Everybody wants a breakthrough because everybody has trials and difficulties in life. But you cannot schedule breakthroughs. They come on their own timetable. Suffering causes us to press in to God for them and invariably they come when we are most desperate for them. And when they come and the prison door opens of its own accord and we walk free into the sun light of a new day, it is glorious.
I read an account recently, written by a believer in God, who had experienced a tremendous trial of his faith. He described the oppression that he was under as a continual plague that gave him no rest. For him, every waking moment was filled with only grief and bitterness. He felt like he was being punished for something, but he really honestly did not know why. The more he tried to understand it, the more oppressed he became.
As a believer in a just and merciful God it seemed incredulous to him that he should be experiencing such a trial. Was his commitment to live a pure and holy life without reward and all in vain? Questions like these raced through his mind. From his perspective in the trial, the one thing that incensed and perplexed him the most was that he seemed to be the only one really suffering. Everywhere he looked, other people seemed to be doing fine, especially those who didn’t even believe in God. They weren’t having any struggles. They seemed healthy, prosperous and care free.
As a result he came right to the brink of totally giving up on God. He was close to testifying to everybody he could that “this God stuff doesn’t work.” Given the opportunity he would have joined “Believers Anonymous.” Amazingly however, God gave this man had a dramatic breakthrough. Read on and you’ll discover his secret.
This man’s depth of emotion and perplexity as a result of his suffering are not uncommon. I would venture to guess that most of you as you read this could identify in some manner with this man. I know I certainly can.
His experience is what saints of old have termed the “dark night of the soul.” Be that as it may, most Christian believers, both men and women, will experience this same condition at some time or other in their walk with God. Many in the Bible from Joseph to Elijah were afflicted to the point of such doubt. Even the great Apostle Paul describes similar suffering as he recounts his having “no rest, conflicts without and within, despairing of even life itself.”
How do we cope with such oppression and affliction in life? How was Paul delivered from his depression? How did the man in the introductory account survive his trial? The answer lies NOT in some simplistic prescription for action or gimmicky button you push to eject yourself out of the difficulty.
The answer is embodied in two small words: “but God.” In this brief but powerful phrase is conveyed the intervention of a sovereign God who loves us. “But God…” is used several times in the Bible. Probably the most often quoted is the verse in Romans 5:8 where we hear the Lord’s response to our helpless unrighteous condition. “But God, demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
And we read of Paul who was afflicted in Macedonia: “But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus.” (2 Corinthians 7:5-6)
What about the man who was ready to join Believers Anonymous? His name is Asaph, and you can read his account for yourself in Psalm 73. His testimony of deliverance is recorded in verse 26. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Are you experiencing a trial? Remember, things may not be going well, but God knows and cares and will intervene as you pray and look to Him for help. But God, in His mercy and grace, will come to the rescue.
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