MEDITATIONS ON SPIRITUAL ADOPTION #10
February 3, 2010
: Psalm 13:1-6 Reading
"How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? Psalm 13:2
For the past two weeks we have considered the Fatherly discipline of God to His children-discipline that is required for every true believer in order that they might be continually conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Today, I would like to share some thoughts on a different aspect of spiritual growth as a child of God, the hand of God working to prepare us for service in His kingdom.
A friend of mine who lives in
"You are in good company with men like Spurgeon, Luther, John Bunyon, David Brainerd, and many, many others who went through similar experiences which God used to make them a blessing to others. God is doing that right now with your life too."
To the experienced believer, when he or she goes through such a dark period in their spiritual life, they will hopefully recognize it for what it is-the hand of God training them for a work He has planned for them. We all have to participate in God's Boot Camp, the place where we are trained for His service, training that is unavailable anywhere else. Both my friend and I went through missionary training in the New Tribes Mission Boot Camp-it was no picnic but rather strict training in both spiritual and practical issues. We were taught biblical principles as well as how to kill, gut and prepare chickens, pigs and cows-things that are necessary for those called to serve the Lord in contacting and ministering in previously unreached tribes throughout the world: Invaluable training.
So God has His Boot Camp where He trains individuals to do the work to which He has called them. God will never ask you to do something for which you are unprepared. If part of the training requires us to experience dark and troublesome times then He will take us through them so we might be able to help others who experience similar things. There is a huge difference between sympathy and empathy and we can be of greater help to others when we know from experience what another might be undergoing.
Some of these times are very difficult to bear, even to the point where we ask God "Where are You? Where have You gone?" David asked the same questions:
"How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?" Psalm 13:1-2.
These are five very legitimate questions that, while in the depths of despair and discouragement, our heavenly Father will respond to in love and not chastening for a lack of faith. Our Father is constantly working in our life by His Spirit and looks for us to remain in constant contact with Him not only during the "good" times but also in the "dark" times. Besides, we have the guarantee of scripture that
"God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Instead of crawling into a corner and feeling sorry for himself, David turned to God and spoke to Him about his situation: "Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; enlighten my eyes." Show me, my Father, what it is You are teaching me. Open my eyes that I may know Your will. Help me to remain steadfast, without wavering, knowing that You are in complete control of everything that happens in my life.
It is a total misconception that all our heavenly Father asks of us is it curl up at His feet and listen to Him tell us He loves us. While this is true and we all are in need of these times, God has a plan for each of His adopted children, a plan that involves us in the work of His kingdom. None are exempt from this therefore all will go through His Boot Camp training.
Although we are made one in Christ Jesus we remain individuals and He uses us as individuals. We are a part of the Body of Christ-some hands, some feet, some eyes, etc. read again Paul's wonderfully clear explanation of this concept in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. We all have different parts to play; the part is not the important matter, rather it is how we function in the work to which God calls us.
"Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?" 1 Corinthians 12:29-30.
I would love to be a Spurgeon or a David Brainerd or maybe a Billy Graham but God chose others to fill those shoes. God has given me a ministry of sharing His Word through the media of writing and my prayer is that I will draw constantly on His strength to fulfill with all faithfulness and commitment that part to which He has called me and prepared me.
Father, give me the wisdom to know the difference between Your discipline and Your Boot Camp training. I pray that I will always in every situation sing with David, "But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me."
"If the work of the Lord be not soundly done upon your own hearts, how can you expect that he will bless your labours for effecting it in others?" Richard Baxter (1615 - 1691).
"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing"