From the Evangelist Desk (Dressing table).
Has my torch gone out?
Is it burning brightly, or is it giving the last few bright splutters before it is extinguished?
If my torch is about to be snuffed, how will I find my way? How will I be a bright beacon for others?
There are times when we feel that God is missing in action, (MIA), when we are facing the world and all its trials.
‘Floyd McClung describes it: “You wake up one morning and all your spiritual feelings are gone. You pray, but nothing happens. You rebuke the devil, but it doesn’t change anything. You go through spiritual exercises … you have your friends pray for you … you confess every sin you can imagine, and then go around asking forgiveness of everyone you know. You fast … still nothing. You begin to wonder how long this spiritual gloom might last. Days? Weeks? Months? Will it ever end?… it feels as if your prayers simply bounce off the ceiling. In utter desperation, you cry out, ‘What’s the matter with me?'” (Floyd McClung, Finding Friendship with God; Ann Arbor, MI: Vine Books, 1992; 186).
But rest assured I have been told that there is nothing wrong with me when these feelings and frustrations appear, it is all apart of maturing. Maturing in faith.
But when we feel that God is distant we assume that He is angry with us, we have sinned in some way, or we have not done what we should have done, or not done what was asked of us. But often this is not the case. I am told that it is a test of our faith. For example will we continue to worship the Lord when we feel distant? Will we continue to spread His Word when we feel neglected or rejected?
There are many examples of God being seen as distant from people within the Bible. Job is one testament of this. But did Job loose his faith in God? No he remained faithful and focused. His belief in God was the one thing that could not be taken from him.
From Psalm 42:
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.
5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and 6 my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon from Mount Mizar.
From the Psalm we can read that the writer feels alone and tested. He remembers the times when he enjoyed his times with the Lord, but he shows in this section of the Psalm how distant he feels that God is and others try to bait them by asking where his God is now?
How many of us have faced the same sort of problems? I have for one. But I also have the feeling and understanding that the Lord will not truly leave me, hang me out to dry as it could be said. No he will allow me to spend some time maturing and when I need to be drawn back under His wing, he will reach out and cover me.
So I ask again, how bright is our torch for the Lord? Let us be rest assured that when our torch reaches its final stages and starts to splutter and fade, we will be presented with a brand new torch alight and ready to shine the way forward for us and to be a beacon for others. All we need to do is have faith and believe in the Lord.
Yours in Christ Jesus.
© Rick Hayes, August 2010