When Everything Seems to Fail
by Tom Stewart
February 12, 2004
When everything seems to fail, our innermost being knows...
God never fails! "Be strong and
of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my
God, will be with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" (1Chronicles 28:20). Our unity with God means that
His success is our success, and His lack of failure means that our seeming
failures are truly and ultimately successes. "That
they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may
be one in Us" (John 17:21). If we
would just pause and consider what we already know, the "God
[Who] is Love" (1John 4:16) has promised, "As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail
thee, nor forsake thee" (Joshua 1:5). "Charity never faileth" (1Corinthians
13:8). It is good that we are periodically reminded through our apparent
failures that God never fails those who put their trust in Him. "It is good for me to draw near to God: I have put
my trust in the LORD GOD" (Psalm 73:28).
Rarely, if ever, do we read of God's Faithfulness and implicit Trustworthiness, when
we are in the moment of crisis, because at that moment we are being tested about
the knowledge that we are already supposed to possess. "8 O
bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of His praise to be heard: 9 Which holdeth our soul in life, and
suffereth not our feet to be moved. 10 For Thou, O God, hast proved us: Thou hast tried us, as silver is
tried. 11 Thou broughtest
us into the net; Thou laidst affliction upon our loins. 12
Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water: but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy
place" (Psalm 66:8-12).
As we grow older in the LORD, we find that both the failures and successes of life will either harden or humble us. "Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness" (Psalm 95:8). Good King Josiah was numbered among those that were humbled and helped by the LORD because he responded with a tender heart to the events of his life, even when he found that the Almighty was planning to punish his kingdom of Judah for its idolatry. "19 Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before Me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD. 20 Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in Peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place" (2Kings 22:19-20). If we would respond to the difficulties, successes, and apparent failures of our lives by humbling ourselves before the LORD, He has promised us the certainty of His Help. "Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and He shall lift you up" (James 4:10). After all, it is for our benefit that this exercise requiring the necessity of responding in Faith was designed-- to strengthen our Faith in the LORD and motivate us to investigate His Word for greater discoveries of His Unsearchable Riches (Ephesians 3:8). "11 And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with Thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go against this multitude. O LORD, Thou art our God; let not man prevail against Thee. 12 So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled" (2Chronicles 14:11-12). And, when the victory finally comes-- which it will-- we are reminded that God's Blessing requires our continual seeking of Him with all our heart. "1 And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: 2 and he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with Him; and if ye seek Him, He will be found of you; but if ye forsake Him, He will forsake you" (2Chronicles 15:1-2).
Our necessity in the time of seeming abandonment by God is that we reset the innermost purpose and resolve of our heart to Trust the All Wise God to dispose of us and our circumstances as He deems best, for our "times are in [His] hand" (Psalm 31:15). If we cannot or do not respond to our time of seeming unbearable difficulty by implicitly trusting God, then we are accusing the Faithful God of being a liar, for He has promised us no more than He would help us to bear. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is Faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1Corinthians 10:13). And, if we would insist on maintaining God's unfaithfulness to us, then we are announcing that we have no part in Him and have cast Him away from us. "If we believe not, yet He abideth Faithful: He cannot deny Himself" (2Timothy 2:13). God has always empowered us to determine just how close He should be to us. "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you" (James 4:8). It is only the lie of the Wicked One that God forsakes those who Trust in the Almighty, e.g., Satan undermined Eve's Confidence in the Goodness and Love of God by questioning the Creator's Commandment not to partake of the fruit of the Tree of Life. "1 Now the Serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the Garden?... 4 And the Serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing Good and evil" (Genesis 3:1, 4-5).
This is the time to find a strong board of the Promises of God to strap to your Back of Faith to give you a stiffening of Confidence. "12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 14 Follow Peace with all men, and Holiness, without which no man shall see the LORD: 15 looking diligently lest any man fail of the Grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled" (Hebrews 12:12-15). The Key of Promise was discovered by Bunyan's Pilgrim to deliver himself and Hopeful out of prison in Doubting Castle, and the like Key will help us the same. "3 According as His Divine Power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto Life and Godliness, through the Knowledge of Him that hath called us to Glory and Virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us Exceeding Great and Precious Promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2Peter 1:3-4). Lay hold and hang on to whatever Piece of the Word that the Holy Spirit brings to your mind, and say with Jacob, "I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me" (Genesis 32:26). Still need something more substantial to fit your circumstances? Study the "Table of Contents" ---New Window of Samuel Clarke's venerable catalog of "Precious Bible Promises" and find a Promise that meets your case-- or, a "General Promise" (the first Promises listed), if nothing else fits. "Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it" (1Thessalonians 5:24).
Whatever you do, hang on in Faith to the LORD! "35 Cast not away therefore your Confidence, which hath great recompence of Reward. 36 For ye have need of Patience, that, after ye have done the Will of God, ye might receive the [end result of the] Promise. 37 For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38 Now the Just shall live by Faith: but if any man draw back, My Soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul" (Hebrews 10:35-39). This is not a simulation. We are living the REAL thing. Come what may, we must Trust the Living God for now and for Eternity. "5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet Praise Him for the Help of His Countenance. 6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember Thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. 7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of Thy waterspouts: all Thy waves and Thy billows are gone over me. 8 Yet the LORD will command His Lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His Song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life" (Psalm 42:5-8).
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