I wish I could just for a short time enter into the mind of another and receive an insight into the way that they think. I wish I could understand what blocks a person from receiving Christ, or all the more, from receiving the fulness of joy once a person has received Christ. I would only want this so that it might give me a key to unlock the door to all that God has for those who love Him. Not that I have attained all that God has for me, but I'm sure that at this point I couldn't contain much more than He has given me already.
Yesterday we were talking at prayer time about the Psalms; the sermon was on the Laments, and discussion covered them further. One of the women shared a prayer request for her niece, who has been going through some awful trials. It reminded me of when I was at the point of receiving Christ, and then the things that God lifted from me, and then the things that He has brought me through...and as a result, I have seen His love and kindness and power. So I tried relating it in a few sentences, but I could not adequately in such a short time.
The one who gave the sermon on the Laments didn't understand. I'm afraid perhaps he thought I was belittling the subject of his sermon, or that my joy is a glib happiness without substance, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't realize what God has brought me through. His walk of faith has been full of trials too, and perhaps being younger he doesn't yet see very fully the victory and the joy that God gives in faith.
This morning a song goes through my head, one that I learned when I was a brand-new Christian going to Bible Study Fellowship. I've never heard it anywhere else, but our pastor (who wasn't the preacher of yesterday's sermon) has lately been mentioning the verse from which it comes. This song shows me, as do so many others, that many other people have found reason to exult in the faith that God has given them, no matter what He brings them through. I long for this joy and exultation to be cast far and wide into the hearts of men. I wish I knew how to give it to those who lack it, especially once they have come to Christ! That is a puzzle for me. Perhaps it is just a matter of prayer. Anyway, here is the wonderful old song that comes to mind; you can get the words and the tune at http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/i/k/ikwihb.htm:
I Know Whom I Have Believed, by Daniel W. Whittle, 1883
I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.
But I know Whom I have believèd,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.
I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.
I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing us of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.
I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.
I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.
I am thankful to know this song and so many others, and that I see this joy in some other Christians, or I might be persuaded to think that I was just a little shallow, a little nutty, in my walk with Christ, that I wasn't grappling properly with all the issues that are set before me. Still I wonder whether I'm not, and it's good to keep in the Scriptures--but all the Word ever does is keep promising me that God is good, all-knowing, and all-powerful, and that He has done great things, and that it isn't a matter of what I've gone through for Him, or with Him, but what He's gone through for me, and with me, and that He loves even me, and He will never leave me nor forsake me. What more can a person want?!
In case you were to think that this type of faith is really just old-fashioned stuff of the 1800s, something that is not really a modern-day way of looking at God, I would present to you a song sung by Chris Tomlin, "How Can I Keep From Singing Your Praise." (Scroll down, if you would. Listen to any of the songs along the way, for that matter!) If any modern song expresses my feelings, this one does it! I'm afraid to post the lyrics to it in case I should mess with copyright, but I have it in my playlist below. Many of the songs in my list reflect this whole idea, that there is nothing mundane about God, that we have every reason to rejoice in Him. It's not just that we should, but how can we not?
And so because of His goodness, I fly a couple of feet above the ground and hope that I can lift a few souls along the way! What can I do to help you fly too? All I can point to is the Scriptures. I remember when my Katie was about 12 and grappling with whether Christianity was her faith too or just something in the parental realm--and I told her something to this effect: "I can't make you believe, all I can do is tell you about the Old Testament prophecies that have been fulfilled in the New Testament, what God has done for us in the Scriptures, what He's done in my life, how He's answered my prayers. But I can't make you believe." After a little while of studying some more, she concluded rightly that He indeed is all the great things that anyone can say about Him and more. There is no trial we can go through that He is not right there with us. There is no good thing for which He has left us lacking. There is nothing we need Him to do for which He is incapable. He is able to make all things abound to all of us!
2 Timothy 1:11-13: And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.
New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society