We do well to realize and accept that many times when we stand with God and for His purposes, we may be standing alone or with a small crowd, comparatively. Often in God’s Word, we see people who seem and appear to be as isolated and alone as a man stranded on a lost island out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. No one is listening; no one is heeding; no one seems to care or be concerned. Over and over again in the OT, God sends a prophet to His people to deliver a message. Sometimes that message is turn, other times it is return, on occasion it is “I have a plan,” and in some instances it is “Judgment is coming.”
It is no secret that a living, genuine faith has a tremendously positive impact on life itself. Whether you’re talking about quality of life, facing hard times, or coping with grief — the benefits are evident and far reaching. Yet, these are all by-products of what is truly most important, and what is most important is knowing God and fulfilling His purpose for our lives. That delights His heart, fulfills His will, and brings joy to Him. By now, I would hope and pray that everyone reading this blog would want these 3 things to happen.
But sometimes, following God’s will will lead to some unpopular things. Namely, persecution, problems with others, isolation, and ridicule. Look at the life of Jesus in the NT Gospels. Read the Book of Acts and glean what happened to the Apostles. Pick up the most recent edition of “Voice of the Martyrs” and see what is happening today, around the world. I submit that while it can, and will, get hot and uncomfortable at times, that when we do face these tests and trials (individually and/or as a body), we are in good company. Hold onto that revelation because at some point, you’re going to need to remember it and find peace in it.
David knew all about persecution. Even though God wanted him to be King of Israel, David constantly faced persecution by his enemies. The OT records many instances when David barely escaped with his life. At times like this, David felt isolated, angry, lonely, and depressed. David yelled at God, asking God why he had been “deserted.”
In Psalm 54, v.3, David captures one of his experiences this way: “Strangers have attacked me. Ruthless people seek my life. They do not think about God.” Yet, David did not surrender to it. He did not give up or depart from his God or the mission that he had been given. Even though he suffered terrible attacks of all kinds, he turned to God asking for protection and for justice.
I am reminded that we too can rely on God. Not simply “in part,” but fully and completely. Maybe this is where many Christians seem to get it wrong. While things are going well in life, it is easy for many to say or claim: “Oh yes, I fully and completely trust God.” But when the heat seems to rise, and things become a little tough, they are quick to take the reigns back and work for a solution out of their own fortitude, strength, and will power. Major mistake. That’s not what God desires.
I know the popular TV ministries and some of the best selling books and self-help tools will make it seem like serving God is easy. They’ll talk about a constant state of prosperity and fail to mention the whole truth of God’s Word. Just know that the Word of God does not claim, state, or imply that serving God will be “easy.” Following God’s will is demanding and it will sometimes upset people who don’t really care about, or for, God. So when the “going gets tough,” stop and pray.
Pray this with me: Father God, help my heart beat to Yours. Be with me, and encourage me, when those around hurt, ridicule, and lash out at me. Grant me patience and desire, in increasing levels, that I would remain strong in You. Protect me as I follow Your will, and lead, in my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!