Sunday, October 28, 2007

More on Trials of Faith...

Well, I'm still going through the book "Spiritual Depression" by D. M. Lloyd-Jones, and I continue to be blessed and convicted. It continues to be one of the best books I have ever read. It's so much more than depression-He really touches on the ares of our life and our walk that are common to man, and that do lead to spiritual depression when we're not seeing things in light of Scripture. The chapter I just finished, chapter 10, was on faith. He brings us to the passage of the disciples in the boat with Jesus. (Luke 8:22-25) I agree with Lloyd-Jones that I'm so thankful God put the disciples in the Bible for us to read about. I think we can all see ourselves in them and all their blunders, and here they were having a crisis of faith.

God permits things in our lives and often we find ourselves thinking He is unconcerned with our trials. "Master, Master, we are perishing!" It's as if they were saying, "Doesn't He care that we are all going to drown, Himself included?" He was asleep, but was He really unconcerned? Is He really unconcerned about us and our trials when He seems to be "asleep?" No, that would be inconsistent with His very nature. But, Christ does allow trials of faith in our lives, He permits trials. Feeling like Christ is unconcerned about what we are going through IS this trial of faith. Apparently, this was a very familiar theme with the Puritans and the Christians in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It goes to further prove that there is nothing new under the sun. There is nothing we are struggling with that is new.

What greatly encouraged me in this chapter was the last paragraph. It brought me to tears-and I'm talking the "pouring down your face" kind of tears! It was on "the value of even the weakest and smallest faith." When we look at this passage of Scripture, we see the disciples' weak and poor faith. They got agitated and panicked, but at the end, they did the right thing. They went to Christ. They still knew He could do something. Yes, it was poor faith, but "it is faith, thank God." And, the scriptures tell us that faith "as small as a mustard seed" is "valuable, because it takes us to Him." And, we learn something from the disciples here. We see what happens when we have weak faith. God is disappointed in us, He disciplines us, and He doesn't conceal that. "Where is your faith?" "O ye of little faith." "Why do you behave as if you were a Christian at all?" "Why didn't you apply your faith as you should have?" He doesn't conceal His disappointment, but:

"blessed be His name, He will nevertheless still receive us. He does not drive us away. He did not drive these disciples away. He received them, and He will receive us. Yes, and He will not only receive us, He will bless us and He will give us peace. 'He rebuked the wind and there was a great calm.' He produced the condition they were so anxious to enjoy, in spite of their lack of faith. Such is the gracious Lord that you and I believe in and follow. Though He is disappointed in us often and though He rebukes us, He will never neglect us; He will receive us, He will bless us, He will give us peace, indeed He will do for us what He did for these men. With this peace, He gave them a still greater conception of Himself than they ever had before. They marvelled, and were full of amazement at His wonderful power. He, as it were, threw that into the bargain on top of all the blessings."

And, isn't that just like our God? We all know how it is when we come through these trials. We see God at the end. But, it is possible to see Him in the midst of these things. We must exercise our faith, the faith that we already have been given. The tears came from realizing his faithfulness in spite of my weakness. Tears of what a gracious God I serve. It reminded me of one of my favorite verses.

"If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for HE CANNOT DENY HIMSELF."

2 Timothy 2:13

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