I waited patiently for the Lord. – Psalm 40:1 (NKJV)
Waiting patiently for the Lord seems to be a total failure at times. You are compelled by the Lord to stand still. You remember your calling; you are called to do great things for Him, and initially you are busy with so many things. Yes, trials, tribulations, afflictions and suffering – all are present, but none of that matters, because you are doing great work for the Lord, and then suddenly there is an enforced inaction.
Initially, you are not even sure if it is the will of God. As you attempt to do few things, all of them end up as failures and in disappointment. Slowly, as you see the hand of the Lord behind your standing still, initially there is a joy as you realize it is God Who is asking you to stand still, and there you are, standing still, like the sun over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Aijalon (Joshua 10:12-13).
Then you realize though your sun and moon are standing still, the earth is still rotating, and everyone’s life keeps going. They come to you often, complain about the various things happening in their life, but at least things are happening in their life. Though they are struggling, and are afflicted in every side, at least they are moving forward. For you, though, there has been no movement forward for so long. You are there, waiting patiently for the Lord.
And, you already know that, it is thousand times harder to stand still for the Lord, than being active in the work of the Lord amid the day-to-day’s troubles. It may look like a failure as the life moves on for others, but dear friend, this is one of the truest tests of your faith. To stand still, waiting for the Lord, without losing hope and losing your heart, to give up the work and honor to others, to be quiet, rejoicing in the promises of the Lord requires greater faith, especially when those busy multitude go ahead and go away. But you are chosen, by God, to stand still and see His salvation.
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. – John 11:5-6 (NKJV)
As the narration shifts to the sufferings that the family of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and the ordeal they had to suffer, the Bible tells that Jesus loved them. Yes, dear friend, all these pain, sufferings and afflictions that you are undergoing, is not because the Lord has ceased loving you, but because Jesus loves you.
At the very heart of all Lord’s dealing with you, is His loving heart; the very foundation of our Lord leading you through this valley of death is His loving hand. Eternal God is your Refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27)
The situations may be as dark as they can be; the reasons for the delay in the Lord’s deliverance may be mysterious to you; but dare to believe in the unmerited, infinite, immutable love that God has for you, that He showered on you on the Cross when His only Son was crucified for your sake.
Human love tries its best to avoid pain, especially to those who we love the most. That’s why the sisters informed Jesus that “he, whom You love, is sick” (John 11:3). From their understanding of how love works, they were very sure that Jesus would do everything to heal Lazarus and prevent them from any pain. Yet the Bible tells us, “Jesus loved Martha, her sister and Lazarus. So… He stayed two more days.”
So… how much import is there in this one little word. So… Jesus delayed not because He did not love them, but because He loved them. So, He delayed. It is His divine love that kept Him from sending His Word and heal Lazarus at once. It is His immutable love for them that kept Him from rushing to their home, take hold of Lazarus and healing him. Dear friend, as the Lord delays His deliverance, when everyone is telling you that the Lord has forsaken you, that He does not love you anymore… remember this. “Jesus loves you. So, He delays.”
Why does He delay? Because He knows that this situation will not lead to your death; this will not be the end of your life; but this path is allowed in your life for the glory of God; that the Son of God will be glorified through you (John 11:4). You will become a living testimony to the love of God. Many will see what great things that the Lord has done for you, and they will accept Him as their Savior – because of you. Yes, the Lord loves you. So….
“Why must I weep when others sing?
‘to test the deeps of suffering.”
Why must I work while others rest?
’to spend my strength at God’s request.”
Why must I lose while others gain?
’to understand defeat’s sharp pain.”
Why must this lot of life be mine
When that which fairer seems is thine?
”Because God knows what plans for me
Shall blossom in eternity.”
In what do you seek your glory?
Prayer: Do you seek glory in how much you pray every day? Are you proud that you spend more time in prayers than others?
Faith: Is your glory based on your faith? How strong you are no matter how difficult the circumstances become? How you can praise the LORD even in the midst of all the hardships?
Sufferings: Is your glory based on your suffering? On how much you have suffered for Christ, compared to others? That no one you know have suffered as much as you have?
Blessings: Do you glorify in the blessings that you have received from the LORD? Is this something that you are proud of? How your prayers are answered immediately?
These are the few common things, IMHO, that the Christians boast often. But, these are the few things that I have seen Christians murmur against the LORD too.
When their prayers are not answered quickly, they are upset with the LORD.
When their faith does not bring victory to them, they quickly question their faith or God in Who they trust.
When their sufferings are beyond what they can bear, they start to question the righteousness of the LORD.
When some blessings are denied, they are very upset with the LORD.
But, there is something that I boast upon. Something that would never ever disappoint me. That would never make me upset with the LORD. That would always bring joy to my mind.
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Galatians 6:14 (NIV)
In the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. I look at Calvary and see what the LORD has done for me in the cross.
I know my prayers are heard by God our Father, because Jesus Christ, His Son and my Savior, was torn into two, so that I can draw near to the Throne of Grace fearlessly and with confident.
I know that the LORD is pleased with my faith, because my faith is not based on my self-confidence or my self-will. It is based on the One who died for me on the cross, Jesus Christ, the Author and Perfecter of my faith.
Oh, there is nothing, nothing that can be compared to the suffering of Christ on the cross. So, when I think I am suffering, I look at the cross. I look at the sufferings that He endured for me. There is nothing to boast from my side.
And, all my blessings, all my success, everything that could be considered a blessing in my life came to me, only because Jesus Christ Himself became a curse for me on the cross, so that I receive the blessings of Abraham. (Galatians 3:13-14)
Now, I look again. There is nothing in me that I can boast. Prayer, faith, sufferings, blessings… everything came to me only through the cross of Christ. So, there is only one thing that I boast in. There is only one thing that I glory in.
The Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What about you?
Matthew 28:18-20“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.””
Brought to you by BibleGateway.com. Copyright (C) . All Rights Reserved.
Few years back, I was attending a Bible study for college students. Around 24 students, including me, would attend the Bible study every Friday night from 6 pm to 10 pm. Apparently, we didn’t have any life .
One day, one student asked a question to the study group: is it necessary for her to take baptism? Another student said, “NO, you don’t need baptism. We are saved not by our deeds, but by faith in Jesus Christ”.
I raised my hand and objected to that. I pointed out that, yes, in his epistle to Galatians, Apostle Paul did mention that we are not saved by works, but by faith in our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ; but we should not forget who his audiences were. Paul was writing to Galatians who had one specific character to them. Paul himself mentions that in the same letter: for all of you who were baptized…
But when I pointed it out, I was in for a surprise. Out of the remaining 23 students, 22 of them started shouting at me, almost on my face. To be honest, I was actually scared. Fortunately the study group leader was trying to understand my position – but then later he proclaimed proudly how he himself had not received baptism. This was met with thunderous applause and I was met with more jeering.
After 2 hours of my “fellow Christians” jeering at me, making snide comments at me, I reached home around 11 in the night (as no one wanted to give me a ride back, I had a very long walk back), I had nearly 40 emails waiting for me – attacking my character, questioning my salvation, accusing me of working for the other side (that would be for the devil, of course). They also had started an email campaign informing the study group leader that I was not welcome to the Bible study group anymore. If I attended it, they all would boycott. I informed the study group leader that I would not attend the study group again. I didn’t realize then that I have met Zophar for the first time in my life.
Zophar was one of the three friends of Job. He was the most dogmatic of all three, he was the first one to accuse Job directly of wickedness; he even claims that Job has got it easy (Job 11:6). He represents the concept of odium theologicum.
If you are a true Christian, trust me, you must have met your Zophar already; if not, don’t worry, Zophar is on his way to meet you.
They are ready to condemn you without knowing you. They could be fellow Christians, sometimes even pastors. “Oh, you are having trouble in life, that means you are a sinner and you are going straight to hell.” “Oh, you are sick. That means the LORD has forsaken you. There is no forgiveness for you.” “Oh, you sinned few times. That’s it. You are done. Not even the blood of Jesus Christ can blot out your transgressions. Get ready to be roasted in the hell for the rest of eternity.”
Odium theologicum. Though, this Latin phrase denotes intense hatred or anger that arises because of difference in theologies, nowadays, the same can be seen from people who don’t believe in God. People who are atheists and those who call themselves liberals, who accuse us of such an outlook – just try to point out the mistake in their arguments, you will see the spirit of Zophar coming out of them with vengeance.
Condemning you. Calling names. Intense hatred. Ridiculing your view points. We are right, so you are dead wrong. Sorry, I don’t have to listen to you, because I know I am right. There are so many ways, Zophar would try to attack you. But, dear friend, don’t lose heart. Even in the Bible, we see that both Eliphaz and Bildad spoke 3 times, Zophar could vent his anger only twice. Yes, they would lose their steam soon.
Instead of getting hurt at the words of Zophar, let us focus on the words of our Savior. There is no condemnation in His voice. No accusations. No blaming. That soothing voice tells us just one thing: “Come to me, and I will never turn you away.”
|Psalm 119:60“I will hasten and not delay to obey Your commands.”
Brought to you by BibleGateway.com. Copyright (C) . All Rights Reserved.