Sometimes we ask, and sometimes we don’t, but God seems to have His way, in that we might ‘know Him more.’
For those who have asked to ‘know Him more’, they are often left confused when there is a diagnosis of cancer, or of some chronic disease, or a loss of a spouse or a child, or even both, or for parent who has a child in a destructive path. Sometimes, we don’t even ask to ‘know Him more’, but ‘life happens’ and the rug gets pulled out from underneath us, perhaps, security is lost, or limbs are lost or even paralyzed. These things happen, and yes, sometimes, to people who have prayed, “Lord, that I might know You more!”
It almost seems as if God is cold and uncaring. There is silence, there is quiet, there is s-o- m-u-c-h- t-i-m-e. But there is time for stillness now. To be still enough to hear Him say, “Be still and know that I am God.” He has ‘made us to lie down’. But have you ever thought, how will we ever know that He delivers us in our fears and doubts, unless we go through fear and doubt?
He IS answering our prayers, but it’s hard to see that this is true over the losses, over pain, over crisis, over the stress of it all! Waiting is not a favorite virtue of any human being! Waiting on people that we can see is hard enough, but waiting on an invisible God?
How are we to acquire ‘Ebeneizer stones’ unless we have had times of hardship that God has shown Himself faithful and able when we were not?
How is the beautiful pearl formed without the great irritation? Isn’t it true that the best diamonds are discovered in the dark, difficult rock? Perhaps, there was no time to be still. Perhaps, we cared a bit about God and His presence in our lives,but, perhaps, we never ‘really’ cared enough to bring us to a place of ‘stillness!’ But then ‘life happens’ or ‘tragedy’ and ‘great amounts of anxiety’ and suddenly we find ourselves needing more. Perhaps we remember “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…”and all we know is, “I’M WANTING LORD!”
Is it not also true, though, that in the driest of deserts, that every drop of water is precious? God’s word, it is living waters.
Are you dry as a desert? Are there many great irritations? Is there great darkness surrounding you? Let God’s word rain down: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,”Nor have entered into the heart of man,”The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9.
We have been broken to a point that God does a deeper work, perhaps that He could not do before the affliction, so that “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” 1 Cor 2:12.
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful,
who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Cor. 10:13. Who would have thought that the ‘way of escape’ would sometimes be the ‘fires’ of affliction, which finally have us running with focus, focus on God! Even though everything seems to be so ‘bad’ in reality, God uses it for ‘good’ because we are now closer to Him, and now He can pour out more grace.
All of a sudden, the words of Paul, “I rejoice in my infirmities, makes sense. Even though there are many moments of sorrow and pain and grief, ( and perhaps definite moments of ‘not rejoicing in the infirmities), but in between all of that, their is a most beautiful and perfect gift,the Holy Spirit, who makes His presence KNOWN and He walks every step with us and encourages us through the suffering, and lifts us up as if we were carried on eagle’s wings as He speaks truth into the depths of our beings. All of a sudden, ‘truth sets us free’ somehow.
All of a sudden we experience His ‘very present help’ in our times of trouble. And in the weakness and lack of all strength, there is a supernatural grace poured out. So much ‘makes sense’ now, that had no meaning before- We have been brought to a place where we KNOW that ‘our sufficiency is not of ourselves to think anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.’ 2 Cor. 3:5. We KNOW this to be true after a time of breaking.
And He has answered prayer, and He is answering prayer, because ‘we no longer preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves, servants for Jesus’sake.” 2 Cor.4:5.
Yes, we knew we were simply ‘clay pots’ so to speak, but now we are broken clay pots. The world might not think highly of us and we might not look great from the outside, but inside us,we are coming to KNOW that we have ‘this treasure in our earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 2 Corinthians 4:7. Exclamation point mine.(!) God allows all of this that we might KNOW HIM …God is faithful, He is and has been answering prayer. That now we are learning to ‘count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord,
for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.’ Phil.3:8
But not only that, but that we are also at a place where we can be ‘found in Him’… where as, perhaps we weren’t necessarily ‘found in Him’ before! And in our weakness we cry, “Increase my faith, God! Increase my faith!”
I prayed that prayer over and over again, and God brought me to Jenny. And He increased my faith by opening my eyes… and yes, I saw with my very own eyes, this verse in real life in my friend: that I, may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship…
of His sufferings,being conformed to…His death. Phil. 3:9:10. I saw a surrendered vessel, trusting and waiting on the ‘power of His resurrection’ to lift her from her ‘chair’ but instead He lifted her faith and she had intimate fellowship with Her creator, Her Husband, Her Friend in Jesus, which filled her with something so many of us, (that have so much), struggle to have…joy.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Phil 4:4.
That I might KNOW Him more, God gave me a ‘witness’!
“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all be done with love.” 1 Cor. 16:13,14. If Jenny can do this with no excuses,being paralyzed from the neck down, not just for a week, not just for a month, not just for a year, but for 5 and 3/4 years,then, so can we.
Has God allowed trial, trouble, pain and anguish, well, the ‘good’ about all of this is,
He takes away all of our ‘human’ glories and we are brought to a place ‘as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” 1 Cor. 1:31.
And amazingly wonderful about it all, is…we grow to KNOW Him more. And in turn LOVE HIM INTIMATELY!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and the perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him…” Hebrews 12:1,2,3.