October 14, 2013
It’s amazing what honesty before God produces. When you bring before him a plate full of questions, which are hugely influenced by our finite understanding and fickle human emotions —things like, “when, Lord?”, “How is that possible?, “But why?”, He answers without invalidating your feelings. What I mean is, He carefully shows you, “Look, child. You do not understand. Here, let me help you sort out your perspective of things.” And just like that, you’ve got your answers. Well, sort of.
I started this day very early. Our driver came in at 4:00 am for a morning chartered trip at five. When he left, I doze off to wonderland until my alarm rang an hour later. I didn’t get up yet; the bed was asking for more time, the cool weather was confirming it. By the time I got up, I had an hour or so before the day begins. I quietly prayed to the Lord to search my heart and to help me understand. My question before Him was, “Can I really find comfort in Your Word?”
The enemy would have us believe otherwise. He would suggest other things to find comfort other than the Word. Yesterday, I was there. I was at that point where I honestly thought there was little comfort the Word could give me in regards to what I was particularly feeling and where I was at this point in my life. My emotions really got the best of me. Instead of feeling joyful, hopeful and at peace, I was in despair, I felt alone, lonely, left behind. I blurted out words like, “Have you forgotten me, Lord?”, “How will this pan out, exactly?” and “is there still a good future to hope for?” I was trying my best not to doubt nor give in to these discouragements, but I failed miserably. I let my emotions cloud my better judgement –which would have been to fight these evil thoughts. Satan does his best to really get us down, to divert our attention and make us turn our eyes away from God, away from His truth.
What I love about how this worked out is that God knew exactly where to get me and how to get me back. Through the same Bible. I found myself reading Luke 21, which was about the destruction of the world, the second coming of Jesus, and how we are to live in a world that is awaiting its end. It’s funny when I was reading this part. “Okay, Lord. What are you driving at?”
Jesus shared to his disciples about the woman at the temple who gave out of her poverty. In doing so, she gave more than all the Jews who were faithfully and dutifully doing their obligations to tithe. And then Jesus points to the temple —how nothing would be left unturned and how it will collapse. (Stay with me). As the disciples were slowly being shown what must take place at the last days, I could hear the same sentiments in their mind. One gave it voice. “When will this happen, Lord?”
The same “When” that I asked last night, the same anxiety towards a future I do not see, the same longing and assurance of things hoped for. Jesus transitioned smoothly. He points to him and to the promises that will be fulfilled one by one. He cautions them not to believe those that come in His name, to remember that though rumours of war and commotions and nations rising up against each other may come, though they will be persecuted for sure, that one thing is certain: the world shall not pass away until everything written in God’s word is fulfilled. Beautifully these words are penned, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” (v.32-33) And the clincher?“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged (consumed) with surfeiting (what is that?), and drunkenness, and cares of this life¸ and so that day come upon you unawares.”
My focus shifted and suddenly I see things clearly now. Here I was, crying in my little corner begging God for an answer about a future I do not see, while elsewhere in God’s big redemptive plan, things are right on tract and His work continues. I was consumed by my own cares, my own questions and feelings of importance. I was consumed by things that, when weighed in an eternal scale, really have very little value. What does it matter if I get this or that in light of a world that will eventually be destroyed?
Notice that Jesus does not directly answer his disciples. He does not tell them exactly “when” these things will happen. Instead, He shifts their perspectives and tells them what they ought to be doing while these things have not taken place yet. He cautions them not to be swayed by this and that, not to lose focus on what really matters: his saving grace to a lost, decaying world.
The Lord seemed to tell me, “KZ, I know you are anxious. I know you want to know the details right away. But I am at work, and before your very eyes my plan for the world is unfolding. Why don’t you take part in it and trust me to fulfil your desires in my own time, my own way?”
Back to the original question: “Can I really find comfort in your Word, Lord?” He answered it for me. “Yes. More, you can find assurance.” Nothing in this world has permanence, except God’s Word. Everything will eventually fade away. That His Word will stand, along with all its promises (including that bit of promise He said that He holds out for us a hope, a good future), then the matter is already settled. What must be done from this point on is to trust God, to obey His commands, and to live faithfully, one eternal day at a time.
God amazes me. He is relentless and the source of all truth, not even letting one day go by that I hold on to these debilitating doubts. Wherever you are at this point in your life —whether you feel lonely, left out or needing direction, turn to God and His Word.