This appears to be a common theme among many other Christian blogs just now, but I wanted to share something from a more personal perspective on a rather important lesson the Lord taught me last year in the midst of my refining illness. I’d been struggling heavily with trying to figure out why I was having to cope with an apparent illness of no value – well, perhaps illness never has a value, but sometimes you can see people being used mightily for the Lord as they endure dreadful times with cancer etc or some other major problem. Me though – I was only suffering pain – horrendous certainly, but hidden and thus not an easy symptom to show others how well I was dealing with its effects. I’m very much one for trying to work hard for the Lord, and have to constantly check myself that I’m not actually trying to overtake Him and work for work’s sake, but regardless, my greatest prayer is often that my life be used by Him in the lives of those I touch. But as I worked through this problem last year which left me housebound, on huge doses of narcotics, thus doped and unable to think straight much of the time, I was truly at a loss to figure out what the point was in it all. I couldn’t see any value at all in my suffering – for me or anyone else, but the Lord soon changed that. He’d been working through the earlier part of the year to show me that one of my biggest sins was to put doctors before Him every time when it came to my health care, and so I was having to learn to overcome that temptation each time I was faced with a new problem, and seek God alone until He opened up doors to do otherwise. But when I did seek Him I never seemed to see much change or improvement in any form, so again, often wondered what His purpose was in what He was allowing me to go through. Then one night while listening to a sermon by a really sharp Pastor – He spoke to me and gave me some insight to where I was at.
To set the stage:
Mark 4:37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
The lesson I learnt out of this was firstly that when the storms of life hit, Jesus is right there for starters which we know, but sometimes we miss the subtleties about this story. The primary one is that when the storm first rose, the disciples didn’t immediately rush to get Jesus to do anything – they did precisely what we all tend to do with our problems – start working through fixing them in our own strength first of all. I mean, why bother the Master, if we don’t need to eh? Secondly they figured that because He was asleep, He’d no knowledge of what was happening to them, or cared in the least if He did. Only when their situation became really dire, and they were fearing for their lives, did they finally accede to their need for Him to intervene and thus woke Him up. I can’t help feeling it was a somewhat arrogant question that – “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” I mean, had they not seen Him caring about them on a daily basis up to that point, or not seen His power in action to know that if He didn’t act, there was a good reason? And aren’t we just the same – don’t we behave with those same attributes when we hit our life storms, and His response to us is exactly the same – “How is it you have no faith”?
But it truly did impact me that night and helped me to recognise that part of my problem was still in not truly seeking Him to act in my situation still somehow preferring to try and solve things on my own. Self will and control are against God’s Will for us. I was reminded yet again about this yesterday in listening to the One Year Bible readings about Moses and the infamous story about the exodus from Egypt. When the people found themselves in situations without food or water etc, and complained to Moses – he didn’t turn round and start walking about trying to locate supplies for the people in the desert, which is pretty much what most of us would start doing no doubt. No, Moses immediately turned to God and asked Him where he was going to get the supplies from, thus allowing God to act from the outset and show His Power and Glory in doing so.
Hopefully some of you will benefit from this lesson as He applied it to my life, but regardless of whether you need it just now in your life, it’s one to tuck away for any time of testing. Love to hear if anyone else has had similar lessons in their lives at such times.