Monday, July 6, 2015

Discouragement & Abandonment ~Project Intercession~

          Firstly, I'd like to apologize to those who have read the blog recently and found it to be out of date. I thank you at the same time for taking time to stop by. I pray that this post finds each reader well, even as your soul prospers (3 John 1:2)? Life has been good and bad, up and down, joyful and sorrowful over the last year and half. The last post I published was on Easter Morning of 2014. Much has been answered yet at the same time new prayer concerns have arisen. I'll do my best to update the website with the latest prayer request and even the answers to prayer. I covet your prayers and feedback on the website. Now onto the discussion at hand.

         The last several months have been very trying on me in my spiritual walk. Through it all I've listened to countless messages and spoken to preachers, family and friends about the time and arrived at the same conclusion- God is faithful! But regardless of what I knew to be true, I have experienced overwhelming despair, sadness, loneliness and simply a distant feeling towards the Lord. A study of biblical characters reveals that I'm not alone. From the least to the greatest, Old and New Testament, men and women of God have trodden the path of isolation and believed the lie that they were alone. Even Jesus cried the following while knocking on death's door: "And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Mark 15:34.

          Why does this happen? Why would God allow His People to get to a point in their walk where they feel like they're all alone and deserted? I don't have a definitive answer, but I can suggest the following examples. King David is probably the very first person that comes to mind when I ponder about abandonment and the seemingly loss of fellowship from the Father. From day one David made enemies. Beginning at the anointing of David by the Prophet Samuel as the future king of Israel, his brothers despised him. Things only got worse for David as his kingdom took shape. Countless times King Saul tried to kill David, he fled from country to country often times facing oppression in foreign lands, he lived in caves, was forced to eat the bread of the temple being destitute and attracted hundreds of men who were in similar fates as he. (And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men. 1 Samuel 22:2) There were plenty of times where David told the Lord he was through with life. The psalms record many of those thoughts and prayers. However, David always got to the point where he was able to recall things like this...
1 Samuel 30:6
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

Psalm 27:13-14
I had fainted , unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. [14] Wait on the Lord : be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord .

and he taught his son to say...
Lamentations 3:21-23
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. [22] It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. [23] They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

It was through the times of hardship that David was brought back to one anchor- God was faithful.

          Immediately on the heels of David, my thoughts wander towards Elijah who literally asked to die several times and decided to stop eating. Had the Lord not feed Elijah and pushed him to continue on one step at a time, Elijah would have never passed on the mantle to Elisha, a widow and her son would not have survived a famine and untold ramifications for the seven thousand who did not bow the knee to Baal. Read the words of Elijah as he sat in caves to die...
1 Kings 19:11-19
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord . And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord ; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: 
[12] And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 
[13] And it was so , when Elijah heard it , that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? 
[14] And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 
[15] And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: [16] And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. 
[17] And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. 
[18] Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. 
[19] So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.

Clearly, Elijah was at his wits end and wanted to quit but God strengthened him and let him see that he was not the last one standing. Another prime example is that of Jeremiah. Jeremiah had quit, given up on God and His People. Jeremiah, from the bottom of a pit blamed God for his condition and promised never to speak His name again. 
Jeremiah 20:9
Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay .

Jeremiah found it harder to not speak the words of the Lord than to speak them faithfully thus relying on God's strength. The accounts go on and on all the way up until the time of Paul. Even John the Apostle wrote about future Christians who would suffer for the name of Christ to the point of believing they will be forgotten. The conclusion is God does not forget about us nor allow us to go through a trial of which there's no escape. Jude said He is able to keep us from falling. Paul recorded God's heart when he said there's always a way to escape every temptation.

         Finally, I encourage to dig deep, pray for broader shoulders and seek the Lord's face earnestly until He speaks. May the assurance of which Job recalled during the midst of desolation be our song and constant stay...
Job 19:23-26
Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! [24] That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! [25] For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: [26] And though after my skin worms destroy this body , yet in my flesh shall I see God:

May God bless and keep you..."Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Hebrews 12:2