“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
As I grow more and more in my walk with the Lord, I am finding that there is less that I can do to make my ways agreeable in accordance with His precepts. I remember when I first gave my life to Christ and how diligently I worked to make the disciplines I read about in the bible and heard about in various Christian circles my own. The pursuit of tasks to grow closer to God though only took me so far. There were not enough bible studies, not enough places I could serve, and not enough good teachers I could sit under that could help me come to a place in my spiritual life where I really was able to say I had a grip on being truly faithful to the One I proclaimed as my Lord and Savior.
Funny how when you heart is searching and you seem to have run out of all your options and yet inside you still know that something more exists, that you feel the growing need to cry out to God to fix what you in your efforts have had no success in accomplishing. At the point of exhaustion and the point at which the ladder of self-guided discovery of God seemed to hit a wall was the point in which I found myself taking a turn towards Him which sent me reeling down a hill that was filled with much heartache and pain, but also more hope and wisdom than I could have ever found under my own chosen safe efforts to discovery who He really was and claimed to be.
Is God being mean when He allows diversity to come upon us? Does God want to see us suffer so we know just how powerful His is and how weak we really are? Of course not! But, God also does not want us to think that by our own efforts we can come to understand who He is. If that were the case then all the greatest scholarly minds of our times would have had the best access to understanding God and who He is. But instead, God brings us to lowly places so that the troubles we face in submission to Him become conduits of wisdom beyond that which the mind of man would ever glean on its own.
I came upon the following quote this morning that was said to have been uttered by an older man to A.B. Simpson. I wonder what trials and promises God showed this older gentleman over his lifetime to bring him to such a perspective. I am certain that his understanding about God was not one based on what he learned out of a book. Instead, I am certain this man was tested and tried by difficult circumstances he was asked to endure by his Savior, and in living amidst those struggles he was able to know God in ways that he, before those experiences, was unable to conceive or even comprehend.
“When God tests you, it is a good time to test Him by putting His promises to the test and then claiming from Him exactly what your trials have made necessary.” Unknown
We do not conquer the truths of God by burying our noses in books and or by filling our lives with grandiose schemes on how we can grow closer to God. Instead we discover real wisdom by allowing God to really show us what His truths mean as they are played out in each of our lives in unique and God customized ways.
Have you been trying to “do” your faith or religion right, so in doing so you will grow in your understanding of God? Maybe the suggestions in Psalm 51 would be a more fitting way to seek God out and grow to a greater understanding of Him. The verses below beckon us to speak God's praise, allow Him to break us while not despising Him for doing so, allow Him to build up what He has allowed to be broken down in keeping with His nature and who He is, and then offering our newly gleaned righteousness from our trials to be the perfect sacrifice offered to Him.
“O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.