It's one thing to have the knowledge of healthy doctrine; it's another thing for it to be a heart-felt proclamation. I could explain to someone all day about the Doctrines of Grace, but my heart could be cold as ice while doing it. I could give someone counsel concerning how they should seek God in the midst of rough terrain, while I myself know I need to swallow the exact same pill. What echoes ring out when my heart shouts words like this? This C.S. Lewis quote captures one essence: "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world." The world is not all is should be. The universe is out of alignment. Something is terribly, terribly wrong in this current state. The other essence is my own sinfulness and selfish pursuit of autonomy from God. The ripple effect of the fall of Adam in Genesis 3 continues to reach our shores when we either audibly or tacitly say, "God, what you have set before me is not enough; I'll just try things my way, instead. I want to be Governor."
My soul grieves when God exposes my rebellious nature, especially when I travel beyond the confines of crying out my petitions to God. I have the right as an adopted son to ask God whatever I wish, yet my asking must always be respectful and never doubtful as to whether or not He will answer. And my asking, in recent weeks, hasn't been with pure motives; and, sometimes for a long duration, the very act of secret prayer has been almost absent. I've forgotten the promise of Philippians 4:6-7, that states when I pray and lift up requests with a thankful heart, the peace of God will guard my heart & mind in Christ Jesus.
Three exhortations have come to me from Scripture that I pray will keep me trusting in the fatherly hand of God.
- "Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life." - Jude 21. The unfailing, eternal, steadfast love of the Lord will never tarry.
- "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7. I can approach the throne of grace anytime and receive comfort.
- "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." - 1 John 5:21. Whenever #1 and #2 aren't occurring, then somewhere along the way I've constructed one/more things that capture my satisfaction, security, and significance rather than God.
Help my unbelief, Father. Take my hand and guide me; for I wander like a sheep. Lead me in the way everlasting.