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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How Much Can You Take?

I once had a guy tell me that all hell broke lose right after he became a Christian. He claimed that his problems were small and life was pretty good. He wanted to return back to the way things were before he made his decision to follow Christ. I don't think he is alone. Many people return to their former ways after experiencing unfortunate events, spiritual attacks and tragedies.

I wonder if this is what happens to many of the high profile people who say they have given their lives to Christ. Many of them can't make it stick. They go back to everything they once were. It is so much easier, especially when you are rich and famous. You really don't need another god who ushers struggles into your life when you already have riches and fame which can buy you out of anything you can face. I mean, why depend on Him if you don't have to?

Am I saying that God has a part in the struggles? Absolutely! While I do not believe He is the author of tragedy, I do believe Him to be the editor. He allows things to happen in our lives to grow us into people who will have more than a superficial faith. We can either be mediocre and lack any useful purpose or be fully led and dependent upon Him.

Yet, sometimes even the most faithful of believers is challenged so severely that he believes that he can't take it anymore. He believes that the struggles are too hard. He thinks that he will not be able to get up if he gets knocked down again.

I have been there. There was a time that I asked God to take my life rather than let me live in misery. I didn't think I could go on. But I did.

Somehow I received the strength for each day. It was the grace of God which kept me going. It was the strength He applied to me for each day. The pressures were still there but I stood up under the weight of them. I made it week by week, then day by day and, sometimes, hour by hour.

And God gave me a way out. His grace surrounded me. He met my needs.

How much can you take? I can tell you that I didn't think I could take what I took. Of course, by myself, I would have never been able to stand under the struggles. It was His strength that sustained me through the struggle and His grace that rescued me.

Now, I know that those who might be reading this and are in the middle of their own dark night of despair cannot see that God is working. I know He is. I know He will give the strength to make it day by day and, when necessary, hour by hour.

I know that those in the middle of a struggle are hoping for an immediate release from all their problems. God may work that way but many times He doesn't. God has already given each struggling Christian His answer to their struggles. He is asking them to apply it right now. He is asking them for more than a superficial faith.

His answer is that He loves each one of us. He loves us enough that He will not let us languish in mediocrity. He wants us to know Him more fully than those who simply give Him a mental ascent. He wants us to depend upon the love He has for us.

He wants us to walk with Him. But first, we have to shake off the encumbrances of this world. We have to stop believing that all our answers are in this world. We must stop trusting in this world's answers or provisions.  He wants us to know peace in the middle of a storm.

God is fully able to bring any of us out of any struggle at any time. He loves us too much to neglect us getting the full effect of what we are going through.

How much can you take? You will take more than you can take. You will walk when you didn't think you could stand. You will be a testimony of growing faith when you want to be released from your struggles. You will be changed.

And God will deliver you.

I know.

He deliverd me.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV) 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.


Kathy said...

I'd guess there would be several who wouldn't comment so maybe this will break the ice. I appreciate the thought. I've been delivered from hard times before too. This time is probably nothing to that time but I get tired, feeling like I keep beating my head on a brick wall. Prayers please. Thanks.

Anthony Chia said...

The place of peace in the middle of a storm is the eye of the storm. In the natural, like in a strong tropical cyclone, the eye is characterized by light winds and clear skies, surrounded on all sides by a towering, symmetric eyewall. In the spiritual, it is like that of the place of Goshen in the Bible. In Gen 45:10-11 we read this: "You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute."

It is believed, before Exodus to the Promised Land, the Land of Goshen was within Egypt. It was the land that the LORD engineered the Patriarchs to settle in, during the time of great famine in the region. When the 10 Plagues were brought against Egypt, the land of Goshen was protected (see Ex 8:22; Ex 9:26).

As people of God, in our storms of life, there is always a place of peace. We have to know what the Lord will have us do or not do. How do we know? The answer is simple, although you may NOT like it! We can know from the written Word, and so you have to know what is in the written Word. Or we can get rhema word from God. But you may say I cannot hear. Sure, it can be, and is NOT uncommon to us all, but the written Word, you can always fall back on. In the absence of "fresh" word, our prescription is to be in accordance with the written Word.

I am NOT saying the environment or circumstances are NOT transformed or changed by such storms, in fact, you, too, are to be transformed by each of such storms; you are to be transformed for the better. If you are assuming a teachable spirit, you will learn valuable lessons, regardless the storms are of the Lord or NOT (although, you can be sure that God does NOT act wickedly against you, for He is light, in Him there is no darkness). You are transformed for the better when you have learnt the lessons you are meant to learn.

What will you learn? You can learn faith, righteousness, faithfulness, and love, and much more; more importantly, you learn to know your God is a dependable God who loves you unto righteousness.

Continue on next comment page ….

Anthony Chia said...

Continue from previous comment page,

Believers revert back; often it is because they do NOT like faith. Faith means they have to depend on God, and that means they are NOT in full control and therefore, there is risk that things do NOT go according to what they want. The "rich and famous" believers, some of them, even if they do NOT revert back (renounce their faith), often there is little faith element in their thoughts, actions and lives. Which is a greater blessing, riches (and fame) or strong faith? Riches can bring you pass some storms coming your way, but a strong faith can enable you to sit through ALL storms. Much of the things we do, they do NOT please God (or at most, neutral), if they have no element of faith in them, regardless they were done in the day-to-day life or in the midst of a storm; for without faith it is impossible to please God.

If we do NOT exercise our muscles, they will grow weaker and weaker; older people like Ps Prentis and I can easily understand this. It is the same with faith, and God knows; if you do NOT have any occasions of exercising your faith, it will grow weaker and weaker. What is the opposite? Any sportsman will tell you, the muscles will grow stronger and stronger. It is the same with faith. Maybe, it was also why the Apostle Paul liked to use the metaphor of a sportsman in his writings. What am I saying? We need to have occasions for exercise of faith. You must find some (occasions), or they may be allowed to find you!

How much can we take? Ps Prentis is right; if we just look at what we have, it is always, "It can only go so far, and NOT any more"; but if we recognise that we have the Almighty God with us, and we are inclined to Him, there is a lot more we can take. Follow His ways, and if necessary, He will engineer you into the eye of the storm or into the land of Goshen. Indeed as stated in 1 Cor 10:13, "...he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Lord, I know you know Ps Prentis’ heart for you. He has served you and continued to serve you in his advanced age. It is inevitable that with age, our body will eventually give way, so that we could move on to take on the incorruptible body; yet as long as he, Prentis, lives, may your grace be always poured out for him. May you, by the Holy Spirit, you placed in him, continually quickens his spirit, strengthens his body, so that the physical body can keep up with the spirit man in him. May you continue to nurture his soul, that he is a praise to you. Would you be ever watchful over him, protecting him, providing for him, and sustaining him in work and in life, and move him into the eye of the storm when necessary. I bless him in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen. Anthony Chia, high.expressions