God’s Got You – No Matter What!
I had noticed I hadn’t been seeing you on Facebook lately. I’m glad you wrote and to know you’re safe and sound, even though you’re a guest of the state for a while. Of course, I don’t know any of your circumstances, and I don’t need to know. I have no condemnation for you and only encouragement!
As I read your letter, it seems to me you are living in your faith (that Christ is your Life) even in such contrary circumstances. The wonderful thing about this life in Christ, is His GRACE toward us, by which He solidifies our faith, by always turning what looks to us like mistakes or even sins, into catalysts for the Light of the World Who is in each of us to shine ever brighter out of each of us.
That’s why Peter wrote what he did in 1 Peter 1:6-9 … “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 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: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”
That’s the “work” the Spirit works in us. People are always asking why they are “going through” negative circumstances. If you are in Christ, here is the answer. There will be difficulties. There will be challenges and sometimes we will feel like we are all alone. Why? “Though it be tried with fire, the trial of our faith … may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
This is how the Spirit trains God’s sons. So don’t think you’ve fallen into disfavor because you have not overcome some negative circumstances. We are learning a deeper thing. We walk by faith, not sight. We walk from Who we are within us, rather than how we used to walk in our darkened understanding. In those days we lived by everything that was outside us. It was our common alcohol, and every one of us has been a sloppy drunk from living by the world.
But we no longer live of the world, do we? We are “in it,” but no longer “of it.” We live out of the Spirit of God Who indwells us.
Something I was privileged to learn in my early days about this walk is that God’s purposes toward us are always Love, and He is always leading to His ultimate for us, even in this life. No matter what circumstances we are in, we can always say at any time, “God has purposed this situation not just to be something for me and only for my education. He is reaching the world by this situation!”
It is the realization from the Spirit that every moment we live and in every experience we have, negative and positive, we are enlisted into and are made essential participants in God’s purposes, whether we are conscious of it or not. Paul says in Romans 9 that we are all vessels by which God expresses His purposes. Some are vessels of honor and manifest Christ in His kingdom. Some are vessels of wrath or dishonor as agents of darkness, and God uses the agitation they create to break down their barriers that the way might be cleared for the entry of Christ. If not that, because some do harden their hearts, then it is always the case that the mischief caused by the vessels of dishonor exercise God’s saints as they grow and become intercessors in their own right. (Heb 5:14).
Therefore, we say, in faith, “This is where God has me, and this is where He IS now, for His perfect purposes!” We trust Him daily (in the present moment!!!) for the outcome, and trust that the outcomes are always His perfect outcomes, since He is the One who found us, and not we Him. He is the One Who has chosen us, not we Him. Do we realize how precious, truly precious, we are to God? YOU are to God?
This is not a contest where if you can’t hold on, you lose. Like trying to hang onto the pole on a fast-moving carousel. Eventually we tire and let go. God is not testing you to see what you will do. He already knows that. You can do nothing. Neither can I. Neither could Peter. And neither could Jesus. (John 5:19). *See below
Since that is the case, what chance do we have? The Old Covenant was us trying, and failing, to hold onto the pole on the merry-go-round. Just you, separate from God, trying to hold on, trying to keep up, and believing it is all up to you to make it happen.
As I said, He is not testing you! Instead, He is demonstrating, in a sense proving, Himself, not just “to” you, but “in” you “as” your life. The hardest lesson any of us learn is that we have no righteousness of our own. Now most Christians would say, “Oh, yes, I know that.” But then they turn right around and still live the always failing “try harder” life, still thinking they might have just a little bit of righteousness of their own which they can improve upon by their efforts. We feel like God will at least give us credit for just trying.
One of the most difficult seasons of my life happened in 1980. I won’t tell you all the details, but maybe one day I will. For now it is sufficient that you know that I was under tremendous “oppression.” We had decided to leave the ministry we were in in California. I waited until I had an inner assurance from the Spirit that this was the way to go. However, when we actually resigned, this oppression came roaring in like a tornado in March. Thoughts and voices tormented me, telling me I was doing the wrong thing, wasn’t in God’s will anymore, God might kill my kids – you name it! Great fear began to rise up within me and I became as nervous as a cat for a while, thinking I might be on the “outs” with God. I have described it two ways. The first in my mind it seemed I was trying to hold onto a ship’s mast in a hurricane, and I was terrified every moment of losing my grip and being washed overboard. The other way I saw it, it was as if I was standing in the middle of a minefield, where any step I took could blow me up.
I worked in a rental yard then and we had a storage shed where I would eat my lunch and read the Bible. The only place I could find comfort in the scriptures at that time, was by reading the Psalms. Everything else put me into condemnation. So one day I went to the shed, broke out my lunch and my pocket New Testament (plus Psalms). I began reading Psalm 73.
At first it was like any other normal reading. I loved the Psalms and have read them many times, so it was mostly familiar territory. Until I came to verse 24: “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”
As I said, I’d read this many times before. But two words suddenly stuck out and for a moment it was like everything in time and space stopped, while those first two words of that verse blew my mind out: “THOU SHALT”!
You may not be seeing yet what I am seeing, so let me explain it to you a little bit. Remember above I mentioned the “always failing trying harder” life? What I saw and continue to see in those two words are the entire New Covenant in its most concise nutshell. HE DOES IT! That’s it!
It was like the heavens opened and the clouds parted and the sun came out shining brighter, as in the blink of an eye I saw what the Spirit was showing me. Now that grew into a deeper understanding and walk that is still going on after nearly four decades, but what I caught that day was the biggest part. I saw what Jesus saw, “The Son can do nothing of Himself.” Which led to, “The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” (John 14:10).
The fear let go, for a time, because I saw the HE would get me out. HE would cause me to walk across that minefield and not get blown up. I did not know “how” He would do it, but I knew He would. THOU SHALT is what the Psalmist was saying to God. He (God) is the planner, the speaker, and the enactor. That’s what the New Covenant is – God in us, “I live yet not I but Christ,” (Gal 2:20). That is what the Spirit life is. Living every moment by the Spirit within who guides us and brings us through.
As I considered all that, the hurricane winds stopped for a bit. It wasn’t long before the clouds came again and the sun went back into shadow, but I was okay, even while still hearing all the oppressive thoughts in my mind. NOW I had something to say back to it!
Eventually they did subside and we came back home to Rome in May, 1980, to begin the next phase.
Therefore, what I’m saying to you, is God’s got you! He will not let go! We may have little slips maybe here and there, but that’s always educational because it’s no longer our kingdom, the kingdom of darkness and/or the flesh. We have been “delivered from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (Col 1:13). We have everything we need because “His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness … that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4).
We used to walk according to the spirit of wrath – it used to be “us,” but now it’s not “us” anymore. Now we walk – by faith – by the Spirit, and trust God moment by moment, which is simply a decision to do so, and trust that His Spirit Who dwells in you will come up under you to be the faith in you. Remember, He is not in some far-off heaven, but in the intimate depths of your heart.
Anyway, just wanted to share that bit with you. I assume I can’t send you books, etc.
Let me hear from you!
*From above: (Peter’s denial of Jesus exactly demonstrates this point. He had told Jesus he would NEVER betray Him, and I’m sure he determined not to. But he couldn’t help himself, when push came to shove. He was not walking in the Spirit – didn’t know much about that yet. And yes, when Jesus said, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” it’s the same issue. Yes, flesh IS weak. So will it be until the end of this life. It cannot be improved, and they labor in vain that try. But we do try, and that’s how we learn to not live from it. The “flesh” answer is always to “try harder,” but no amount of trying on our part can produce the outgoing Life of Christ within us. We have to find that out for ourselves, because we “think” we can do it if we apply ourselves, resolve with more resolve, etc. Like Peter. His denial of Christ is what broke Peter of his self-effort, because he had come to the at-first uncomfortable truth about himself, that he could “will” God’s will, but could not produce it, just as Paul said it in Romans 7:18b, “for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” Hallelujah, that’s the key!!)