There are times when it seems that God is hiding himself; times when He seems far away or not of power to assist.
David felt these times and cried out to God “Why are you hiding in times of my trouble? Where are you? Where is your deliverance?” The soul too echoes a similar cry as it looks for the empowerment of God in times of affliction, oppression, persecution and temptation. Is God really removing His hand of help? Does He ignore our cries and prayers? Why does He seem so far away?
As the saints go from the growth stage of a babe in Christ to a young man, they come to learn that daily growth cycles follow a 3 point pattern: 1) The Lord provides grace to reveal Himself, bringing illumination and understanding, 2) the adversary is comes by permission of the Lord to resist our faith by setting a temptation, and 3) we are rewarded by God for standing strong in temptation and overcoming by resourcing His tools of grace and truth.
At point 1 and 3 of our daily growth cycles God’s power is abundant, His grace is flowing and His presence feels strong. We behold Him and feel the reality of His parenting care as we receive words of knowledge, revelation, and wisdom; as we receive peace, regeneration and the renewing of our mind; as we are given power for sanctification and holiness. We feel the strong direction of His truth as we behold Him through our communion with Him.
These times feel so encouraging. The soul is greatly edified as it experiences this oneness and this power of God abounding with refreshment, strengthening and renewing. The spirit of your mind feels focused with truth and the soul feels complete. Joy and hope feel so substantial at these times.
At point 2 of the growth stage, things seem different and difficult and the soul feels as though its tethering to God has loosened or become severed. Where is the stream of God’s peace? Where is the flow of His grace? Where is the strong sense of confidence that was previously present during the first and third stages? A battle begins to materialize as the mind contemplates what is happening and the soul feels a sense of contradiction and unsettledness. The voice of the conscience seems to provoke with questions of security and the voice of guilt looms with opportunity to condemn.
What is happening here? Where is that previous sense of “all is well” and that feeling of security and power in God? That is the same question David asked God? Where is the glory and lifter of my head? Where is my shield and refuge?
The time where God seems far away is the time where we are being tested. This is the time where it seems as God’s power is not present or effectual. The truth is God is ordaining a scenario for our growth; a time where He is observing what is the ruling power as He sets a trial of our faith: a time where we are tested with choices: the option of endurance by faith or the option of succumbing to the flesh. When Satan comes to resist us he tempts us with the choice of finding hope in ourselves and the world. He reminds us of the pleasures of the temporal things of life, that we might be persuaded to assign value for indulgence and completion. Satan never tempts with what is not uncommon, but what is common to us. Our past, our strengths, weaknesses, our fears, our frailties, our passions and powers. He speaks many things to the mind as he seeks to evoke a response that confirms the flesh.
Let’s look at some of the things he says to us during resistance:
1. God has abandoned you
2. Relax and take it easy, this too will pass
3. You are important and you need to take care of you
4. There is no hope
5. You are never going to get through this
6. Why do you keep struggling with this same problem?
7. You really deserve a break from this you are working too hard
8. Remember you are you so be authentically you
9. You just need to awaken the giant in you
10. You will never do anything right
11. Just keeping thinking positive and you’ll get through this
12. You need to be more honest with yourself
What do these types of inspirations led to?
1. Feelings of inadequacy and failure
2. Feelings of worthlessness
3. Feelings of pity, despair, despondency
4. Feelings of anxiety, apprehension, fretfulness
5. Feelings of doubt and doublemindedness
6. Feelings of insecurity and restlessness
7. Feelings of competition, envy
What is Satan offering you as a choice to resist your faith?
1. The option to put off exercising faith to another time
2. The option to indulge my senses to feel better
3. The option to neglect prayer for watching television or another task
4. The option to perceive the situation in inequitable light
5. The option to quite the voice of my conscience or listen to its voice
6. The option to empower myself with good thoughts & good feelings
7. The option to complain and murmur and vent my feelings
8. The option to listen to unwholesome counsel over truth
9. The option to draw upon personal power of influence
10. The option to rehearse wounds and offenses
11. The option to manipulate & extort out of another what we want to hear to feel better about ourselves or our situation
12. The option to blame another for our pain or present scenario
13. The option to weigh things in light of our conscience, moral center or past experience
14. The option to master a situation to change its impact upon you
Is God really hiding Himself in these times of ‘trouble.’?
No. Although it feels as though God has taken a step back, He is merely providing a testing time for our strengthening. This test allows us to show whom we love, Him or ourselves and what we value, His power and His record or our own. During these daily times of resistance we are called by God to come to His throne to access His grace, that by the empowerment of His grace we might overcome.
1. ourselves (the temptation to resource our own prowess, strengths, experiences, wisdom and power)
2. sin (the knowledge system and fruit that Satan inspires and authors)
3. the world (its wisdom, power, tools, inspirations, philosophies)
4. the devil (the father of lies and the kingdom of unclean spirits that work with him
These are the times where we may feel weak and tempted, as though the floor has been removed from us or we are in a corner with no sure way out. But God is faithful and has always made a way of escape.
1Cr 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it] .
What is the way of escape?
The way of escape is to mold with the inspiration and power of God’s grace. This means using the tools Jesus sprinkled His blood on for our daily resourcing and expression of faith. This is what Satan is trying to stop us from doing by offering options. He is saying “You don’t have to exercise your faith with grace; just be you, just relax, just vent a little, these things will help you feel better because they are true to you. Be who you are; stop trying to be some super spiritual person and just enjoy life a little.”
If we choose to listen to Satan we will be confirming ourselves and continuing to practice sin. But God wants us to escape this temptation of sin and He wants us to choose His way: the communion tools bring His peace to our soul and His grace to our hearts, that we may gain new strength, new perspective and new understanding, and come into a rest and refreshing authored by Him.
If we will be faithful to not listen to the voice of the adversary during times of resistance but to reach for the tools of the Spirit (prayer, study of doctrine, prophecy, remain in contact with spiritual government, truth, Spirit, gifts of the Spirit, manifold graces and the 5 callings) then God will be faithful to empower us to overcome and will reward us with the substance of Christ’s divine nature: his fruit, his virtue, his light and life: HIS SALVATION. Then we can say with David:
Psa 13:5 But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.