By Clint Nobles

Have you ever felt so near the will of God, yet so far from God himself? That is where I have been at for the past few months. It is an uneasy place. I know that my life is proceeding according to the will of God, but I feel as though my personal walk with him has never been more distant. Perhaps you haven't been in such a desert as this. Perhaps, when you are following the will of God, you can feel his hand holding your's every step along the way Ð and if you are, then I say praise the Lord for such faith. Yet, in the words of the psalmist: "my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped." (Ps. 73:2) I had finally come to a point in life where I truly didn't know what to do.

It seemed that nothing could cure this feeling of separation; not reading the bible, not fellowship, not even praying lessened the loneliness. It appeared that I was destined to simply drift farther and farther from that oneness with God that I sought so hard for. During my most troubling times I would tearfully cling to verses such as "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not . . . And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (Jer 33:3, Matt. 7:7) I would look unto heaven and shout for acknowledgment Ð but it seemed to all be to no avail. The harder I cried the further I felt.

It was at this point (perhaps my deepest valley) that I realized something. I was something that I had preached many times to others and even received strength from myself, but somewhere I stopped believing it. I remembered what Job had said: "Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: on the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: but he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." (Job 23:8) It wasn't that I was out of the will of God or that God wasn't watching my way. It was simply time that I learned to believe.

That is the funny thing about faith . . . it "is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Heb. 11:1) The life of Christian isn't something that is broadcast as a secure and certain existence, but rather "The just shall live by faith." (Rom. 1:17) It isn't that we have attained the promises that we are given, but rather it is our faith in the certainty of God to accomplish that which he said he would do.

Abraham received a lively promise of God which was brought forth from the form of death (for Sarah's womb was barren and nothing more than a tomb), but Isaac had to be born because God promised and faith conceived. On this wise was the birth of Jesus. The man-child had no choice in the matter, he must come forth out of God because God swore by himself that there would be a seed born. Tens of thousands of angels could not have stopped it, no king could have killed it, all that could happen was for faith to have her perfect work and redemption to come unto man. Why? Because God promised and faith conceived.

Suddenly revelation sept over me; my eye's became as oceans; rivers of cleansing tears sprang from in my soul. It was as if heaven had been opened and I could behold the glory of God's wisdom. What once had been dry and dead was now flowing waters of endless life! My location hadn't changed, my dwelling was not different, but in this desert of despair God had planted a garden. I was not alone for he had come to walk with me. He called my name and accounted it for a son. O' that I might hear him! That I would harken to his voice and attend to the whisper of his will. I had long been barren, but it was time Ð yea, due time Ð to bring forth. My prayer began with in me, from parts of my soul that I had thought were hopelessly held shut by the locks of time. This was not an awakening . . . this was a resurrection!

What I am explaining to you isn't something that is just written about. This isn't something that was only for a time or for an individual. We do not have to live on precious memories, because every day, thousands of lives around the world are experiencing this same resurrection of passion for Christ. We do not have to live on what God used to do, we can open our eyes and see what God is doing now. Jesus has never nor will ever change. He is the same Jehovah that sustained the widow's barrel, that poured water from a rock, that sheltered the Hebrew children in the midst of their fiery trial. He is the same God that anointed kings and cast down rulers; he is Emanuel Ð God with us Ð and there is never a moment in time that he is not more than able to work with, in, and through our lives. Behold he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Blessed be the glorious name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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