This is one of the lessons of my last few years of living. I have learned it well, and not because I have succeeded, but because I have failed. God took me on a journey, stripped me of things that founded my faith besides Him - ideologies, good ideas, areas of my life I thought God would never touch if He really loved me - those have been shaken. And in the midst of it all I wondered if the plans God had for my life were really full of a future of hope. I wondered if I was a pawn that only purposed to serve those He really loved. I believed I was a concubine in the house of my Lord, and not His bride. I believed I was somehow excluded from His blessings. I wondered if He was good. I doubted the promises of His Word when I looked through the glasses of my experience. On so many levels I failed to hold fast to His promises, and to Him. I did not persevere - yet in it all I knew He never let me go, though I came close to letting go of Him.
The book of Proverbs talks about the temptress. She masks herself as wisdom but her goal is to destroy those who love God. It says that all who were slain by her were strong. She is presented as an adulteress, but I doubt that adultery is the only trick in the bag. I don't know what line she is using to get you down the stairs into her house, but I know the one she used on me was far less complex that I would have suspected. She had been drawing me in a long time before I got to the stairwell of her house... by the time I was at her door, I already believed the lies. By grace, I am climbing up the stairs of that house, back into the streets, searching for the real voice of wisdom and not the mimic whose lies set us up to be destroyed.
Most of the time, I try to write these posts so that anyone can understand them. I know that this one has more "Christianese" than what is normal. But today it is directed towards those who once loved God, those who are wondering if He really loves them, those holding on by a thread, those who have already let go, and above all for those in the midst of a dark and faraway place, whose life with God is nothing of the promises they had expected right now. Hold on dear soldiers of Jesus Christ... Perseverance is for when it's hard. Perseverance is for when there is no tangible reason to believe. Perseverance is an act of the will, and sometimes every other facet of your being is telling you to stop and give in. If you feel forgotten, if God seems silent, if your dreams have just been shattered, if your spirit is broken - hold on to Him! Yes, it is really hard... it may be the form of betrayal, or sadness, or hurt, or ridicule, loneliness or neglect, a big life changing impact or a slow grating of events that would be insignificant on their own - whatever the case, the events have been specifically crafted to make you fall... your set of circumstances may not be unbearable for someone else, but they touch you to the depths of your heart. Take courage friend, and continue to stand.
If you have let go, doubted, disbelieved, or wallowed... there is redemption. Even those ashes will arise beauty... His good will overcome the evil. His plans for you are good. He will not leave nor forsake you. He is able to do abundantly more than we could ask or think. He is who He says He is.
"... our course is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our enemies will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys." Uncle Screwtape, from the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. (The Screwtape letters is a fictional book of letters from Screwtape to his nephew, teaching him how to be a good demon and keep people away from the love of God.)