To cling or not to cling

September 5, 2008

From today’s QT:

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

Life is filled with disappointments. Many of God’s greatest servants experienced deep disappointment in their journeys of faithfulness to God. Joseph, after spending years as a slave and in jail for crimes that he did not commit, revealed deep disappointment when he was forgotten another two years in prison. John the Baptist, when awaiting execution, doubted whether Jesus was, in fact, the Christ because he was sitting there awaiting his death. Elijah, losing all hope and despondent to the point of death, asked God to take his life in the desert; and Peter, who left his fishing business and invested three years of his life only to watch his Savior crucified, wondered whether the purpose of those three years could be justified.

When life doesn’t add up, it leaves the heart sick. When we have done all we know to do and the formula has not worked, it leaves us questioning. These are times that try the very souls of men. There is no human sense to be made of it. We are left with a choice: to cling or not to cling. There are times when holding on to our Master’s robe is all that we can do. It is all that He wants us to do.

The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not obtained by sudden flight;
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
Standing on what too long we bore,
With shoulders bent and downcast eyes,
We may discern-unseen before-
A path to higher destinies!
– Longfellow

There is only one answer to life’s disappointments. Like the psalmist, we must “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken” (Ps. 62:5-6).

I get devotionals from Today God is First sent to my email every day.  I don’t use them as my regular source of QT material (in any case, my QT is completely haphazard) but I’ve often found them to be a source of blessing and would highly recommend subscribing to them.

I know what it feels like to have done all I know to do and yet have the formula not work.  I know what it feels like to have more questions than answers.  But I had a thought recently that to assume that God protects us from bad situations is naive.  When shit hits the fan, it falls pretty much indiscriminately.  Whatever your worldview, you have to somehow explain why bad things happen to good people.  I guess what I’m coming to realise is that even though things can go pretty pear-shaped pretty quickly, my God redeems.  Good things can still come out of bad situations.  And till then, I choose to cling.  I think I can live with that.


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