When lifetakes unexpected turns, leaving one in a spiritual dry spell, tired,depleted, and empty, it is best to remember it is in walking with God thatlessons, meaningful to life, arise. In the fallen nature ofhuman beings in a world where there is an enemy whose aim is to steal, kill anddestroy (John 10: 10a), hunger and thirst for righteousness should set in, thenit becomes an opportunity to experience the filling by God. That is what makesit better to serve God while in captivity than to die resisting Hispurpose. Jacob, who had assurance of God’s guidance from the Bethelencounter (Genesis 28) earlier, was led and protected by God to an uninvitedintruder in the night while he was alone. He was already fearful of having tomeet the brother he was estranged from for over 21 years and he needed timealone. No sleep, no rest, no one to help because the intruder is not seekingnegotiation. However, at dawn, Jacob experienced transformation that led him tosay “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:26).
Myattention was drawn by a writer who said that all his Christian heroes werepeople who walked with a limp. Feelings of self-doubt, fear that one ismissing some quality necessary and worthof love causes to fear to enthroneitself, leaving a person genuinely committed to serving Christ ,feeling inadequate, unworthy and insecure. the writer of the article Iread continued to say that most Christians who are heroes walk with alimp because their faith was forged in the fires of pain, suffering, anddoubt. The logical argument is that if one stepped out, taking up his/her crossdaily and following Christ would lead to evaporation of doubts and fears.Instead many genuine believers battle enormous doubts. There are days when onewakes up feeling empty, filled with weird and conflicting emotions that leaveone depressed, overwhelmed with pressures that come from almost everydirection.
HOW THE LIMP LEADS TO FAITH
Learning to yield to God - Limp is the result of life threatening orextreme danger that leaves one with no escape route, where reliance onintellect or connections or past successes prove fatal. The natural questionthat comes to mind in the face of fear causing situations is the difference itwould make in the face of the threatening devastation?. The temptation to allowsubtle compromises creep into the thinking and so influence choices is areality that has to be overcome. The resistance to yielding to God’s will causestrain. Corrie ten Boom says, “Hold everything in your hands lightly,otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open”. This is because the limp is caused by realizing that yielding to Godand letting him unfold his plan in his own way might not be what we think is thebest choice. The alternatives that one attempts to rely on in case‘God is not able or does not act quickly’ end being like what prophet Amosprophesied. “It will be as though a manfled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and restedhis hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him” (Amos 5:19). Although one is supposedto model joyful living, pressures, pain, and embarrassmentincrease. The whole idea of faith presupposes doubt otherwise there wouldbe no need of faith where everything is clear. It is the difficult, painful,fearful, dark, and doubt-inducing experiences that make it necessary to havefaith. Doubt keeps the faith of a believer honest and prayers are real. “Icall on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear myprayer. 7Show me the wonders of your great love, you whosave by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes”(Psalm 17:6-7). That is what makes it clear that it is by grace through faiththat we have been saved.
Allowing God’s comfort is whatgives genuine testimony -The most effective lessons in life are those learnt from authentic stories ofpeople who chose to share their pain, confident that their experiences had apurpose. Though rejection can be harsh,hurtful, and haunting, it causes one to hear the still small voice (IKings 19:11-12). That leaves one with a testimony. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord JesusChrist, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we cancomfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). People who have no mentalpicture of what it is to be rejected, left out, and have others pass by usingyou as a road mark to explain their success may not value comfort or be able tocomfort others. “Compassion costs. It is easy enough to argue,criticize and condemn, but redemption is costly, and comfort draws from thedeep. Brains can argue, but It takes heart to comfort” (SamuelChadwick).That is why observation and listening to testimonies and storiesof all who long for Christ’ssecond coming (2Timothy 4:8) is comforting.
Theoretical knowledge of God isdeepened as abstract creed is transformed into concrete deed - It is the prolonged,frightening, disorienting, depressing, and soul-shaking experiences thatpress one into what is beyond one’s imagined limits that leave one having tochoose to trust in the Lord. When darkness descends suddenly and one realizesthat he/she is overwhelmed in the sea of doubts, there is no alternative butcry like Peter drowning while walking on water facing the master, “Lord saveme”. That is what God transform our authentic, but largely untested, flabbyfaith into something fibrous, strong, and persevering. That is what makesovercoming a reality as the bible says, “Befaithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor'scrown” (Revelation2:10); “Those who are victorious will sitwith me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on histhrone” (Revelation 3:21). Ourhuman nature is to try to shield ourselves from that experiences that result intothin, ephemeral pleasure-buzzes that masquerade as happiness. Genuine joy inthe Lord is a treasure that is discovered by those who find themselves in thedark places.
Individuals,communities, or nations that God uses to achieve his purposes go throughexperiences that break them leaving them walking with a ‘limp’. As C. SLewis said, “Hardships prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destiny”. Take courage in knowing that God is working out his plan even when theexperiences are blindening. It is those believers who know what it is tobe blind, not able to figure out the next step, who also know the joy of theLord’s leading by hand through the night of life. God’s promise is, “I willlead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths Iwill guide them; I will turn the darkness into light beforethem and make the rough places smooth. These arethe things I will do; I will not forsake them” (Isaiah42:16). That is what God’s grace is about and it leaves Christianslearning how to delight in diversity as they live in commonality. Christianswho seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness know that it is nottheir following or quick words or material displays of success that shouldimpress. It’s their personal impotence, and leaning on the supernatural powerof Christ, that determines whether they will bear fruit that will last. It isimportant to note that “The Lord is near to the broken hearted"(Psalm 34:18), are you?
"Iwould sooner be holy than happy if the two things could be divorced. Were it possiblefor a man always to sorrow and yet to be pure, I would choose the sorrow if Imight win the purity, for to be free from the power of sin, to be made to loveholiness, is true happiness." (Charles Spurgeon).