Monday, March 26, 2012

Equanimity-Faith not Feelings!

Isaiah 59: 9-10 So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead.

Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

What do you do when life implodes? When the job and its income disappears, when the child or spouse dies, or worse--rejects and leaves you, when health fails and disease rests. When all you work for is stolen and the thief gets away...what do you do? Bills are due and friends are few, family lets you know everything that's wrong with you. What do you do when life goes dark and God has gone silent, His heaven as brass above you? Most of us react emotionally. We open the door and tell misery, disappointment and hopelessness to come on in. Depression and isolation soon join and bitterness takes root. We are angry at God. We waffle between times of praise and intense spiritual practice, reading the word, quoting scripture and sowing financial seeds to sit back and wait on the payday that never comes. We then flat out ignore God right back and like two year olds acting out, we will show Him...we drink, sex, smoke, snort or party our way to temporarily feeling good. This was not supposed to happen. It’s not fair. This hurts. I am suffering, doesn't God care? Yes He does, and you know that but you don't feel that emotionally or see it intellectually. Yes, even after your heartfelt pleadings you serve a God that could choose not to respond! Beloved, do you not know that God will crush your pride and humble you? He will allow your every gift and ability to become a circus of inability. Your understanding will be darkened; every plan and purpose will seem at best confusion magnified. And it is here that naked faith and equanimity (evenness of mind especially under stress; balance) are all the Believer has to anchor them from drifting into disbelief.
Listen to how Madame Guyon describes this period of time in her book Final Steps in Christian Maturity:
"There comes a time in the believer's life when the Lord withdraws the joy. He will seemingly withdraw the graces. At the same time, the Christian may also find himself in a period of persecution-persecution, no less, than that coming from Christians in religious authority. Further, he may find much difficulty in his home or private life. He may also be experiencing great difficulties with his health. Somewhere there will be a great deal of pain or other losses too numerous to mention.
"The believer may also be undergoing experiences which he feels are totally unique to himself. Other Christians, in whom he has put his trust, may forsake him and mistreat him. He may feel that he has been very unjustly treated. He will feel this toward men and he will feel it toward his God, for-in the midst of all this other pain and confusion-it will seem that God, too, has left him! Even more believers give up the journey when the Lord seems to have forsaken them in the spirit and left their spirit dead-while the world and all else is crashing in on them, friends forsaking them, and great suffering and pain abounding everywhere in their lives. But, the true land of promise always lies beyond a vast wasteland. Promise is found only on the far side of a desert."When you can go beyond that place and, not seeing your Lord, believe He is there by the eyes of faith alone; when you can walk further and further into Christ when there are no senses, no feelings, not even the slightest registration of the presence of God; when you can sit before Him when everything around you and within you seems to be either falling apart or dead; and when you can come before your Lord without question and without demand, serene in faith alone, and there, before Him, worship Him without distraction, without a great deal of consciousness of self and with no spiritual sense of Him, then will the test of commitment begin to be established. Then will begin the true journey of the Christian life."

This is truth and a higher reality than is taught these days of selfish success oriented living, where being blessed means you have no stress ( I vow to never say that stupid chattering ever again)--"The devil has nothing to do with (these dark times). God has brought us to this experience. He wants [simply] to replace us with Himself" (Alan Redpath). Get that. GOD WANTS TO REPLACE YOU WITH HIMSELF. He will forcefully rid you of any and everything but Him. Why? Love. Eternity. He loves you with an everlasting love which wants to fill you with the fullness of Himself. In you dwells no good thing apart from Him and yes, He is willing to make no sense to you, utterly confounding all you trust and believe because no matter how long you serve Him on this side of heaven you at best know OF HIM but cannot ever grasp the totality of KNOWING HIM. So what to do? Sit in silence. Be still and know, He is at work in your night season. He guides us as much by what He doesn't say to us as He does by what He does say to us. When He wants you to know He is done replacing you with Himself, He will open the door and your darkness will become marvelous light. You would do well to deeply and completely believe that. Beloved, I am praying with and for you.

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