06 June 2009

From the Evangelist’s Desk

I find myself sitting here at the Evangelist desk, well let’s be truthful, in the bedroom with the computer set up on the wife’s dressing table, wondering what to write. I feel at present that I have dried up and can’t think what to write or say. Thank goodness I have not chased the chance of writing a novel, otherwise I would be in panic mode right now.

Some people who are far more learned than I, have said that I cannot expect to always be able to write or preach without a second thought, sometimes I will experience dry times, barren wilderness times. So I thought, what does the Bible tell us about these times?

Before we explore the Bible, let’s take a look at a book I have, written by one of my favourite Christian authors, Selwyn Hughes.  The book is entitled, ‘Your Personal Encourager’.

Chapter 2. When God Seems Far Away.

Sometimes even mature Christians who have followed the Lord for many years go through times when God seems very far away. In the main there are three possible reasons for this

I will summarize the three reasons:
First, the problem can stem for a purely physical cause, sickness, stress and alike which can have an affect on your Spiritual self.
Second, God may seem far away because of a sin that we may have committed and our guilt gets in the way.
Third, and by far the most common reason because we fail to take time out to be with God and to listen to what he wants to say to us.

So now I find myself in conflict. People, who are far more learned than I, say that sometimes God will seem far away and I may feel barren. Then I read Selwyn and am given suggestions as to why God may seem far away with regards to my writing and sermons. I was led to believe that God might distance himself from us once in a while to test our faith and to also build on our faith. Selwyn on the other hand writes that God seeming distance could mainly be down to us.

Okay I have taken time out between writing this section and having the conflict in the last paragraph, and I am leaning towards Selwyn Hughes version of barrenness, the reasons being that like all of us, I sometimes let the distractions of this world cloud my vision and purpose in life. I worry about what might happen to me rather than give thanks for what has happened to me. I have suffered my glass being half empty rather than my glass being still half full.

Back to Selwyn Hughes book and the passages that he has offered.

Psalm 139: 7-10.  Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me; your right hand will hold me fast.

Jeremiah 29: 13-14.  “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.

And lastly here is a Gospel verse offered by me. 

John 15: 5. “I am the vine; you are the branches.  Anyone who dwells in me, as I dwell in him, bears much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

So from the above verse, what can I learn? Maybe my barren days are because I am working under my own power, believing it to be of Christ. “Apart from me you can do nothing.”

Maybe I am the one placing the distance between God and myself and not as I have been taught that God maybe testing me. “Anyone who dwells in me, as I dwell in him, bears much fruit.”

And lastly just maybe, like the child growing up, I want to experience independence and therefore distance myself from the Lord wanting my own space to grow, but a branch cannot grown without the main body supporting it by feeding it, protecting it and giving it deep and lasting roots. “I am the vine; you are the branches.”

From this I learn that I must be more open to what God is saying to me. To be ready to listen rather than just hear. And to believe that the Lord truly can use me as His tool to reach others, albeit within the church, or those who are outside of the church.

May God Bless you and keep you safe.

© Rick.Hayes, June 2009