Friday, October 7, 2016

StreamsInTheDesert : October 7

Who is among you that feareth Jehovah, that obeyeth the voice of his servant? He that walketh in darkness and hath no light, let him trust in the name of Jehovah and rely upon his God" (Isa. 50:10, RV).

“What shall the believer do in times of darkness -- the darkness of perplexity and confusion, not of heart but of mind? Times of darkness come to the faithful and believing disciple who is walking obediently in the will of God; seasons when he does not know what to do, nor which way to turn. The sky is overcast with clouds. The clear light of Heaven does not shine upon his pathway. One feels as if he were groping his way in darkness.

Beloved, is this you? What shall the believer do in times of darkness? Listen! "Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and rely upon his God." The first thing to do is do nothing. This is hard for poor human nature to do. In the West there is a saying that runs thus, "When you're rattled, don't rush"; in other words, "When you don't know what to do, don't do it." When you run into a spiritual fog bank, don't tear ahead; slow down the machinery of your life. If necessary, anchor your bark or let it swing at its moorings.

We are to simply trust God. While we trust, God can work. Worry prevents Him from doing anything for us. If our minds are distracted and our hearts distressed; if the darkness that overshadows us strikes terror to us; if we run hither and yon in a vain effort to find some way of escape out of a dark place of trial, where Divine providence has put us, the Lord can do nothing for us.

The peace of God must quiet our minds and rest our hearts. We must put our hand in the hand of God like a little child, and let Him lead us out into the bright sunshine of His love. He knows the way out of the woods. Let us climb up into His arms, and trust Him to take us out by the shortest and surest road.
--Dr. Pardington*

*Taken from: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/desert/

***
As they say, this devotional hit me like a ‘ton of bricks’ today.

“The first thing to do is nothing.” WHAT?! Everything in me cries out ‘NO!’ Do nothing?? But this is what is written. Dr. Pardington, as much as I hate it, I know deep down you’re right! The fact is, when the fog comes, and we don’t know where to turn, trudging ahead because we want or need to is often not what we need to do. An experienced sailor knows this. And we should too. In our world of rush, rush, rush, we always just want to plow ahead, but what if…what if the fog has been presented in front of us as a very clear sign to us to stop and look around? What if this fog has been put in front of us because we need to learn something of the LORD’s Sovereignty in the fog? I think it’s far too easy to trudge along, in our own strength – as odd as that sounds – because we’ve trained ourselves to be self-sufficient because that’s what the world teaches us to do. But the fact is, we aren’t meant to be self-sufficient. We are meant to be reliant on the All Sufficient One – and guess what?! That ‘aint us! The All Sufficient One is none other than Jehovah!

“…if we run hither and yon in a vain effort to find some way of escape out of a dark place of trial, where Divine providence has put us, the Lord can do nothing for us.” There’s a LOT in these words. I think we would all do very well to sit back and chew on them today. There’s two things here that I see – our response and God’s intentionality. First, our response is to run away from the ‘dark place of trial’ but note, this is ‘where Divine providence has put us’. How often do we run away from trial, excusing it as ‘fate’ or pushing through and denying that we’ve been placed there for a reason? And by God, to boot. The truth is, I think we’ve cut short far too many lessons in our lives because we’ve run away from trial, from pain, from anything that just might be a lesson from God in disguise. But note, it is where Divine providence as put us. How does this sit with you? The pain, agony, trial, struggle, frustration has been orchestrated by God. He’s intentionally put us there for reasons that we may never know. All through Scripture we see this time and time again. God putting people intentionally in a trial for their good, and His glory. We wrestle, I wrestle, through this as it sounds too difficult, too outside the box of God’s Goodness. Well, all I can say is read through the Stories of Job and Joseph and Elijah and basically all the disciples (including Paul the Apostle) and you’ll find the LORD loves to place his followers in places of difficulty. Why? You won’t find any short, simple answers here because I’m on the journey too. But let me just tell you that so far in my journey, even in the most painful circumstances I find myself in (even today) I know without a shadow of a doubt that the LORD, regardless of whether I like the circumstance I’m confronted with today, has lovingly put it before me for my good and his glory. So…my response today, like Job’s must be: The LORD gave, and LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD (Job 1:21).


So…may we do nothing today. May we not escape the trial today. May we listen intently for His voice above the waves and experience yet another loving lesson from our Heavenly Father. He’s the Gracious Gift Giver. We need to trust that He is good. All the time. So, regardless of what comes our way, we can give thanks and say, ‘Bless the LORD, Oh my Soul, Bless His Holy Name’. Amen!  

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