Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Walk of Faith"


    "We walk by faith" (II Corinthians 5:7).

     From our ultimate Heavenly vantage point, we will realize that during our earthly lifetime, our worst enemies often served (unwittingly to them and to us) as dear friends.

     "I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto Him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles." (Psalm 34:4-6).

    "Fears" and "troubles" serve as opportunities to experience conscious relationship with God in the hearts of those who recognize Him as the Life of our lives.  Anything, be it blessing or buffeting, that moves us to communicate with and trust the Lord provides the same opportunity we see throughout the pages of Scripture. 

    In their barrenness, Abraham and Sarah cannot conceive children, thus providing opportunity for them to trust God for his gift of Isaac, one of the clearest foreshadowings of the Lord Jesus Christ in all Scripture.  "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure" (Hebrews 11:17-19).

     Joseph is cast into exile by his brothers, only to become their redeemer.  "Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good" (Genesis 50:3). 

     Job, faithful but fearful before his terrible trials, comes forth from them with an exponentially expanded knowledge of his Lord's redeeming Person and grace.  "I have heard of Thee with the hearing of mine ear; but now, mine eye seeth Thee" (Job 42:5).

    Hannaniah, Azariah, and Mishael (a.k.a. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo) enter by faith into the fieriest of furnaces, only to discover in the light of Nebuchaddnezzar's flames the most glorious of Saviors.  "Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God" (Daniel 3:24-25).

    Disciples, terrified by the winds and waves of a violent storm on the sea of Galilee, are wise enough to approach and awaken their Master, discovering Him to also be the God of whom the Old Testament declares, "Fire, and hail; snow, and vapor; stormy wind fulfilling His word" (Psalm 148:8).  "The men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?!" (Matthew 8:27).

    Paul and Silas, cast into prison for faithfully preaching the Gospel, find opportunity for further faith in the God of the Gospel, thus leading to an earthquake of spiritual liberation for the very man who jailed them, along with his family.  "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway" (Acts 16:30-33).

    Most importantly, the Christ "smitten of God" and forsaken by His Father and the Holy Spirit on the cross of Calvary, becomes the Christ risen from the dead and exalted as King of kings and Lord of lords.  "Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name" (Philippians 2:5-9).

    Ponder your own history and write your own story of glory known along pathways of pain, loss, bewilderment, and sorrow.  Remember the prayers prayed, and the choices to trust God when no feeling or inclination seemed to accompany approach to the throne of grace.  Recall that somehow, somewhere deep within the heart, you knew that the Lord was there, in the very midst of both yourself and of the trial.  You knew Him in that way of faith that only presents itself when all seems to contradict and deny the fact of God's presence and loving involvement.  "The Light shineth in darkness" (John 1:5).  Foes became friends in those dark hours as they led us know the heart of God when we could not see or understand His hand.  Yes, anything that helps to usher us along our step by step by step by step walk of faith must be looked upon as a benefit as well as a buffeting.  Because anything - including the "enemy" we presently face -  that leads us to seek our Lord will one day be known as His blessing of wisdom, grace, and love.

"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
(II Corinthians 12:7-10)

No comments: