This morning, the Spirit has been wanting me to pray for a certain much loved—and missed—friend. Not wanting to hurt I did not want to. Oh, I popped off a prayer that was theologically accurate and correct, but it was perfunctory and completely devoid of heart and feeling and emotion, as though a robot had written it. I then told Him, “She wanted her distance! Let her have it! Let her see where that brings her!”
Wait for her!
Tell me something. When you wait for the return of the Messiah do you just sit around moping until He comes? How often, in fact, do you even think of Him—at all?
Oh, He’s coming back! He has promised, and I trust Him!
As it is written, “Where is the promise of His coming?” 1 Is it really that easy for you to just brush off that question? Does it not, in truth, twist the knife of doubt in your heart when you hear it? If not, why not? Where is your love for His presence?
I have said that I hurt when I think of her, so I don’t want to think of her. Why do you not hurt at His absence?
Have you ever dared to consider the possibility that you do not hurt at His absence because you have never felt His presence? If He is a friend that stays closer than a brother, why have you never felt Him with you?
I hurt at my friend’s absence. Her distance is like a plague upon my very soul—because I have felt her presence. Having known her for long years, I have, from time to time, even held her in my arms. I have, indeed, felt her presence. And I far prefer it to this absence.
I have felt the arm of God resting across my shoulders as He stooped down to point out a future marriage to me.
Prior to that, a young woman, in the Bible Study of which I was a part, had prayed openly and emotionally for a husband, and as I echoed that prayer in my heart, asking God to hear her prayer and grant her a new husband, I heard Him say in my Spirit, “I already have.”
It was then weeks later that I found myself at the back of the sanctuary, lacking a seat, when that arm came across my shoulders. From that point I shared the experience with two witnesses, so that the verification of it should be independent of me, telling them also who it was that had been pointed out to me, God saying, “There he is! That’s him!”
Sometime following, at the Bible Study, that young woman announced her engagement to the very man God had pointed out. Another woman there called her boyfriend, to tell him. It was not known to her that he was one of my witnesses, so she was quite shocked when he told her what her message for him was. “God told Bill and Bill told me,” was his explanation to his girlfriend, and I had not had to utter a word to her about it.
I have felt God’s arms around me.
When He is distant my life is a death-borne trudge. I can tell you that I much prefer His presence.
Can you be so very certain of His presence in your life? Can you offer it up as independently verified as I have just done, that God has graciously provided an event that could have happened in no other way? If you have really felt His presence, why do you not hurt at His absence?
I ask such things in keeping with the admonition from Scripture to “Work out your own salvation.” 2 Be certain, in other words, that it is genuine, not fake.
I would not have you suffer that awful shocking surprise when on the day of judgment, Christ says, “Away from Me! I never knew you!” 3
I do not bring these questions to rob you of genuine peace, but of false. You must needs make certain of your salvation in this life, or it will be too late.
There will always be those who will strive to throw the monkey wrench of doubt into the machinery of your faith, and I have no doubt that, if you do not know me, you will be seeing me as one of those. So long as you refuse to lump us all into the same tiny box, I will have no objection to that.
There is, you see, at least one distinction among that group of people. At one side, you have those who wish to make you doubt because they wish to destroy your faith, while on the other hand, you have those who wish to make you doubt because they wish to drive you to defend—and therefore strengthen—your faith.
The result of this is not in the hands of either of these groups; rather it is in the hands of the one who has been made to doubt. The result, you see, of this testing will inevitably expose the genuineness of the character of your faith—or the utter lack thereof.
The one who is made to doubt and never reacts by rebuilding their faith and trust in God is the one who was never really of the faith at all. As it is written, “they left us because they were never really with us.” 4 In the Greek it says, “because they did not belong to us.” They were not ours, in other words.
We do not know, for an undisputable fact, who, at the very core of their spiritual being, really belongs to Christ, and whom to Satan. We are not given such things. We do, however, have the evidence of our eyes. In other words we can observe, with our eyes, the actions of their lives and determine just how closely those actions match with what the Scriptures tell us to expect from a genuine believer—as we are commanded.
And we are so commanded. Do not let the sophistry of the pseudo-intellectual unbeliever get you off track; we are so commanded. We always have been.
How are we to live in obedience to Matthew Chapter 18, or Ezekiel 3 or 33 if we are never to make judgments? Only let your judgments be rooted in truth, rather than the false sophistications of those who love to bloviate, acronyms marleying around behind them wherever they go.
The one who is made to doubt and never reacts by rebuilding their faith and trust in God is the one who was never really of the faith at all. Do not run from your doubts, or wish them ever away, for they are the tool shed for the sharpening of your spiritual wits. Rather, embrace them and do battle with them, that the reflexes of your spiritual being may, in the future, be the quicker to raise your shield against the wiles of the satanic authority that seeks to blind you to the way.
No receiver learns to catch a football without raising their arms, no soldier learns to fight by staying in the barracks, and no Christian learns to answer doubts without ever engaging them in their own lives.
I have said that it hurts when I think of her, so I do not want to think of her; I know because of the hole she leaves behind. That hole would not be there if she had never been there in the first place.
In the same way, you will know that He has been there when you note that He is not. If you can live your life as profligate as you want to be, and never feel so much as a twinge, then you know that He has never been there in the first place, that you are not His, and that your claim of His name is a falsehood and a lie. If you can engage in things that His Word calls abomination while never even feeling regret, then quiver, wail and quake, because yours is a Godless fate.
If, though, your heart does quail when He, it seems, sets sail, then let your joy ring out by wrestling with your doubts.
12 Peter 3:4