If God said that He wanted you to give away all you own and live in a tent wherever He sent you; could you do it? Would you do it?
If God said that it was time to depart this life and come home to Him; would you yell and scream and say it is unfair or would you rejoice in anticipation of seeing God face to face?
If God said that He wanted you to rise up and become a leader for Him; would you do it or would you find a million reasons why you can’t?
If God said you must endure illness or suffer physical pain; could you handle it or would you complain?
If God said you must suffer persecution for what you believe, be defamed and ridiculed for your faith; would you be blessed or spend the rest of your life sulking?
In each of these cases, the scenario was introduced by the phrase “if God said”. If God says something it is indeed His Word. Believing God’s Word is not limited to that which is written in the Bible or spoken in prophecy. The Word of God is anything God says whether universally for all to hear via His written Word or individually as He speaks to our heart.
This world has conditioned us to believe that to really be happy in this life, we must have oodles of “things”, live 90 or more years, be successful in one’s profession, have no physical ailments or diseases and have no enemies. Unfortunately, many Christians believe their faith automatically gives them all these wonderful things and more.
Christianity is not defined by how many things you own, how long you live, how many children and grandchildren you have, how cool you are, how handsome or beautiful you appear, how healthy you are or how many friends you have. The truth is, Christianity has nothing to do with any of these things. If this is what a person desires, they should NOT become a Christian.
At the core of our faith is a loving and trusting relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. At the center of our faith is the burning desire to be a son in whom God is well pleased and honestly say our will is not important but rather doing His will. At the heart of our faith is our cry “Abba Father”.
If everything was ripped away from you and you were left naked and alone on a desert island, would you still be blessed and thankful or would you drown in self pity and complain about how unfair God is?
If every friend deserted you, you wife or husband left you, your children despised you and your parents disowned you due to your Christian faith; would you still love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength or would you walk away from Him angry and bitter?
We all need to honestly evaluate where we are at spiritually once in awhile and if we have fallen away, we need to be as the Prodigal and come home to the open arms of our loving and forgiving Father.
We like to think that our love for God is "unconditional" but is it? Exactly what are our motives for following Him? Is it to get "stuff" including, dare I say it, a Heavenly reward or is it because we love Him?
I had a problem with kidney stones for many years. I would have 2 to 4 each year. Now, kidney stones are no fun. I’ve heard it compared to giving birth. I’ve had experience with both and would definitely choose the giving birth. There were times when God would heal the pain; at other times I would end up in the emergency room because of the vomiting (therefore, I could not get the liquid I needed) and pain (it’s excruciating). I could not understand why after all my prayers, I still had them. Was it a lack of faith on my part? Then, one day, the Lord said to me, “If I never heal your kidney stones, will you still serve Me?”
I knew within my spirit that it was the Lord asking; it was a serious question; and He wanted a serious answer. It was an answer I had to really think about before responding. My answer was “Yes.” At that point I left it to Him. I had a couple more but as of today, I’ve not had one in over 2 years. I thank the Lord.
About 3 years ago the Lord kept telling me over and over, “I am in control; no matter the circumstances.” It was so often that I actually knew that there was a rough time ahead. He was preparing me. It has been a rough time. I’ve been so blessed over the years with good health but now it’s all come crashing down. There have been problems elsewhere in my life. I told the Lord one day that I was not handling all of this very well. All He said was, “Trust Me.”
I smoked for 40 years. I had prayed and prayed about it. One day as I was praying, the Lord gave me a scripture. It told me that He would give me the desire to obey Him. I thought that using this scripture would be a copout and others would think so as well. Smoking, of course, is the politically correct sin to admonish people about. Well, a little over 2 years ago, I was sitting at a table and the Lord said, “I want you to quit smoking.” I knew within my spirit that this was the time. If I didn’t obey then, I’d have no second chances. God delivered me. I’ve had no withdrawals or anything. It’s as if I never smoked. It was a down payment on His taking care of the other problems; as other things are happening, He wants me to remember this. He is using all that we are experiencing now to mature us in Him for His purpose.
To answer some of your questions: Yes, I’ve given up 99% of what I owned and have lived in a tent in the mountains for 4 months. We got water from a creek; washed clothes by hand (we had 2 boys) and cooked over a fire. Many think that this was horrible. In all honesty, it was one of the best times of my life. This has happened numerous times. Really, things can be a burden. About 7 years ago the Lord told us to sell or give away most of what we had and move into a pop-up camper and go where He told us. It’s been an interesting journey; especially, now.
I haven’t really suffered persecution as we think of it and as our brothers and sisters suffer in other parts of the world. I have most definitely been ridiculed.
One night I truly thought that I was going to leave this earth. I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t frightened. I just asked, “Lord, is this the night?”
I know that I’m not alone in what I’ve shared. Many are suffering. Sometimes I think about all those in the world who are tortured, imprisoned, martyred. I’m not suffering that. But, then, the Lord is sovereign and knows what we need to be molded into the image of Jesus. So, it’s all to that purpose. James says, “Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.” It seems he is saying, “Ask for trials.”
Many are going through a lot now and we, hopefully, will endure to the end. There is a mighty persecution of the church coming and many of God’s people are not ready. He’s shaking us to get us ready if we are willing. With what is ahead, we must get to the point that we will not be distrusting of God and turn away when “bad things” happen.
Thank you for your blog.
We like to think -if God took everything we would still praise him and not complain, but unless you have experienced it you really don't know what you would do.