(After Not Feeling Him for Years and Years)
by Fred Pruitt
Some time ago someone wrote me with the question I have used as the title. I took this one question below as a summary of the all the questions that person had. This below is a much-expanded version of the original.
I wonder–do you know anyone like this–who has hurt for years and years–and made it out? It’d sure be good if God is still in me, because I have no hope anymore. It’s been too long.
To answer your question, yes, I do know someone who hurt for years and years, and made it out — ME!
For YEARS I felt like you. God has a great purpose for it, so if for now, you do not yet see it, you can still praise because all this that you are experiencing is God teaching you Himself, especially to believe when we do not see, hear or feel. God is taking you to a greater reality than you have previously known, and this has been the path to get there. You will see God’s promises fulfilled in yourself!
Here is a link to a more recent article about the same thing, “Has God Forsaken Me?” You might find it helpful.
Do not be afraid, only believe!
One thing I might stress to you further. This is a life of FAITH! Right now, you are expressing how you feel, or lamenting how you have been acting, saying you haven’t been “letting” the truth touch you. That’s a starting place, but by no means the end of the matter.
You must see your current life and everything up to this point, to be all the ways God has led you in this wilderness. Even when you have not known or even believed, nevertheless He has been your inner Life. He has guided your life in a hidden way. He has never left you nor forsaken you.
You already ARE the things you desire to be. The reason I can say that with confidence is because I see what has been happening in your life to be a clear work of the Spirit, but you have not been able to recognize that, being that you are still hypnotized by the outer appearances and circumstances, as if all “that,” which we can see, hear, feel or touch is the greater truth, than He Who dwells within you. That’s ok. I am not criticizing you, but showing you the work of Christ that has been going on in you all while these “negative” things have been going on in your life. That clever God!
You may not see it now, but you will see it in the fullness of time by the Spirit — here it is: you have been, are now, and forever will be Christ expressing Himself in union with you, because He has become one person with you, so that “it is no longer [you] who live, but Christ lives in you, and the life you now are living, is He living and expressing Himself as the Light of the world, in and AS you! You and Christ are one!
Looking at your life, (I know nothing of it), you might be tempted to say, “How can I call this life ‘Christ’?” This is where we get to the heart and meat of faith! As Abraham called into being that which was impossible and invisible, “calling things which be not, as if they are,” (Rom 4), we do the same. Abraham believed God, BEFORE the child was born, and that’s the key. When Abraham “believed,” there was no Isaac, and Sarah was already old and barren. Yet Abraham believed what God said, rather than the impossible circumstances he seemed to be in. They were GOD’S impossible circumstances! They were in a sense “engineered” by the Spirit, to take Abraham through the Spirit’s school of faith, that he might know that God was faithful and made good His promises.
What we find, as we begin to come up out of the wilderness where we have unconsciously been “taught of God,” is that we come “back” into the world as a living expression of God, beginning to possess our possessions and take hold of ourselves in our true identity — Christ in us! So I don’t see you as someone whom God has “cast off,” but rather, as someone who is being brought along day by day by the Spirit, for God’s perfect Love purposes (because that is the only kind of purposes God has — Love)!
In the darkest time in my early days in Christ, there was a period when I had almost lost every last ray of hope. I felt very lost, fearing I had become a cast-off. Two things happened in that darkness that brought me through. One, while on the job one day walking across the lot (I worked at a rental yard), in my inner self I distinctly heard the words, “This that you are experiencing now will be for all the others.”
I had no idea what that meant, and could not at that time conceive a future in Christ, so I forgot about it for a long time. The second, was when the Spirit gave me the Word that He would bring me through the darkness, because I was trying to bring myself through and the darkness only seemed to be getting thicker and more concrete. What I received, was the Word of grace, not grace for forgiveness of my sins as at the beginning, but the Grace that would lead me home! Grace that took my life and made it His responsibility.
The darkness feeling stayed around for many more weeks, finally ceasing altogether after I saw that Christ and I are one. It was a time of real and joyous victory, because a battle had been won, that in the beginning I did not even know I was in! Who won the battle was the Lord! Many times I’ve said it was like being the one about whom they ask, “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?” (SS 8:5) Life was new again, like it was at the beginning, but now pressed much deeper into my understanding and knowledge.
Twenty plus years go by. I’m taking a walk in the park, and out of the blue the words I heard all those years ago, “This that you are experiencing now will be for all the others,”suddenly popped into my mind. I had not thought of it since that day in 1980. At the time I heard it again, not long after that, I started doing what I am doing now, full time. I do not recall ever having those words come to mind again in those twenty plus years. It was lodged away in the memory banks because it had made an impression and thus was more memorable. But I had forgotten about it quite frankly. It was out of sight, out of mind.
When I heard that Word that day at the rental lot, as I said, I hadn’t a clue as to its meaning. But this time the Spirit brought an abundant treasure of light and understanding with it. It had taken those years and every one of the events of those years, for me to come to an understanding of what the Spirit said.
So that when I saw what the Spirit was showing me, it was glory beyond what I had imagined! He had given me just that brief glance back into my path, in an extremely difficult time, and had shown me in one glimpse that all that battering and temptation and all those others tough things going on at the time, had become in me life for others! Real life! The Spirit had turned dung into gold and precious jewels. He had restored the years the cankerworm had eaten. Everything in my life, I saw, had become “bread for others.” Jesus said He was the Living Bread that came down from heaven, and would give anyone Life who would eat His Bread and drink His blood. I saw the transition had been complete! Like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Because I knew now I had become that Living Bread. As His Body was broken for us, so are ours for others. That is not morose or morbid, but of the greatest glory!! When we see that, that EVERYTHING IN OUR LIVES IS LIFE FOR OTHERS, everything then makes sense for the first time…. OH, I see …..!!!!
Every thing we have ever experienced, everything we have ever done, thought, wondered about, doubted, longed for, wondering IS THERE REALLY A PURPOSE FOR ALL THIS???? Every bit of that is answered, in realizing we are fully Him living and operating in us, as us.
How did He restore those lost years? By opening my understanding to the reality of His total Hand in everything, and that He had been working His plan in me even in the days I could not see Him, and even the days I did not want to see Him!
So it was both universal and totally personal at the same time. The “universal” is the acknowledgment of and grasping by faith our single eye sight, that sees only God at the center of all things, always above all, through all, and in all. The “personal” is multifaceted, starting with accepting ourselves as living Christ-expressers, and many other things, but the one I wanted to stress at the moment is that God brings us along personally to our ultimate fulfillment in Him. I am not talking about the Heaven on the other side, but the dreams or visions or hopes, whatever the Spirit has bored into our hearts and minds, that we long to be or to do as our mode of expressing Christ in our world. It is in our minds and hearts and longing to come out into manifestation.
Like Joseph’s dreams, or Jacob’s visions. They don’t even have to be “religious.” They may be what others consider “secular.” No matter, Christ is All and in all, and nothing is secular to us! Joseph got a government job. Esther and Malachi were also in the service of the king.
Though I think he saw much further, on the surface Abraham was simply looking for a place where he could settle with his clan and, of course, he longed for an heir, just as the man and human father he longed to be.
Moses, too, who knew the grace in the law but was nevertheless appointed by God to be the Lawgiver, was simply taking a gaggle of former slaves across a barren wilderness to a land none of them had ever seen, “flowing with milk and honey,” where they hoped to gain the upper hand over the current residents and establish their nation of Israel. Yes, there’s all the stuff God did and all His purposes, etc., but take all that out and we have left a political struggle of oppressors enslaving a populous minority to build their cities and monuments out of the sweat and dead bodies of the slaves. That’s pretty much the way Cecil B. DeMille described it, in the opening narration of his, “The Ten Commandments” – as a struggle against oppression in man’s long history of struggle for liberty. (Whatever – even if DeMille didn’t understand it, the Lord through Him got the story told all over the world in my generation, and it is still going out!)
My point is this. There is often a period of dark struggle for many of us. (It does not seem to happen to everyone, so I am not presenting a formula here that if this has not happened to someone, they better make sure it does! This is just an explanation of what is purposed, as I see it, if someone happens to find himself in these circumstances.) That dark struggle did not come about because of our sins and unworthiness, even though we might be convinced for whatever reason that it did come because of that. God always has a higher purpose than merely dealing with “sins” or our personal habits. There is a “dealing with sin” along the way (Rom 6 & 7), but the sin issue is not the point. God’s preparations in us for the manifestation of our sonship, is the point!
As the Apostle Peter wrote:
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet 1:6,7)
That is what God is after in us, a faith more precious than gold, that withstands the fire when it comes. And the only way to get that into us consciously and experientially is to let the winds blow and the storms beat on our house. We may quake with fear that our house is falling apart, but faith stands up and says, “No, it is not. Our house is built upon the Lord God, and He is the Life and Love of this house, and it shall not fall!”
And of course the “house” is ourselves, and as it says in Hebrews, “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we.” (Heb 3:6).
He does not forsake nor neglect His own house, the house He bought with His Blood. The house that we are.
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help? My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”
Do not be afraid, only believe!