God, in His perfect wisdom has been doing (and is still doing) some remodeling on me. I've actually taken a short break from Isaiah to dig a little deeper into a few other passages that are particularly relevent to some things I'm facing at the moment.
You know, there are times in our walk with Christ where He, for His good and righteous reasons, has to "burn" us a bit in order to refine us. I've been hanging out in the furnace.
The Westminster Confession of Faith sums things up well in its chapter on the Providence of God. It says:
"The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave, for a season, His own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends."
I'm slap dab in the midst of one of those seasons. God is humbling me and causing me to see, more and more, just how desperately needy I am of His imputed righteousness, how corrupt and decietful my natural heart is, and how utterly dependent I am upon Him for His support. It's not a fun place. The fire hurts - alot. I won't pretend it doesn't. My stubborn sinful heart finds itself fighting against the faithful flames of sanctification rather than simply submitting to them. I'm often foolish! How thankful I am that "He who began the good work in me will carry it on to the day of completion!" And that I am not my own but have been bought with a price.
The past few weeks have been ANYTHING but easy. In all honesty, of all the things I've faced in my life, these past few weeks are probably the toughest. But don't feel sorry for me - it's an important place for me to be. God knows best what I need most and in His parental care for me He is doing what is necessary to make me, -His child- more like Him - my Father. That's good!
Over the next few days (sporadically) I'm going to post some notes from Matthew 4 (the temptation of Christ) and from Romans 6-8 (the beautiful descriptions of dying to sin and living to righteousness, the conflict of the two natures, and the glories of Romans 8 - no condemnation in Christ, the ordo salutis, all things working together for good, preservation of the saints, etc.). These things have been a balm to my currently storm surged soul. The Word is good and it is good for us to be afflicted if the affliction drives us to know the Word better and own It more.
God has been teaching me much, personally, from these passages and I hope that, if anyone is even ever looking at this page, that these biblical truths will grant you comfort in your own afflictions as well.
I don't know what anyone else may be specifically facing at the moment but I do know that "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful and will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it." (1 Cor 10:13).
Friends, we are not freaks of nature, weirdos, unique or all alone in the various temptations that are falling upon us - we are sinners, we are human - these trials we face are "common to man." 1 Corinthians 10:13 offers us such hope in our temptations and trials.
While in the midst of them we may be recognizing just how faithless we are when left to ourselves (I certainly am). But there is such comfort in knowing that it is not our faithfulness that will allow us to make it through, it is HIS faithfulness. And oh how great is His faithfulness. "Morning by morning new mercies I see!"
God will not allow us to be cast off, tossed away, or throne aside in the midst of our trials. He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able for we "can do all things through Christ who strengthens us." It is not in our own strength that we wage war with the enemy - it is in Christ's strength and Christ does NOT ever lose!!
God will provide the way of escape for His tried, tested and tempted little ones. Over the past few weeks my flesh, at times, has looked for a shortcut out of this wilderness I am in. Short cuts don't bring about sanctifying results, they ultimately just make the trial last longer and cause us to miss out on the spiritual benefits that perseverance bring.
As for me, I am waiting patiently - by His grace - for His way out. If you think about it pray for me that I will not waste this trial but use it wisely, love my Lord and Savior all the more because of it, and be a more humble servant in my King's service. I have prayed for revival for years and am now asking God that He might be granting it to begin in my own heart.
More increasingly aware of my need for His glorious grace,