I have been bombarded with difficulties over the past several years because of my pursuit for God. That being so, I lost confidence in the fact that God would be there for me to protect me from harm’s way. I don’t want to share the specifics of my personal struggle, but I will say that I felt I could identify with Job on many levels. I encountered struggle on all levels physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. In fact I detested the mention of the book of Job because it seemed a justification of the intense battle in which I found myself when all I wanted was out.
I didn’t want to hear about the fact that God was sovereign even in allowing difficulty to come my way, and that he had a better end in mind. I didn’t want to endure patiently, and could not see any purpose for why God would allow such difficulty in the life of someone whose desire was to please him and who was faithful to commit her life to do so. I’ve had people try to encourage me to have faith and trust that God had a better plan which would come to pass in his time, but honestly when the worst of the attacks were over I could see no better end. All I could do was despise my suffering and question whether God was for me at all and grieve the loss of my contentment in God.
I wanted nothing more than to go back to a time of absolute trust and faith without fear of another round of struggle being thrown my way, but it proved difficult because my minds eye could only see that which I’ve had to endure. Rather than producing faith, my struggles produced fear that next time I would not be able to hold on or come out of the struggle. I stopped praying; stopped drawing near to God because on each instance I’d experience a moment of intimacy there would be immediate consequences in one or more areas of my life. I felt like God allowed my suffering and could not understand why so I pulled away. Then their came a moment of remembrance…
I’m taking a required class that challenged me to recall a book that had a profound impact on my walk with the Lord. As I went to find the book in my collection it was not there. I began to search for it like the parable of the lost coin. I went through all the emotions one would experience when they are frantically searching for something that is of great value even a moment of grieving when I realized the book had been lent out to someone who moved out of town and for whom I no longer have any contact information. Suddenly I began to remember how the Lord entreated me to know him more intimately through this book and I began to long for that same thing once again.
My mind was flooded with the experiences I’d encountered with the Lord during the study of this book as well as the difficulties I’d faced during the same period of time. Technically those struggles were on a greater level, but they didn’t impact me as deeply because my focus was not on the situation or even those whom intentionally hurt me, but on God and how I could please him even in the midst of the hardships I was living through. I remember even then my struggles being compared to Job by one of my mentors, but they did not defeat me because I knew God was with me. As I remembered I began to ponder what had changed then. It wasn’t God who’d become any less faithful. I’d lost sight of who he was to me. I was immediately filled with longing and desire for that same intimacy once again and God was more than eager to provide it as his presence washed over me. My heart was filled once again with love and tears of joy poured unabashedly from my eyes. No wonder the Lord continually admonishes the people of Israel to remember the Lord. There is power in remembrance.