Life often subjects us to trials, and some of these challenges can knock us down with tremendous force. When we find ourselves in the midst of suffering, questions arise that would otherwise remain dormant. It's natural to grapple with the purpose of hardships, questioning the significance of the tumultuous journey through what often feels like hell.
Each of us carries certain expectations for God, dos and don'ts that we deem He ‘MUST’ fulfill, whether He has promised to do so or not. When trials and afflictions surpass our expectations we've set, some people often find themselves at a crossroads. Whether consciously or unconsciously, limits are established, and a line is drawn in our hearts, declaring if God allows more than we deem fair, then that’s it!—no more service, no more God! This heart-wrenching reality is a driving force why so many abandon God, leading many to forsake the very source of love and hope.
Some folks may even find themselves mentally boxing God into a corner. Attempting to confine God foolishly in such a manner will certainly lead to valuable lessons that must be learned. In His mysterious wisdom, God just might permit one’s deepest fears to manifest—not reveling in our pain but rather to expose the wretchedness and hidden sins within. Arrogant individuals who refuse to see their sins often become blinded by their own folly. This arrogance entices them to embrace anger, bitterness, and even hatred toward God, instead of embracing the opportunity for humble reflection on the blessings that await at the conclusion of their trials.
This is a challenging truth to convey, but it needs to be brought to light. As the proverb say, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” Such folly arises when individuals, faced with life's tribulations, allow themselves to harden their heart with anger. Over time, this hardening leads to the perilous descent from anger to outright hatred toward God, culminating in an irrational denial to entertain any thought about Him. Regrettably, the fool becomes steadfast in refusing to acknowledge the undeniable reality that God is.
Consider, as an example, a recent encounter I had with an old friend from my California church days. Yesterday I stumbled upon the phone number of a friend I once greatly admired. Years ago, he had a fervent hunger for God's Word that I found inspiring. While I grappled with the challenge of memorizing Bible verses, his dedication enabled him to memorize chapters at a time. We used to have rich conversations centered on God's Word and His greatness.
However, yesterday’s phone call left me feeling sick. This once-trusted confidant and fellow believer has chosen a different walk. He shared some hardships he had to endure over the years, but sadly, he didn’t emerge from those challenges shining for God. Instead, he chose to renounce his faith. During our conversation, the joyous attitude I once knew was replaced with an arrogant demeanor, spewing out putrid disdain as an adversary against the Lord.
What's even worse is that he attempted to persuade me that he is better off today than his formal days believing in God. Today he’s a man who refuses to work a profession. He’s divorced with an ex-wife who wants nothing to do with him. He only gets to see his children half the time. His heart is calloused against God and his demeanor argumentative. Do these indicate a happier person? I think not. They seem more like compelling evidence of a soul in denial, unwilling to acknowledge the evidence before his eyes. They reflect the undeniable evidence of sin within one's heart, leading a man far astray from God and choosing to exchange the blessings of God for the curses of unbelief.
All of this left me with a heavy sick heart, and sadly, I had to cut our call shorter than I had hoped. The overwhelming grief for him and others like him lingers. I do not condemn him; instead, I feel a deep sense of pity and sorrow. The realization strikes that any of us could find ourselves on a similar destructive path, descending to a level we never imagined. We are all sinners, and under the right circumstances at the wrong time, any of us could succumb to forsaking our good and longsuffering God. It makes me tremble to contemplate this truth, but the reality is if sin is left unchecked, sin has the potential to lead us father than we intended, longer than we desired, to a darker place than we ever wished to go.
Therefore, it is imperative for us to daily acknowledge the gravity of sin in our lives. Each day, we must earnestly seek God in His Word and prayer, imploring Him to strengthen our faith. The reality is that a challenging trial of suffering looms in the future; it’s headed our way. If we fail to humble ourselves before God today, that future affliction might strike us down in a weakened state, potentially tempting us to forsake God.
This is one reason why I have written 'CONFESSIONS: A MEMOIR OF HOPE FOR THE SUFFERING.' Having lived through dark experiences and temptations, and recognizing that many others are as well, I aim to encourage and provide understanding about suffering through my testimony. I hope you will consider getting a copy at www.MissionFrontier.info/confessions.