Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Today’s Topic: Never Forsaken
Today’s Text: Isaiah 42:16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
Thank you all for praying for me during this time of recovery from surgery. Your personal involvement in the ministry of encouragement is a great expression of your love for others which always results from one’s love for God. As the Apostle John puts it – “We cannot say that the love of the Father is in us if we do not love one another.”
Typically during a physical down time in my life I get very contemplative and emotional. For me, activity dulls the sensitivity to emotional need. That’s not a good thing, it’s just the reality I’ve chosen. Not a good choice. So when I am forced into inactivity, I get emotional. I really think it’s the rebound effect from always running on adrenaline. Also not a good thing.
Two things happen during those times: I become easily discouraged to the point of tears, and I become much more able to hear the voice of God. This sets up a huge spiritual battlefield in my mind. Satan gets a foothold in the mire of discouragement, while the Holy Spirit seeks to fix my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. Most of the time my human nature gravitates towards the muck rather than the magnificence of the Lord. The murkiness of circumstances darkens the majesty of the Master.
It hit me the hardest yesterday at an unexpected time. Following a wonderful grandparent’s after-school time with two of the kids, we stopped at the local Christian book store. Denise needed a card for her mom for Mother’s Day. I opened the door for her and followed her into the store. I made it four steps into the store and the tears started flowing. I don’t need to buy a Mother’s Day card. I walked over to where my wife was and almost told her I needed to leave. I composed myself by walking to the back of the store and avoiding the customers that were in that area. Then I distracted myself by shopping. By the time Denise was ready to go I was doing fine, or so I thought.
When we got in the car it overwhelmed me again. Denise handed me a tissue. I drove with blurred vision caused by watery eyes. Two things had happened with the previous two hours while I was with the grandchildren that had added potency to the Enemy’s arsenal of fiery darts – the first was some discouraging news about the ministry, and the second was a discouraging personal conversation with an individual. Satan used both of them to mount a full attack on my emotional need for affirmation.
You see, my mom was the single most influential person in my life when it came to showing me a living faith and to affirming my life in Christ. She gave me confidence. She showed me where my value came from. She helped me see the difference between being a person who bases their value on their abilities, performance, and preferences and one who finds their worth in Christ alone. Then, in a single moment of loss coupled with two emotionally debilitating conversations, I felt forsaken. I felt alone. I felt completely unaffirmed.
I do not believe there is anything worse that we can ever experience than the sense of being forsaken. Jesus went through it on the cross when He became our sin for us and the Father turned His back. What a horrible experience it is to have the one who has previously supplied you with all of your worth and value as a person suddenly turn their back on you. It’s just as tragic when the person who was supposed to provide you with affirmation fails to do so. It’s even worse when we realize that we have been looking to someone or something other than God for those affirmations. Then we are completely alone.
Praise God that He never forsakes us! Oh how I needed that truth yesterday…and every day! God is in control of the ministry. God is in control of the selfish and stubborn actions and words of people. God is the one who affirms us. He will never forsake us. He will turn our darkness into light. He will guide us on unfamiliar paths. He will smooth out the rough roads. His majesty is mightier than the muck!