As we pursue the Lord with all our hearts, minds, and souls there comes a time when the comfort, ease, and blessing seem to wane. What happened?
Each Sunday after church I begin a decline, from being used intensely by God to feeling like I am all alone in the dank dark cold. I have strange mental temptations and I am most likely to fly off the handle and make a fool of myself. At that point on through Monday life pretty much sucks. I have spent my short “career” in ministry trying to figure this “thing” out and try to conquer it. I have done lots of research and have made some pretty astounding discoveries.
Some folks/denominations just completely avoid the spiritually intense environments because of this type of effects. Taking sleeping medications after preaching at night prevent torture by weird sleeplessness. Running after church to helps kill the brain’s possibility of torment. Some just choose to quit the race because of the “funk”.
But one recent thing I have discovered is that God calls us to be warriors. We have confidence and fervency because He is the one who fights for us. And to be honest I have discovered that He is training our hands for battle so that I can swing a bigger sword. I have learned to compare the intense spiritual activity and “recovery blues” to being a part of the training program likened unto weight training. For example if I choose to lift light weight and seek to trim up I will experience little to no soreness with little to no results, but if I choose to lift heavy weight there is the possibility that I could be incredibly sore for the whole next week but with the greatest results. But one thing about weight training a lot of people don’t understand is that the rest is just as important as the workout.
I believe it is just the same with our walk with Jesus. We press in to Him and give Him our all and he gives us new grace. Most of the time, like the weight training program, our spiritual effort is followed by more of God’s grace. Sometimes Jesus shows up in a tangible way and allows us the grace to feel his presence. And other times we are seeking healing, and a touch, and want His good feelings…. and He gets in the boat and pushes away from the shore.
The temptation is that when He seems to be far from we have a tendency to flail around and become discouraged. This is where wisdom and trust have true value. God never leaves us nor forsakes us, our salvation is not based on our zeal, and He who has begun a good work is faithful to complete it.
In Deut. 20, The Lord establishes a beautiful teaching on War. Paraphrasing it says when you go out and see the other armies you are waging war with don’t be afraid for the Lord is fighting for you, Stiffen you necks square your shoulders and get ready to charge. And if you are afraid, stay at home don’t be a stumbling block to those who are steadfast.
Days come when things aren’t the way you think they should be… this happens… it is part of laying down your will. You have given up the controls to God. Just try and keep from falling on your face and know that these times are part of the program God has established for your own good. Quit being worried and do something with your hands… create something, write something, go somewhere, don’t despair just wait on the Lord. He will show up…. Just wait.
Authors Note: This is not the right teaching for some of us who have pushed ourselves back from God. That is a totally different matter and probably demands the response of a violent pusuit of Jesus. In this blog I am writing in regard to the way in the zealous life Jesus teaches us trust through faith and not feelings.