As I looked out the window my heart was traced upon the sky. The storm clouds gathered and I struggled to see the Light as the darkness was compassing my soul.
Sometimes the presence of God is seemingly impossible to sense as the waves of despair envelope your soul. You are so entrenched with your worries and doubts and terrors and fears that the clouds in your mind blot out the sun so completely that you begin to doubt that it even exists. Lest you believe that such a thing can only happen to those who do not believe, allow me to share a different perspective with you.
A very dear friend of mine had been struggling, and they chose me to come to in humble confession (not in detail, mind you, but in humility) of their struggles, their doubts, and their assessment of the cause.
It is truly, truly dire, upon thorough going examination, what the terrible consequences can be that come with the ignoring of the sins you have committed against others. I can also say that justifying them is no better. You are not walking with God, so you won’t see Him.
Wallowing in your darkness will not help you see the light. Sometimes you need the Godly counsel of a very good friend—someone whom you trust to tell you the truth, no matter what.
That can be a very hard thing to do, but Love will see you through. If it is a treasured friend, perhaps even more, your heart will be for them to such an extent that you will not be able to silence it, even the risk of losing that relationship not being able to keep you from doing what you must so that the date you have with them in Heaven will not see you being stood up. Let not your heart be hardened by their recalcitrance and sin, but let the light of Heaven shine forth to bring them in.
I say not that it will be easy, for it is possible, quite possible, that they will bid you be gone. That, my friend, is a dire feeling, for I have walked it through. I know it. It has been my resident nightmare. It has seen the light of Heaven seem to go out, and I cried out to God.
Oh! How I cried!
And it has been the gentle voice of my Savior that has encouraged me to stay the course, along with the humble words of a dad.
When I was crying out, not understanding—“How can this be possible ?” I cried, “How could You let me be so deceived? You told me this was Your gift to me! How could You let me be so deceived?”—He quietly led me to John 1:11i, then spoke into my soul, “How do you think I felt?”
I can tell you that for quite some time I sat there stunned and amazed that the Creator of all that begins to be wanted me to so know the depths of His heart.
I can tell you—without equivocation—that such an honor is wholly undeserved by such a wretch as me. How could it be that the Holy and Divine God of all creation should choose to so love me? I have no reply. I have no statement. I have no reason why. “It’s ineffable, and I think that’s important.”ii
God does not restrict Himself to human metaphors and understandings in order to get His points across. Sometimes, you see, our ways of thinking will not convey what He wants to say, so He finds another way. My God truly is so amazing, and I measure up so far short that I am ever in need of His shield of grace upon the cross. I will not and cannot deny this. It would be foolish even to try.
In attempting a humble contact with that very dear friend, and having, yet again, read of her struggles with sin, I reminded her of my own struggles (hoping for prayer, yet not daring to ask) and told her to grab her uke and write something simple—that God would make it profound.
She wrote to me last May, “I very much like the method of your reply, as well as the contents of your reply. I am very blessed to have a friend who urges me to do the hard and difficult things. It is refreshing and convicting. Somehow you can tell me to do painful things while still reminding me that you love me. That’s wonderful. It really is.”
How, then, you ask, did we get from such wonderful fellowship to the resident nightmare? Sometimes, when God gives you a message, He tells you to seal it up (in other words, to keep it within yourself). Now, He did not give me that admonition, but I wish that I had considered its wisdom anyway. God did speak to me regarding her, and since it was the fulfillment of such a long-standing promise, in my excitement that the end of my ordeal was finally in sight, I spoke of it and wrote of it—and she told me to leave her life.
Now, understand this: contrary to what my detractors would claim, I did not go off half cocked about this. I argued with God and wrestled with God and poured out my soul before God—for nearly half a year—before finally being convinced of its reality and its genuinely Heavenly source. Unlike Zacharias, God did not strike me dumb for my doubts because I was desperately seeking the truth.
He waited, patiently waited, for my final objection, then answered it, eventually sending me to John 1:11, as I wrote earlier.
And then oh, how I wept fountains of tears! Tears over so many years of looking for the wrong signs, over so many years of having blinded myself to the true nature of His promise to me—that finally, after oh so long, there would be someone with whom forgiveness would be no obstacle, because finally, after oh so long, there would be one with whom I could fellowship in Love who had never done me harm.
Can you imagine the floodgates of pain pouring forth from me as the realization hit?
And think of the irony of so many proudly stalking profligates claiming to the Name yet refusing humility and genuine repentance, doing so much horrible damage over so long a time—and all with the tacit support of the congregational elders and the denominational leadership—strutting about as though the world were their own personal beauty pageant and damn anyone to whom temptation comes through the avenue of their profligaciesiii, as one humble youth comes in humility to me to do what those harlots claiming Christ should have done and what those blind leaders should have commanded them to do!
And, unlike them, she has never done me harm!
Unlike them, she has never pursued me for her pleasure and then laid blame on me when the wheels came off those plans. Unlike them she has never paraded in skin tight, leopard-printed trousers, to play the organ during a church service. Unlike them, she has never shunned the one who would admonish and confront an unrighteous lifestyle. Unlike them, she really does have a true knowledge of Jesus Christ as her Lord and as her Savior, who died for her to set her free.
Unlike them, she has a date in Heaven with me, for, unlike them, she has been set free!
i unto His own He came, and His own received Him not (εις τα ιδια ηλθεν και οι ιδιοι αυτον ου παρελαβον in Greek)
ii quoting Dr. C. John “Jack” Collins from a conversation we had many years ago, then regarding the visions in Ezekiel.
iii Luke 17:1-3a (in the NIV the first paragraph of the chapter). Read that passage in the context of any temptation that could be issuing through you onto others, and wail and weep and moan in repentance—or find the eternal depths of Hell.