"It doesn't matter how hard you fall down. It matters that you trust God to raise you up again - after all, He's already Risen."
For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again,
but the wicked are brought down by calamity.
"Everybody falls sometimes, but you will have the strength to rise..."
(Downhere, What Faith Can Do)
can try to take our focus off Christ and put our attention on our
failures, pain, and circumstances. Even when I try my best, sometimes
everything combined just overwhelms me, and if I have the guts, I will
admit it - "I fell again."
One of my friends told me, in possibly one of the worst moments of my life,
doesn't matter how hard you fall down. It matters that you trust God to
raise you up again - after all, HB, He's already Risen."
weeks ago I was talking to a girl, I'll call her Lydia. She was talking
about these times when we can't feel God. "I really don't know what it
is. It's been a few "dry" months. I still read my Bible and pray, but
it's been real silent."
She wasn't alone. In fact, all of that
week, almost everywhere I turned, I came face to face with yet another
person in this type of situation. But Lydia had some great insight, as
I'll share later on. Lydia's faith carries her through, but not everyone
chooses to hold onto the promises found in God's word like she does. It
made me wonder, do we not know the promises well enough? Are we letting
the world tell us these promises aren't always true and so are
unreliable? Are we trusting what we can see more than what is true?
how large the issue was with people my age, I put out an invitation to
talk about these "dry" times on Facebook. One of my friends
replied,"He's there despite how you feel! Salvation is not based on
emotions. If you are happy, he's there. If you are sad, He is still
there. God is greater than your heart (1 John)."
Since it was on my mind, we ended up doing this for a topic for youth. "When you can't feel God..."
I asked the youth group if they can always feel God. They said, No!
I asked what causes it, they discussed that we aren't redeemed yet,
that maybe sometimes it's just because we live in a fallen world, but
that the day is coming when we will never be separated from God again,
so it is our hope.
Back to my friend Lydia. She isn't remotely a
part of the youth, but I liked her insight on the topic. She said, "I
keep thinking back to what I've learned of Abraham. What hit me was how
many years he waited in between each time he heard from God. It doesn't
seem that long reading the chapters back to back, but looking at his
ages...it was decades of time!"
Lydia knows the truth, which
holds her in this time; even though she can't feel God, she is trusting
Him that He is there, He is at work, and He keeps His promises. Hebrews
Chapter 11 tells us about all kinds of people in the Old Testament,
including Abraham, who trusted God their whole lives, not yet receiving
the things they had been promised, but knowing it was all in God's plans
and God's timing.
At youth, we were also looking at verses that
talked about God strengthening us in our faith, and it was discussed
that those dry times test us but also make us more like Christ, as God
has prepared everything in our lives to do. That's in Romans 8:28-29.
love what one of the kids said, I'll just share it... I asked, What
should we do when we can't feel God, and I thought they might do the
Sunday School answers of "Pray," "Read the Bible," "Go to church..." but
she said, "Do things for your love of God. Do everything you do because
you love God and want to please him. Do chores and school and
everything for your love of God."
I was impressed with the
thought of dedicating everything to God especially, in a time when I may
feel a disconnect. "Wow, that's a good focus," I told her. This
discussion made me smile cause we were getting into applying stuff in
life. I hope it sticks. I learned a lot.
Along these same lines,
one of my friends wrote as her status the other day, something like
this: "I will keep running the race and even if I fall down, I will not
stay there, but remember that the One who died in my place, understands
and went through greater temptations and death than I ever could. I will
get up and have one thing in mind: it’s to finish the race."
I'm going to break a bit here. One of the passages we examined at youth
included that first verse I wrote above, Proverbs 24:16. I asked the
1) What does it mean 7 times in this passage?
answered, "Every day... or ... special number throughout the Bible, like
forgiving 70 times 7, which is found in Matthew 18:22."
2) What does it mean to fall?
The dictionary says, "to come down under the effects of gravity." Quite literal - you're allowed to laugh here, they did!
possible serious understandings include fall referring to sin, and our
sin nature. We covered the question, "Are we born sinless, or sinners?"
There was a little debate but we ended up at the conclusion that we were
born sinners according to the Bible.
3) What does calamity mean?
Once again, the dictionary says, "adversity and trials, disasters that life inevitably sends our way."
This had great meaning to me, as far as the last part.
Now we get to the good stuff, where the hope comes in.
4) How do we have the strength to overcome our downfalls?
God provides the strength through His victory at the cross. It's supernatural. We can't do it ourselves or on our own.
5) What is our hope supposed to be in?
The Cross; eternal life; God
6) What is hope?
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Hope produces joy and peace.
7) Can we always FEEL God?
8) Is something wrong when we can't feel God?
9) What should we do when we can't feel God?
See the student's answer above, about dedicating ourselves nonetheless.
summary, the comfort that God gives us is not to escape the trouble we
go through, but to get through the trouble to the end. WHAT'S THE END?
Eternal life with Jesus Christ our Lord.
Truth: The more you
think about a fall, a circumstance, whatever is holding you back... the
bigger the problem becomes, because you put all your time on problem,
instead of enjoying the freedom - FREEDOM FOUND IN CHRIST.
When we can't feel God, it's not that He is not at work.
That's something we just have to trust.
there are reasons to trust Him; everything He's done for me in my life
so far, everything He's done in the lives of those around me and those I
read about through all of history, the cross... so many reasons.
I choose to trust Him.
Now you choose - when the dry times come (and they will!) will you examine your life, praise Him, and wait on Him?
Or will you try to take things in your own hands, stubbornly refuse His grace and peace, and try anything to "feel" again?
March 27, 2010