Which is worse for you, personally –
unexpected bad news?
the anticipation of difficulty you know is coming?
One of my friends’ father dropped dead of a heart-attack. I remember the shock of that, for her – almost incapacitating, and very overwhelming.
My mother-in-law died of brain cancer – died by inches. Watching that, and knowing what was coming was incredibly heart-wrenching.
Except for our hope in Jesus, and a living experience with Him, despair can be just a heart-beat away, these days, and many people are there. How many of you are experiencing Jesus, personally? How many of you trust Him enough that when you get devastating news, or when people turn against you and you see things going terribly wrong, are barely affected?
The “time of trouble, such as never was,” is soon to open upon us; and we shall need an experience which we do not now possess and which many are too indolent to obtain. It is often the case that trouble is greater in anticipation than in reality; but this is not true of the crisis before us. The most vivid presentation cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal. In that time of trial, every soul must stand for himself before God. “Though Noah, Daniel, and Job” were in the land, “as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.” Ezekiel 14:20.
If this is true, do we actually believe it? Are we actually sharing these heart-searching, Elijah/John-the-Baptist messages? Are we actually busy preparing ourselves to stand in the days ahead? Do we know how to do that, or even what it means? Do we even want to be translated, or are we hoping to get by with dying and still being saved? Are we too “busy doing the Lord’s work” that we neglect our first work?
Isn’t it time to let the Lord do His own work and focus on ours? We are not called to be the Holy Spirit, nor are we called to be God, nor are we called to be the Saviour. To take on any of those roles is to practice idolatry.
I know the line is fine, but aren’t we called to let God work in our hearts to change us, cooperating every step of the way so that when people come to us with their troubles we can say, “I have no idea how God wants to solve your problem, but I know He does want to, and He will, if you cooperate with Him and trust Him enough to let Him do it, because this is what He did last week for me: …” Is that not what true ministry is? People actually gain hope when we have a fresh testimony that relates to their needs. Hope changes despair into eager anticipation. And the more people experience God working in their lives and testify about it, the more prepared they become for the days ahead.
A person coming to us for advice makes it very tempting to give it. When we do, we give people the idea that God communicates with us, but not with them. People need to expect God to give them the answers! If they will seek His ways and methods, and wait on Him for His answer, He will give it to them! Encouraging them to come to us for answers is idolatry. We can’t afford to deprive them of a living connection with God!
This world is winding down fast. There is evidence of it on every hand. We have been given enough warning that it does not need to be unexpected bad news. Neither should it be a prolonged agony as we wait for it. Focusing on cooperating with God as He woos us, responding to His voice in our hearts, listening to Him call us here and there to encourage others and relying on Him to give us the exact words needed for an individual, testifying of what victories He has gained in our hearts … all these are things that help prepare us for what is coming, and make us true shepherds . This is the tip of the iceberg.
I’m praying for you!
By Erna McCann