At this present time this is exactly where I am. Very weak. I know that I am not alone, and I am not looking for sympathy. It is just serves as an opening statement to the foundation to this post, but also as the foundation of my life. This is no new rodeo for me, just that the ride has become bumpier, with a lot of blue marks on the way.
This morning I was reminded of an important question we all often forget to ask…”Why is Father allowing this?” This made me think of the autobiography I started reading again of the late George Muller. For those who do not know him, he lived during the 1800’s and opened many orphanages and was known for his great faith. Not once did he ever ask anyone for money. He only looked to God. Those who worked for him in the orphanage was under a vow to never divulge to anyone on the outside of the need of the orphanage or the needs of George Muller himself. He raised 1, 500 000 pounds in his lifetime without ever asking anyone for any money. This is not to mention the book made of many volumes about the everyday miracles, even those who were at the last second. He was truly a giant in the faith! In his journals he often told of his struggles with sin and how much he despised these weaknesses in him. I think if I had to give two words to describe him, it would be humility and faith. The same can be said of a late 1600 century monk called Brother Lawrence. Both these books are in my Recommended Books page and many more. Brother Lawrence never wrote a book, but he wrote letters to someone who later made a book of it, called “Practicing the Presence of God”. I cannot recommend it enough. It is a small book that will stay with you all your life. I have read it probably 5 times, if not more. The last few chapters speaks of this man’s great faith. But everything before it, speaks of his humility. The foundation of great faith.
At this stage you may ask me why I am mentioning these two men of great faith. Well, as I was reading the autobiography of George Muller, I came to the part where it spoke about the struggle he had with sicknesses all his life. Father did heal him of many ailments, but he often went for surgeries and was never healed completely. I can see how this was also the case with many other men of great faith, even Paul. God truly knows how to humble us on this journey in faith. Art Katz my mentor, once mentioned in one of his sermons how he was suffering from hemorrhoids, unbeknownst to those around him. A young man came up to him after a service and asked him how he remained humble in all the revelations and wisdom Father gives him. His answer, “Oh God has His ways…He has his ways”. As I am sitting here slowly understanding what is happening, I once again see Father’s provision in my daughter. He knows exactly which iron will sharpen the other. What it will take to constantly bring me to my knees. He knows in His wisdom how to keep me low. And now knowing this, I can walk more focused. Knowing that the next time I see her, having to face the abuse or endless barrage of questions, that through her, His loving hand is on me. His hand on me to humble me, to keep me dependent on Him in my weakness.
We often want strength when we are weak. It makes perfect sense. What does He do? He gives me something that I cannot handle. He gives me something that overwhelms, humanly impossible and that I cannot control. Sounds to me like a recipe for faith. He told me a while ago on a previous fast that the things that will not help me on this journey He is taking me on are: dreams, visions, revelations, friends or family. What will help me on this journey are patience, long-suffering, endurance and faithfulness in love. Remember, faith worketh by love. That list in itself should let major warning bells go off. At this I am reminded of two verses in Hebrews that is close to my heart.
Hebrews 5: 7 – 8
Who in the day of his flesh, when he offered up prayers and supplication with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save him from death and was heard in that he feared.
Does that sound like a strong and courageous man? It sounds to me like a weak and desperate man. With strong crying and tears he prayed. The fear He had was not to sin against the Father in this time of weakness, which is in the flesh. Subject like us to not only sin, but terrible weakness. In verse 8 we read the following –
Though he was a Son, he learned obedience in the things that he suffered.
Faith is not for the strong and courageous. Faith is for the weak and desperate to make them strong and courageous. It just so happens that by the examples I have given, you cannot have the one without the other. There are many out there with bold claims, and even those with wonderful testimonies, but it seems very interesting to me the path Father takes His great heroes of the faith on. The following is said in George Muller’s autobiography:
“But in faith and in the filial spirit, he always continued to be a little child. Mr. J. Hudson Taylor well reminds us that while in nature the normal order of growth is from childhood to manhood and so to maturity, in grace the true development is perpetually backward toward the cradle; we must become and continue as little children, not losing, but rather gaining, childlikeness of spirit. The disciple’s matures manhood is only the perfection of his childhood.”
The more we grow in Him, the more He shows us our weakness and baptize us in it. Unless He does this, we will depend on ourselves. We will be as a crooked arrow that keeps on turning to our own understanding, even our spiritual understanding. We will inevitably go our way and forsake His. Ask yourself why He would allow Paul this thorn in the flesh we read of in 2 Corinthians 12. This “thing” of which many speculate about what it is, often missing the whole point. Why such a great man of faith, next to Jesus, the Apostle? Did he not go through enough already? Think of what he endured: shipwrecked, beaten, running for his life, fought with beasts, imprisonment, lashed. The list goes on. Just take the time of what it would feel like to be bobbing around in an ocean? How would that affect you? What about being lashed and being thrown in a prison. Not our neat prisons, but a dungeon crawling with insects, mice, excrement and the likes? Not for a night only. Think of what it cost for him to have written the epistles that we so freely can read. And in spite of all that, God decides, “Paul, I think you did not have enough suffering. I think I will give you something to be your constant companion. It will never leave your side. In fact, you will call it a thorn in your side. I will keep you under the baptism of suffering to keep you in weakness. Because Paul, I know your heart. I know you have gone through so much for the gospel, but Paul, even the suffering can be an idol. Even the suffering can be a pedestal for you to stand on and secretly boast about what you have suffered for the Kingdom. And because I will not share My glory with anybody, I have provided a means to constantly humble you. How you look at it, how you perceive and deal with it in your life will either humble you or make you bitter. How you deal with it will either cause you to with strong crying and tears depend more on me, or cause you to lean on your own understanding. Your obedience is taught to you through the suffering of my choice, because I know what you need. Will you embrace it or reject it? My wisdom is not like yours. You want to take it away, I want it to stay. You want it to be light, I want it to cause you to bow your knee. Not for a day, not for a season, but as a disposition. For unless I do this, you will take My glory.”
This reminded me of something I wrote down in my journal during a previous fast. I wrote:
“Unless I allow Him to fully use me, I will inevitably use Him.”
This post is for someone out there that has been fighting the same battle that is not of their choosing. Meaning that it did not come because of any sin they have done, but rather by design. God’s design. It takes wisdom to know the difference. The importance of knowing your season cannot be stressed enough. We need to walk by the Spirit. We need to ask “Why are You allowing this Father?” Because unless we know we could be kicking against the goads, against that which He has allowed. The same goes for the opposite. Unless you know for sure, you might allow something that He wants you to fight. Wisdom remains the principal thing, and in all your getting, get understanding (Proverbs 4: 7).
Oh the wisdom of our Father! This world do not know Him. They cannot know Him, but He gives us His Word, His Spirit and His love. In all His dealings, sometimes very cruel in our eyes, He never cease to amaze us. Not all will necessarily fall into this category concerning what they are presently going through. But I know that nobody is exempt. If Paul had to go through it, and Jesus had to go through it, what makes you think you do not have to? The key is recognizing when you are there, then to lean in the arms of the One who holds you, and ride the storm. Let the pain, the sorrow, and agony wash over you as you surrender to the humbling of your soul. For out of the soil of your heart will rise a new song, a sacrifice of joy to the One who holds you in His hands.
Father reminded me of a word He gave me last year that I think will encourage you. May you be richly blessed by our Father’s compassion and love amidst the making of great faith in you, through humility.
WORD RECEIVED – 27 November 2020
THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE…
It is I who establish the boundaries of all habitations. It is I who have commanded the sea to go no further and set the mountains in their place. It is I who have placed the starts in the sky and have called them by name. It is I who call the sun by morning, and raise the moon at night. Yes, it is I who hold the cradle of this earth, I who was and is, and is to come. It is I who have placed all in order and have set the boundaries of all living things. And it is even I that have made the destroyer to destroy.
Yet, as I look upon this earth, and search the hearts of my children, in the cradle of My hand, even so, I search for faith. For I asked My disciples, “Will the Son of Man find faith on earth when He returns?” Surely My children you know that by My Word I establish, create and destroy? Surely you know that by My word and My word only all things came into existence? Yet the enemy has taken your eyes from the Creator to the creation as you start to see her travail. Even as Peter looked at the waves and lost sight of Me. Without faith it is impossible to please Me. Therefore, faith, your most important commodity is what keeps you above water. Faith in Me. You in Me…in the cradle of My hand. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. I have you in the cradle of My hand and even this world, which I will rock. Those who are not in My hand shall fall to and fro and be overwhelmed. But those in the cradle of My hand will not be shaken. Examine yourself in this day. Are you in the cradle? Are you overwhelmed? Are you afraid, are you seeking ways to secure when I alone am your fortress and defense? Does a child not rest in a cradle and fully depend to be cared for by his father?
Even so I that am your Father, will I then not provide? Have I not said, “Do not fear”? I know your weaknesses, I am your strength. I know your shortage, I am your provision. I know your heartache. I am your comfort. I know your pain, I am your healer. Is My arm too short that I cannot save? Faith, My children, faith is that which pleases Me, for I am all that you need. I will give wisdom to those who ask in faith. But always come as a child. I hold the cradle of the world in My hand, and I determine what is, what should be and all to come. Never losing sight of My little ones.
Your level of faith is in your infancy with Me – weak, dependent and trusting.
Not in worldly wisdom. Trust Me My children. Trust that He who is the Alpha, who created all, is also the Omega, who will finish it all. The beginning and the End…Your Father.
2 Corinthians 11:18 – 30
2 Corinthians 12: 6 - 10