Apples of Gold

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‘…for he himself knew what he would do.’

John Chapter 6 Verse 6

 

More often than not in these last few weeks or so I’ve found myself in the position of simply not knowing what to do. ‘Caught between a rock and a hard place.’ ‘Stuck in no man’s land.’ ‘At the end of my tether.’

All of the above apply and more.

This weekend facing a mountain of difficulties that mount up by the day, instead of buckling under as I usually do, I determined to seek my Lord and Saviour with all my heart and soul and see if any light at all would shine on the path that lay ahead.

I just cannot bear to live with fear and doubt endlessly weighing me down. How can I possibly be an effective, lively, shining witness for my Lord if I am not prepared to put into practice – on a daily basis -what I invite others to do?

‘Strengthen the weak and hands and confirm the feeble knees’ was my first petition. I knew that my faith was fragile and that at any moment I would find myself crushed under the weight of facing my problems.

I had a choice. I did not have the answers. I could either worry myself sick (my usual cure under such circumstances) or I could put the little faith that I had into practice.

How easy it is to live by faith when everything is going my way and there are no problems on the horizon. I could not remember the last time that I was in such a position.

Late on Friday evening I read the following short message written by Mr Spurgeon and I was conscious of being taught a precious lesson.

He writes:-

‘Perhaps, O tried soul the Lord is doing this to develop your graces. There are some of your graces that would never have been discovered if it were not for the trials. Do you know that your faith never looks so grand in summer weather as it does in winter?

Love is too often like a glow-worm showing but a little light except it be in the midst of surrounding darkness.

Hope itself is like a star – not seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity. Afflictions are often the black folds in which God sets the jewels of His children’s graces, to make them shine the better.

It was but a little while ago that, on your knees, you were saying, “Lord, I fear I have no faith: let me know that I have faith.”

Was not this really, though perhaps unconsciously, praying for trials? – For how can you know that you have faith until your faith is exercised?

God often sends us trials that our graces may be discovered, and that we may be certified of their existence. Besides, it is not merely discovery; real growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials.

God trains His soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers and climb mountains, and walk many a weary mile with heavy knapsacks on their backs. Well, Christian, may not this account for the troubles through which you are passing?

To be left unmolested by Satan is no evidence of blessing.’

I did not find it easy to lay aside my fears and my unbelief but I had a fierce determination to do business with my God. So often in the past I have found my soul paralysed through fear and it was a real battle for me to try not to allow the same thing to happen again this time.

God has never ever failed me and when I needed any type of deliverance from difficulties in the past then He has done just that. I reason with myself in such a foolish and spiritually immature manner. While I am thankful for all His past workings in my life I reason that this time may be different!

Perhaps because of my constant sinning against Light He will turn His back on me. I have failed Him so much in recent days that He may have turned His ear from me and my prayers are so full of corruption that they do not warrant a reception.

I know that the Bible tells me that ‘He will never leave me nor forsake me’ but I deserve to be forsaken and left to my own devices. I do not deserve His love, mercy or goodness.

I did not deserve it the day I was saved either and since then I have been sinning against Light constantly and that makes it all the more difficult for me to believe that He will continue to forgive me. How long will He put up with my folly? Such reasoning comes from an evil heart of unbelief and a barrage of endorsements from Satan.

What I needed more than anything else this weekend was to trust in Him.

O how easy these words trip off my tongue yet how difficult they are to put into practice. I required a steely determination that neither Satan nor my own unbelief was going to gain a victory this time.

I started by meditating on the Creator God. The God who created all things by the Word of His power and who now sustains and upholds all things by that same power. He was no longer a God defined by either my intellect or my imagination. He was above and beyond my comprehension and no longer ‘boxed in’ by my limited knowledge.

This was the God I needed to trust.

I thought about the Fall, the Exodus of the children of Israel and the numerous deliverances of God’s servants throughout the centuries.

I reminded myself of Daniel spending a night in the company of lions and of him being taken out of the den and no manner of hurt was found upon him because he believed in His God.

My mind caught up with three friends of Daniel, of the Companion they had in the fiery furnace and where the only thing that was burnt was their bands.

I thought upon those who faced other difficulties and I marvelled at how my God had delivered them all. I moved into the New Testament and the heralding of John the Baptist. I heard the words, ‘behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.’

I travelled along the dusty roads with Jesus and watched as He turned water into wine, as He healed by the pool of Bethesda, as He raised Jarius’ daughter, as He fed the five thousand, as He calmed the storm, as He kept silent before Herod and as He promised eternal life to the man who was hanging on the cross next to Him.

I felt encouraged and strengthened in my soul as I heard Joseph of Arimathaea plea for the body of Christ, then I watched as he laid Him in his own tomb.

The Man I was putting my trust in was dead and He lay lifeless in someone else’s grave! What was Peter thinking at this time? Did Andrew or Philip or John know for sure that this was part of the plan? Did they encourage others to await the resurrection? My mind stayed in their company for quite some time.

The women came early the next morning prepared to do their duty with oil and spices but He was gone. The One whom I was to put my trust in had defeated death, hell and the grave and had risen.

He was alive!! He is alive for evermore.

I have always said that the Christian should celebrate Easter every single day.

Marvel of all marvels, He did it all for me! Jesus Christ, God’s Son died for me.

I had to trust this Man, I just had to. Away with my unbelief and away with all my fear and doubts I will have this Man to rule over me.

I could easily have frozen on Friday evening and spent the whole weekend feeling sorry for myself but thankfully I was able to put the little knowledge that I have of Him and His Word into practice.

As I read John chapter six this morning I put myself in Philip’s shoes. On Friday I would have been left fretting facing five thousand hungry souls with only two hundred pennies in my pocket.

No amount of staring at the problem was going to fix it. In my case no amount of worrying was going to make my situation any better. Like Philip, I did not have the answers but we both knew a Man who did.

The Lord tested Philip with His question as to how on earth they were going to cater for such a crowd and He challenged me with more or less the same question.

I trust a Man who knows what He is doing and what He is going to do. I trust a Man who knows me better than I know myself. I trust a Man who died where I should have died. I trust a Man who took the punishment that my sins deserved.

I trust a Man who has never let me down in any way and who has guided my paths through many a spiritual minefield. I trust a Man who has in reality carried me most of the way.

It is now Monday morning and all the problems and difficulties that faced me on Friday are still there. They have not miraculously disappeared into thin air nor have they been resolved.

What then is the difference between then and now?

Well, I still do not know what to do and I do not have any easy answers to my problems but today I trust wholeheartedly a Man who knows exactly what to do. His name is Jesus and He has given me peace in my soul today and the necessary faith to trust Him.

I believe that He will do what I cannot do and that He will deliver me from these difficulties in His own way and in His own time. He will guide me in plain paths and He will make the rough places smooth. I trust Him to change the storm into a calm and if there are baskets of fragments left over then I will gladly share them with you.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.

 

Author : Iain Mackenzie   Edited by : Pastor al Moak