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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

When All Else Fails

I've been away from my blog for a little while due to changes in my job, preparing to move to a new home, and some personal difficulties as well. While several of these activities were unavoidable, collectively they have taken a toll on my physical strength and I have just tried to focus on feeling better. As of this writing, I am on the mend.
I have always believed in the ability of our great God to see us through any storm, lift us up in the midst of all adversity, and keep us safe in His protective arm no matter what comes to us. I still believe these things with all my heart. I know my God is ever present in time of trouble, no matter what that trouble may be. Recently though, I have also come to understand that there are times when God is silent---when his hand cannot be felt, His voice cannot be heard, and the way before me is unclear. It is a time of questioning, a time of gut wrenching prayer, a time of asking why, and a time of finding no rhyme or reason to the situation in which we find ourselves. It is a time of trusting and of faith being put to the test.
During this time of testing, I found solace in the book of Job. I read of his testing and trials, his losses, and the stilted words of advice that came from his so-called friends. I found myself identifying with the questions he asked himself as he pondered what he had done to make God withdraw His presence and protection. As I read where job described His life's works to God, I found myself also recounting the sacrifices I had made in my own life to do my Lord's bidding. I reminded God of my repentance as a teenager, my devotion to His house and his work, my loyalty in the face of all despair, my trust in Him despite the tragedies that had found their way into my life. Then I soon came to see that life is not at all about suffering, it's about Faith. It's about trusting God when there seems to be no reason to trust Him. It's about believing that God is able to do above and beyond what we could ever hope or imagine. Knowing God is a God of His Word, believing that He will bring that Word to pass in us, securing our faith by making Himself known to us at every turning of life's pages---this is what adversity is all about. It is all about Faith.
As I look back over the past few weeks and the difficulties I've faced, I am reminded of the most poignant words of Job's conversations with his so-called friends. Found in chapter 23, verses 8-10, Job tells of how he searched for God. He describes how he looked for God in every place he had found him before, but God was not there. Then, he makes the statement of faith, "But He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.". The word "shall" is Job's faith in action, it is his revelation of the reward of trusting God. It was the statement that secured my faith in God when facing troubled times.
I am certain that this will not be the last crisis of faith I have in my walk with God. Life has a way of bringing you low, of hitting below the belt, and draining us of what shred of faith and hope we may have been clinging to. But, I find joy today in knowing that He knows the steps I take. Though frail and halting those steps may be, He knows them just the same. I can truthfully say, when all else fails, God never does. Silent though he may be at times, hidden though he may seem to be, He is ever present. He never fails.
Oh, how I pray to be strong in my faith. I pray to never waver, never lose sight of the price he paid for me. He is the God of my heart, the source of my strength, and the unending spring of joy. He is the love of my life. He is the One I cling to when all else fails.

In Grace,