Until the believer is perfected, there remains some atheist in him. He says he believes, but in the final analysis, his fruits tell otherwise, quite.
We worry, doubt, or fear because we don’t believe. Examining ourselves in the Light, we discover the truth about ourselves. That Light’s source is the fire that serves to purge us of the atheist within, that fire being an enemy at first, and a friend in the end.
How will I know I can stand the fire
Unless I am subjected?
How do I develop muscle to do heavy work
Unless I do heavy work to develop muscle?
How do I form calluses on my hands to prevent blisters
Unless I do those things
That make blisters?
I say I have faith to do anything,
To suffer all things and smile, even laugh
But how do I get that faith
Unless I suffer the very things
To produce the faith
To laugh at the things concerning which
I say I have faith?
How can I cry and say, “I believe”?
But when I believe, I shall not cry
When the fires come
Because the fires have done their work.
Lethbridge, August, 1984
"You've got to walk...that lonesome valley...you've got to walk...it by yourself..." the song goes. As it was with our father of faith, so with every sojourner. "Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; for I called him alone, and blessed him and increased him." There is no other way. On the day that I set out to walk with God I became lonely. My family insisted That I remain with it - I chose my loneliness, Part of the price to pay For obedience to God. I entered a family of those Who claimed to walk with God, Only to discover feigned faith. They insisted I be as they. Called out from among them Again I was lonely. He gave me a wife Knowing it not good That I should be alone. Together we searched for friends - A cup of water here And a cup there But no well. Today, after many years, He gives us a son Who helps to bear our loneliness But we are lonely. What is it to be lonely? It is to be alone In desires, in thoughts, in understanding, In conversation, in goals and interests, In activity, in purpose. Added to our loneliness, Betrayals and disappointments To sharpen the pain that is there - They come with smiles And depart with frowns. Added to our betrayals and disappointments, The enmity of adversaries Opposing what we are And why we are here, Hating us without a cause Added to the hatred, Loneliness, For they hate us And us alone. Moon River, Oct. 29...
The scalpel, cod liver oil and discipline are examples of the many things in life undesirable and hard to take but which are there usually for our good. It will not suffice to judge good and bad by our own understanding which is "understanding." We can tell nothing by appearance. So our selfishness is removed by trials and tribulations, fires that purge us of pride, self-sufficiency and arrogance in which we think we know what is best for us. There come times when we are troubled And in that trouble we have nowhere to turn it seems. At such a time of desperation we cry out for help. Somehow, having asked for help before, We receive no reply. But our cry must be loud enough and earnest enough to be heard. "Prince Valiant, Prince Majesty, come to my aid; Only you can save me now. I've waited too long and now I must turn To such as yourself for deliverance. Oh! But I need a miracle! I need a shining light, The sound of thunder and a shaking of earth; No less will do for me now! A chariot of God; to take me up Leaving my enemies far below. Who is this man I wait for? A man in shining armour, Fitted from head to toe; With perfect knowledge, power and wisdom, Compassion with overflow; A flaming sword in his hand, Magnificent shield in arm; There is no standing up to him... Invincible is his name. Who is it I hear knocking at the door? Another enemy? Is it more trouble?" I view through the peephole an unpleasant specta...
"Lord, who has believed our report?" cried Isaiah. It is to the sinner a prophet is sent, but sinners do not see nor hear by virtue (or vice) of the fact that they are sinners. The carnal man cannot receive the things of the Spirit. And because they are sinners, they are the ones who need to hear! So then both prophet and perpetrator, both saint and sinner, both herald and hearer learn of the grace of God, without Whom is nothing possible. "Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens." Nobody believes me; They wince when I speak; I give them Scriptures; They give me notions. They profess to love the Lord to honor the Scriptures to walk in righteousness and truth; They have their own bibles Of bits and pieces Tailored to their doctrines To suit their purposes. They hate the Light; They love their gods And their sins. God is anathema to them As He is So they change the glory of God, They take His Name, Giving it to gods of their own liking; They take His words, Wresting them to their destructions With smiling public faces They deceive themselves, saying, "We suffer for His sake; Our reward is stored up For which we have so labored." Paupers, laid in the dust, Naked, diseased, deranged, Babbling vain repetitions, Bled bone dry By the gods they serve, While I remain wealthy and healthy And alone. Moon River, Oct. 31, 1991