What is Christian torture? It is the process whereby a Christian falls into the "death spiral" found when nothing they do is good enough, they just cannot seem to muster the faith needed to see miracles and they find themselves questioning their very salvation. This condition is frustrating and leads to a broken relationship with God.
I spent nearly fifteen years of my life in a ministry which taught that "believing equals receiving". This modified "Word of faith" theology looks very appealing on the outside for it holds within it the promise of constant bliss in all realms. Unfortunately, the longer I was in that ministry, the deeper I felt God did not like me and I was a failure because I could not live up to the standard being taught.
There is a HUGE difference between knowing and understanding miracles are AVAILABLE vs. believing they are ALWAYS to happen, regardless of the situation. Just because Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead does not mean He raised EVERY dead person He heard about. Just because Peter and John ministered healing to one lame man does not mean they "healed" every sick person they met.
Of course we must know what is available and believe Almighty God is able to do what He has promised, but that does not mean every negative situation can be immediately "more than conquered" just by telling it to go away. It is pure torture to believe in this stuff and then not be able to see the results "true believers" are supposed to see.
I am fully and personally aware of the torture involved with not understanding why bad things happen, prayers go unanswered and it appears God does not care. I know the confusion that comes when miracles do not come to pass and sickness and/or financial devastation overtakes a Christian's life. I know these things for they happened to me.
After years of trying to believe, I finally reached the point where I understood believing is NOT clenching your teeth while straining to reach the point of faith necessary to receive the promises of God. I have learned that faith is simply trust that God is in control and that if I am doing my best to be in fellowship with Him via prayer, studying His Word and living His love, I can be at peace with knowing His will, will be done.
In my life, the greatest freedom came when I understood that I was not evil because bad things happened to me, that God loves me even when I am not perfect and that as the clay, I have no authority to demand God listen to me and do what I say. Without this understanding, the Christian walk becomes one of daily frustration, self condemnation and constant torture, to which I can only say; God Forbid (let it not become so)!
[quote]There is a HUGE difference between knowing and understanding miracles are AVAILABLE vs. believing they are ALWAYS to happen, regardless of the situation.[/quote]
Many years ago, I read a book called "In Whom The World Was Not Worthy". The woman in the story frantically had prayed for the healing of a woman... and the woman had died. Later that night the woman who had prayed, sobbed in her husband's arms. She knew God could heal but why, oh why hadn't God healed her? What was wrong with her faith?
I will never forget her husband's reply. He told her that we want faith to be like a loaf of bread on a table which is hidden behind a curtain. We want to proclaim to everyone that the bread is there and then with a dramatic sweep, we thrown the curtain aside and reveal the bread. Of course, then everyone applauds us.
Faith however, is not like that. Faith declares that the bread is there, even if we can't see it and even if we are not eating it. We still know it is there... no matter what.
We must never forget that God's ways are not our ways. Could it be that what we perceive as silence from Heaven or unanswered prayer is not really those things at all? Could it be that God is simply doing what we do not understand, in his own way and in his own time?
Thank you for this encouraging message, dear Brother-as I am currently enconsed in a big test of faith. I understand this torture-which is slowly subsiding! As K sayHis ways are not our ways and we must remember to serve Him in joy-regardless of how bleak things may be at times. He shines His Light and love in the darkness and gives us His hope day in day out-a soul restored. Yes -be constant in prayer and definetly in His Holy Word! And remembering also that He loved us 1st-which is definetly encouraging! God Bless you richly! Dave
Accepting God's love and living His word is sometimes made so "hard to do" by many people. This is sad because the process is really very simple. We believe in God the Father, Christ the Son and Savior, trust and obey! All else that happens, either to us or around us, has a purpose of God. It's not always for us to understand...just trust and obey. He will take care of His own!
Amen. There is so much truth in what you write here. Just like Paul had to learn to live with a thorn in his side (what it was we can only surmise), sometimes that's what we have to do, too. But, that doesn't mean the Lord loves us any less. I just wrote a blog titled: "Praying For a Parking Space." I was trying to relate the simplicity of asking God for the small things, but in no way do I believe in "prosperity teaching" or that if the Lord doesn't answer our prayers, then something is wrong with us. I know I've been told by people that when bad things happened to me, it was because I did something wrong or I was outside the will of God." The fact is the Lord always answers our prayers. It's just that He doesn't always answer in the way we think He should. That's why I always end my prayers with: "Lord...Thy will be done...and not mine if it is outside your will." Amen. But something simple like a parking place, I've found that's usually in His will. :) God bless.
I will confess to something I did along the lines of your blog. When I was young, about 13, I read about the tree being cast into the sea, and the mountain being moved, if we have faith as a mustard seed. I put this to practice, out in the woods one day. Nothing moved at all. Not even the wind would move a leaf that day. I had to study that over.
Everything we pray for, is just not Gods will. I have to line up with what HE desires. Not always pleasant, but I trust He will answer for the best result. I may need to grow, learn, or repent of something between us. Or any number of reasons. And you said plenty enough anyhow. God Bless brother.
I really like this entry. I finished reading Job a few weeks ago. Like Paul's thorn in the flesh, Job is often brought up when we deal with suffering and the frustration towards God that we sometimes feel when He has us go through suffering. What struck me was how Job struggled, realizing that God was God and was correct in every way yet somehow Job's suffering seemed unjust because Job was righteous. He wanted an arbitrator between him and God. He still realized that there could be no arbitrator because God was perfect, yet he still felt that there was an injustice. When God came through, Job realized that God had every right to allow him to suffer. The emphasis was that God was big and Job was not that big.
There are many "Jobs" in the church today who are told by their friends, "just have enough faith!", when the real reason for the suffering is that God has a deeper lesson to teach. A character is being polished up. An advanced lesson is being taught to someone who is righteous, yet lacks something in their understanding. At the end of the story, Job said that he had heard of God, but now he saw God. All those that God allows to suffer hopefully will come to a similar conclusion.
Jesus Himself told people that there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, but Elijah came to only one. He performed his miracle for [i]this[/i] widow so her oil would not run out. The rest of the widows did not receive anything. This entry is right on scripturally!