March 17, 2009

Though He Slay Me

Faith by its very nature must be tested and tried. And the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character must be proven as trustworthy in our own minds. Faith being worked out into reality must experience times of unbroken isolation. Never confuse the trial of faith with the ordinary discipline of life, because a great deal of what we call the trial of faith is the inevitable result of being alive. Faith, as the Bible teaches it, is faith in God coming against everything that contradicts Him— a faith that says, "I will remain true to God’s character whatever He may do." The highest and the greatest expression of faith in the whole Bible is— "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (Job 13:15). - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

This is a hard post for me as this still feels like a fresh wound that hasn't had time to scar up and eventually heal. It's also vitally important that I'm completely transparent, both in my times of strength and those of weakness. I had an opportunity to speak with The Glorious Unseen here in Nashville this past weekend, which is always a treat and we've experienced some incredible times of ministry together over the years. It was a CD release show for A Plea for Purging's new album where they only charged $1 as the cover, but that also included FREE BBQ. Needles to say, I've never seen the place so jam-packed, and I've seen a lot of great shows there.

As is typical when I'm out with TGU, you just have to fly by the seat of your pants and be ready for whatever God has in store. In this case, a show that was originally to start at 5, didn't start until 7. We had about 40 minutes to lead kids fresh out of their favorite local hardcore band (which destroyed it, BTW), and into the presence of God. I was the transition from a crowd still screaming "encore" into TGU's set. I usually don't have a problem stepping out and preaching/praying with boldness and fervor. If there is anything that I am extremely passionate about, it's conveying the Love of God in a way that might hopefully move someone closer towards Him. I didn't have time to introduce myself and share a bit of my story, which I usually try to do so people know that I'm just a regular old guy, nothing special apart from the Lord's mercy to use a fool for His glory. What my friends pointed out later on, was that I may have caught the crowd off guard. I don't feel I need to apologize for sharing my heart in a measure of confidence and passion that I've been experiencing for God lately, although my real apology, and a vital lesson the Lord taught me, was one that I wouldn't learn until the event was over.

As I walked back up on stage at the end of TGU's time of worship to say a final prayer and invite those who wanted to be prayed over to join me outside, I noticed there was someone in a wheel chair near the front of the room and people were laying their hands on him. I instantly had the thought come into my mind "In the name of Jesus, rise up and walk". I dismissed the thought and justified my dismissal with the idea that this person would come find me and we could pray for him after the show. In a split second, which is all it takes sometimes to turn off the work of God's Spirit, I chose not to draw attention to this guy in the wheelchair and ask the Lord to work a miracle in His life. Instead, I chose the safe path, which was to not run the risk of looking like a complete idiot and fool if God had chosen not to heal him right then and there. I publicly confess my mistake. The risk would have been well worth the potential letdown that God's time for healing on this guy hadn't quite come yet. Worse-case scenario, I would have needed to explain that there are times when I want something to happen (in the natural or supernatural) that doesn't necessarily line up with God's will and this is absolutely part of being humans and making mistakes. If we aren't willing to step out, though we may stumble and fall, I don't think we'll ever know how to step out, period. Best-case scenario, this person would have risen up and walked.

Two lessons I've learned from this night. The first is to not quench God's Spirit by walking out in fear instead of faith. The second is to recognize God in every wonderful, amazing, and grace-filled miracle that occurs in my life every day. We have a tendency to want to see God move in those really big ways (and, yes, I have seen Him move in those really huge supernatural ways and I believe with 100% of my heart that we will all see much more of those), but I also realize there is such a balance to all of this. If I get pulled too far towards expecting a miracle of healing for someone, I may distract them from the miracle of God's abundant grace that is working a deeper heart miracle because of whatever ailment they might be enduring. Shouldn't I be looking at those people who haven't experienced a dramatic, instant healing but are experiencing a continual, renewing, healing miracle of inner joy as just as wonderful and magnificent? Was it God's will to instantly heal Job? Was it God's purpose to remove Paul's thorn? Was it outside of God's control to remove the cup of suffering from Jesus? Of course, in all of these cases, it was not. Therefore, I'm called to recognize every miracle that occurs in my life, and in the lives of anyone else, regardless of how big or small it may seem.

The question is, are you recognizing God and giving Him the glory for every single miracle working power in your life, even if it may not be of the sort that causes us to leap for joy? Let's learn to give God the glory He deserves, especially on a day to day basis. Praise Him for what He has done, for what He is doing, and for what He will continue to do in your life.

That said, don't ever think for a minute that I'm not in support of the full faith that God does sometimes choose to show up and absolutely rock our world by supernatural miracles. For the person that I didn't step out in faith to pray for that night, I ask your forgiveness. I would love the opportunity to get together and pray healing over you, believing that God may full well restore whatever is ailing your body. If the Lord chooses that your time for physical healing has not yet arrived, I would also love to pray He continues to inwardly restore you and praise, along with you, for every good work He is already doing through your trial.

Even though He Slay Me, I WILL Trust In HIM!


Jason_73 said...

I've been thinking a lot about what you wrote here and remembering similar moments when I felt the same tension.

Such a challenging concept. We want to display what we believe about God and his goodness, but remain faithful to do what we see Him doing.

I think there is a lot more grace for this stuff that we think. I don't really see Jesus getting after his followers for blowing it and not stepping up, rather usually for worrying about who was the greatest. At the same time, so many of his teachings center around doing something with the gifts and talents he has given us.

Wow, God is so good when he teaches us through tension causing us to cry out for more of him.

Thanks again!

Jones Family said...

You're an amazing person Chad with a great heart for ministry. I am touched by your story. I was wondering if you could do something for me? I have a family member who grew up in the Lord and followed his path for many years until just recently where this person has decided that our faith is just a crutch and that religion causes all the wars in the world and all that jazz us Christians have heard over and over again. This person has decided that there is no God, no heaven, no hell and that we're all just drifting through life. It's really heartbreaking because we've all been close to her for years and she has just decided to turn her back to anything faith related. Anyway, if you and everyone reading this could just pray for her that God would speak to her heart and spark a fire of redemption in her life, that would be awesome of all of you. We want her to find that everlasting love in Christ once again and be redeemed by the blood of Jesus. If anyone is reading this, thank you for your prayers and support. God bless. --Brandon