"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"
Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Going Deep (The Audible)
Going deep in a football game is the most exciting play there is. Going deep for a Christian is about as far as you can get from joy and excitement, but is as necessary as the occasional long-bomb is to a football game.
What is ‘going deep’ for a Christian? It is looking beyond the surface into your heart, your motivations, you very will. More than 12 years ago I shook my fist at God and asked Him why. My wife had been bed-ridden for a few months and was suicidal; we had an adopted daughter with many special needs and very little help; we had two sons in high school; and I was working and commuting 60-70 hours a week.
Naturally, I blamed God for my circumstances. But God’s response was both immediate and unsympathetic. “You have not yet suffered unto blood!” This struck me like a cold, wet towel across the face. I thought of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane when He suffered emotionally, perhaps worse than the physical suffering He endured on the cross. His agony caused Him to sweat great drops of blood. I was immediately convicted of my insignificant sufferings and my audacity to complain about them.
Then I remembered the rest of the verse. In the NAS version, Hebrews 12:4 reads, “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.” Oh dear, this didn’t sound good at all. There seemed to be an insinuation that I would be required to strive against sin to the point of shedding blood, or, at least, to the point of no longer sinning. But I was a good person; there were no overt sins in my life. I went to church every week, I tithed, I prayed, I read my Bible, I didn’t do pornography or any other obvious sin that I could think of.
It did occur to me that my priorities were a little off with working too much, but I was stuck between financial needs and not nearly enough time at the office to do all the work I had to do. So instead of taking some time and praying about what God had been trying to tell me, I just continued on until I was exhausted. A couple months later, my mind simply shut-down. I was no longer able to concentrate or to multi-task; my short-term memory was gone. That was 12 years ago, and I still suffer from those symptoms today.
A few weeks later I went on sick leave, went home, and fell into a severe depression. A year later, I was referred to Ricardo, a man with a prayer ministry and an extraordinary gift of discernment. He led me to the Lord! That I had been a practicing Christian, with many amazing answers to prayer for 20 years, didn’t deter him one bit. Funny thing though, at that moment I suddenly became intensely interested in the Bible and have been ever since.
Had God left me? That’s blasphemy to some people who believe such a thing is impossible. “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” (See my blog with that very scripture for the title). The scripture was a promise that was, in fact, dependent upon the early Hebrews obedience. When they disobeyed, as in the rebellion at Kadesh Barnea, and as Achan did at Jericho, God withdrew his hand from them, and they were severely defeated in battle.
Had God left me? Or did He do as He did with Job and allowed Satan certain freedoms to test me? If He didn’t leave me, why did Ricardo’s leading me back to Christ have such an effect? Unfortunately, I cannot answer those questions yet, perhaps someday. Please read my next blog, Going Deep (The Pass).