Apples of Gold

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Real Christians should not feel like this!

 

‘There can be days when the Christian life is absolutely miserable!’

Now that is some statement coming from me but I believe that in many ways and for many people it is true. These words come straight from my own heart this morning. There is hardly a Christian that I know that does not suffer in one way or another. There are some in fact, though few in number whose trials seem to increase in intensity and number with each passing day.

We are all frail creatures at best and there is only so much that we can take or bear. No two people are the same and some can bear more than others. What happens when we reach the end or the limit of what we can bear? Do we give up? What does that mean? What does it involve? Do we sit in a corner in a huff for the rest of our lives or do we do something drastic like drinking ourselves stupid or filling our tissues with drugs?

It is not wine on the lees well refined that is the portion for many of my brothers and sisters today - but it is bitter herbs.

Imagine for a moment lying in your bed and thinking of facing yet another soul-destroying day in this life. Getting up when every bone in your body aches, when muscles scream with pain and when nerves are stretched to their limits.

Many obstacles must be faced and you just do not have the strength to go around them - never mind over them!

How can you lift a friend out of depression when the specialists cannot? How do you deal with a loved one who suffers when you cannot lift a finger to help in any way? How can you watch someone you love go through such pain and anguish? It would be much easier to get through such things ourselves rather than watch someone we care about go through them.

How can a void in a family circle be filled when the person is gone and all that remains are the memories? A photo, a book, a chair or even a plant - each one holds a memory of a better day and happier times.

How can I mend a broken heart? Is sympathy enough? What can be said to children whose mother or father has walked out on them?

There are many who are single and lonely who would love a companion in this life and who believe that their Christian walk would be much richer if only God would provide one. How many times have they heard someone say, ‘Oh don’t worry someone will turn up?’ Is that the encouragement that they need? Can they rest their hope on such words?

How many Christian husbands are there whose wives are the breadwinners and they are stuck at home watching the bills mount up and listening to their children asking for things that they know they simply cannot have?

It may have been an unexpected and lengthy unemployment. It may be living in an unemployment black-spot or it may be through accident or ill-health - but by whatever means they cannot do what they most want to do and that is to provide for their family. The husband and father feels like a leper in his own home while in his soul there is a feeling of utter uselessness.

Each one of these problems is difficult to bear in and of itself but many Christians have to bear not just one of the above problems but a combination of them at the same time!!

Their lives seem to experience a domino effect of negatives, one leading on to the next. There are times when envy creeps in - not an envy of those who are strangers to grace and to God, but envy of brothers and sisters whose lives are so much easier then theirs. This period of envy will not be allowed to fester, but will soon be burned up in the crucible along with the rest of the filth that God is purging.

God’s ways are past finding out and He deals with His own in a peculiar fashion, though laden with love. Each trial is but an ingredient in the crucible that He has fashioned for our sanctification in this life.

There is purification in the troubled Christians life because the trials bring them to the feet of Jesus, bring them crying to Him in utter anguish of soul. They reach the end of their tether, their strength has come to an end, and they are become prostrate before a thrice Holy God crying to Him from the depths.

They can bear no more, and they can go no further. ‘It is enough’, they cry. They reel and stagger like a drunken man. They are at their wit’s end. They reach the place where no man can help. They come to the place where lying flat on their faces they inhale the dust of the ground while above there is a Man nailed to a wooden cross!

‘They looked to Him and lightened were,

Not shamed were their faces

This poor man cried, God heard and saved

Him from all his distresses.’

“The just shall live by faith.”

I spoke to a brother the other night on the phone and he had great joy in telling me of the experience that brought him from darkness to light nearly 20 years ago. I was delighted for him but there was something better. I told him not to be looking back on what happened 20 years ago but to look back at what happened 2000 years ago and how it affects our lives today.

“Today if you will hear my voice then harden not your hearts.” Today - not tomorrow or yesterday - but today is all that we have. Are we to hear His voice today and live, or do we shut our ears for another day?

I woke up this morning overwhelmed by the difficulties that I have to face today. My soul was in my boots and I felt as though I was carrying a lead weight around with me in the pit of my stomach. I felt that I was at such a distance from my God that I could not even lift my head. I did not have the strength nor the will even to read my Bible yet I felt constrained to start typing this piece.

Why?

Read the title again. The thought came to me that if I was feeling like this then there must be others feeling the same and if for nothing else I wanted those precious brothers and sisters to know that they are not alone this morning.

Never before have I felt that anything I have written has been squeezed or forced out of me. I can no longer say this! I was compelled to write this by my Triune God. He knows the reason behind it I do not. It is up to Him to take these jumbled words and bless them to needy souls.

He led me this morning from a feeling of utter despair and hopelessness through this exercise to the foot of the cross. My soul is uplifted and the dark, threatening clouds that hung around my soul are now slowly beginning to fade as a light is beginning to shine through.

Well is it wrong for Christians to feel as I did this morning? There are times and situations when we cannot do anything but only God can. We must believe that He will come to our rescue in His own way and time. At such times we must put into practice all that we have learned over the years in order that patience may have her perfect work.

Last week I read the parable of the prodigal son. I knew that the father went out to meet his younger son when he saw him coming.  What I had not realised before was that he also went out to meet the elder son! Anger and pride prevented the elder son from going to his father with his complaint but the son’s anger and pride could not stop the father from expressing his love to him.

The father took the initiative on both occasions.

He will also take the initiative in your life today. Wait and see. When He does you will enjoy an embrace in love and your soul will find itself wrapped in the safety and comfort of His eternal arms.

There is no sweeter nor safer place to be than in the arms of Jesus.

 

Author : Iain Mackenzie   Edited by : Pastor al Moak