By John Nordman
We live in a time when “by the grace of God” and “Praise God” is often heard, – but seldom meant, or understood, and usually signify nothing. As long as it does not cost me anything, and everything is tolerable to my life style, God is acceptable.
When disaster looms and you cannot rationalise it; when discomfort, and disappointment, or failure knocks on our door – confusion, anxiety, and fear take their place and the peace of God departs. We forget God’s promises; “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Why have we become so shallow in our faith? Because we live in a time of “plenty,” and peace is provided by the world. No longer do we have to hinge on prayer to feed our families or to shelter us from the storms of life. Because pride and boosting have taken the place of humility and abiding. We no longer look at grace with deep and humble gratitude.
We have just about come to the end of Christianity as the Bible teaches. We are in a time when God is blamed for our lack and His deity is challenged for our tribulation. “Where is God when you need Him,” has become the cry of the day and tears of depression and worry have replaced faith, peace, and joy. The surrender to the life that God has asked for is a thing of the past.
Hudson Taylor prayed for peace in the valley – not for removal from the valley. Charles Studd and his wife (separated by thousands of kilometre and many years prayed for the faith to be worthy of God is calling) never complained to anyone but spent their lives loving God, serving God, and telling others about God. William and Joanna Anderson live and serve in Africa and when their support stopped and those around them become hostile and abandon them because of their sacrifice and dedication to God, they turned to their knees four hours a day. In his last letter to his brother in England, he praises God for the privilege of being called into His service. What has happed? Why have me become as carnal as the Lost? Why do we see so many missionaries and preachers quitting?
Why are God’s people not afraid to go into sin? Where has the peace to face persecution gone? Where are the pulpits that stand on the precepts and oracles of God regardless of the world’s direction? Why have we come to the place where even our Christian lives no longer fear God and are a challenge to the love and grace of God?
We need hours on our knees with our Bibles; eyes redden with the abundance of tears for our sin, pulpits filled with the hate of sin, the love for the sinner, tears, and surrendering of the heart to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Humility is fostered by a deep sense of complete dependence upon God. It comes by the realization of the infinitely glorious position in Christ; by the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost. It carries with it a realization of the infinite power of the Father on one’s behalf, and by certain knowledge that one is born of God and has an eternal destiny in the presence of and in union with the Father and the Son. It is the work of grace, and grace alone, to impart these glorious truths to the soul and thereby teaches humility, and with it grows our faith.
We need church prayer meetings where the hearts and souls lay at the altar, sobbing and crying out to God. We need to crawl back to our prayer closet in shame and surrender, to meet the Lord with humility, and complete surrender to the authority and will of God. It is then that we will return to the peace of the Christian life and missionaries and pastors will stand in peace regardless of the world. It will be then – the Church of Jesus Christ will stop retreating and meet the enemy in the midst of battle.