“As I prayed,” Corrie remembered later, “a great joy filled my heart. How wonderful it was to speak to the Lord together, to give expression to our common need! Never before had I prayed as now. There was so much sorrow among these prisoners, who had had to leave husbands and children and other loved ones behind, and above whose heads still hung so dire a threat. And I spoke to One who understood, who knew us and loved us. On Him I cast all our burdens.” Corrie led the next Sunday’s service.
Wherever loss led me, deep within I somehow knew that Jesus would still be there. Too exhausted mentally and emotionally to grip faith myself, I discovered that Another—the focus of my faith—had always been gripping me. God reminded me that faith was not my creation. He was “the author and perfecter” of my faith (Hebrews 12:2). And His breath would sustain my faith even when my mind could not and my emotions would not. Through the friend of disillusionment, I lost the illusion of a self-created faith and gained the reality of a faith-imparting God. The picnic table became an altar as my fear gave way to something far more satisfying than answers: the living, ever-giving love of God. He would, in the words of King David, “keep my lamp burning” (Psalm 18:28). Which meant that I never, ever needed to be afraid when the lights went out.
As Oswald Chambers said, “Faith in God is a terrific venture in the dark.”
Indeed. What a relief! Our nights are normal.
God can use our discipline however he wants. Our job is to faithfully lay those bricks — even though it sometimes seems to take the mortar a long time to set. Your discipline might be messy, but it is never fruitless. God will always glorify Himself through our obedience.
Rather than viewing toddlers as a hammer meant to smash our wills to mother with excellence, may we see them as a form of holy sandpaper, which smooths our sharp tongues and softens our harsh reactions, leaving behind a pliable heart poised toward the truth of God’s mercy, goodness, and love for every sinner, young and old.
Knowing God as a friend is far more complex than knowing any human being, and God is far more exalted than any human being we might admire. So we find ourselves completely dependent on God’s willingness to teach us about himself. Otherwise we will only ever know him at a great distance (with the kind of knowledge of God as described in Romans 1:19-21). But in his love for us, God has stooped down to reveal himself to us as he truly is — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — so that we can really know him. We will never know everything there is to know about God; he is too great, and we are finite. But we can know him truly, because God the Father teaches us by sending his Son, by giving us the Bible, and by illuminating our understanding through the work of the Holy Spirit inside every believer. Through those means God doesn’t merely teach us information about himself but genuinely causes us to know him as a friend.
What matters is not profound spiritual experiences, though we thank God when they occur. What matters is that we remain awake to God’s ever-present reality every moment, however trivial these moments might otherwise seem.
What are you reading these days?