family and even herself. I was in grammar school when the terror began: the acid drip into my stomach, the tightening of my jaw, the potent, ferocious self reliance and determination to protect my 2 younger brothers. No one can be trusted. Nothing is reliable. Mother is gone. Father works 3-11. It’s my job to take care of these boys. Alone. Afraid. At 10 years old. So began The Great Insecurity. Survive or die. So was forged the first link in a very long chain of anxiety and mistrust. Massachusetts
A few weeks ago, dear husband Smitty lost his job and became one more among the millions of casualties of a rugged economy. But there is nothing random about this trial: We believe in the 100% sovereignty of God. There are issues in both of our fallen natures that are being wrested out by this particular suffering. Going through dear daughter being missing in January (that’s another story), and going through the continued fallout of the car accident 2 years ago (that’s another story too…see
http://www.steveandhannahsmith.blogspot.com/), we are familiar with pain. But here’s the thing…the twisting, the churning, the dread, all these are the incarnation of the captivity within, the imprisonment God has zealously worked to free me from lo these many years. I’ve been around this mountain way too many times, and I’m tired of it. I know my Jesus is God of all…Lord Eternal, Omniscient, Omnipresent, All Powerful. So what the heck am I doing living in anxiety? It’s no coincidence that I’m studying the book of James right now. Listen to this profound truth:
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12
And I think… I think I may be getting it. What the enemy of my soul is working hard to thwart, God is doing by His gracious hand. Today I was able to look up at the sky, and feel the warm day on my skin, and be grateful. I am not saying I never roil, but there is something releasing in me. Ironically, I’m almost afraid to make it public lest I fall on my face again. But I must declare the goodness of God in this hard place. Because if He is not God here, He is not God at all. James also says:
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. DO what it says.” (capitals mine). James 1:22
The word says not to be anxious about anything. The word says to trust in my Faithful Creator. The word says my God shall supply all my needs. The word says fear NOT. If I want the freedom my Sweet Jesus died for me to have, I must do the word, not talk about it. This is an ongoing work of the Holy Spirit. His will for me and you is total and complete liberty. He is zealous. He perseveres. And so must we.
Your friend on the pilgrim road,