The terrible battle to be fought by the seeker of God is against unbelief. One moment, we can be so full of belief, of joy and excitement, assurance and boldness. Then, as little as it takes to slam a door, so quickly and surely have saints of God known the onslaught of unbelief in all its terrible power.
Our fight is the fight of faith. Our faith is the victory. Nor is it a faith concocted, a matter of will power. It is rather, a surrender to God, an acceptance of things as they are, an acknowledgment of things as they are and entrusting them entirely out of our control to His. Thus we come out of our valleys, our clouds of darkness and into the light.
Wave after wave,
Billow after billow,
No rest, no peace, except for a time,
A short time, a breather so to speak,
From the unrelenting pressures which increase.
Darkness all around us,
Blind alleys at every turn,
Clouds obscure the light of day
And leave us damp and cold.
When will we be free?
When will the storm cease?
Has it no end? Has it no bounds?
Can we go on with our hopes
Dashed to pieces at every turn,
Like cardboard huts in a hurricane?
Is it sin in our lives that causes this state?
Is the wrath of God kindled against us?
Have we no hope, no reason to expect
An end to intermittent turmoil?
“There is no peace to the wicked,” the Scriptures say,
Yet we have searched and searched ourselves again.
And though we know that in our flesh dwells no good thing,
We still find ourselves without an answer.
The sky is as brass, His voice we don’t hear,
Our steps we seek counsel for, to no avail.
When will He come and show Himself?
When will we be clean to receive our King?
When can we have our hopes fulfilled?
Why does He hide His face from us?
How is it that curses seem to haunt us still?
Is our faith so small
That we do not enter in
To that which He has in store for us?
Or is this nothing more and nothing less
Than a process of refinement,
A must like the seasonal pruning of trees
To bear more fruit?
But where is the fruit?
I have my seasons of sorrow and humiliation,
But where are my seasons of harvest?
I despair from knowing the answer.
I thought I had it;
I do not.
I hoped I would receive it;
Will I ever?
Have I confessed my unbelief
In asking if I’ll have an answer
When I ought to ask for it
Believing I have received it?
Lord, help my unbelief!
I am like one up to my nose in quicksand;
My perishing seems so sure.
I surely cannot help myself,
Nor can any man
or number of men
In anything they can do.
My only hope is that my God
Will come and lift me from the quagmire
In which I have fallen and sunk so deep.
I thought I was out, never to return.
Many times I thought I was out,
Only to find myself enveloped again.
How can these things be?
Do the Scriptures not tell us
Of a life of victory and of power?
Are only a chosen few
Given to be as Stephen and Samuel?
Or have they too had such lives
Of trial and loss and failure
Before the dawning of their day
To shine as lights much brighter than the day?
Am I to believe
That this is a preparation,
That all goes according to plan?
Or must I fear
That all is almost lost,
That I have failed,
That there is no base for hope any more
That God will not deliver
A sinner such as I?
Yet a faint glimmer of hope lives on
Even as I enquire.
I know my God is able;
I know I want His will
At any cost there is.
And so I wait
That He will save
And manifest Himself
Once more forever more,
Never to leave again,
His presence ever there
For me to enjoy.
Hear me, Lord, and hear my cry,
I have no one but You.
If all this cloud and quiet
Is for our very best
Then can I accept it, assured
That You will come and be to us
What You have promised
In Your appointed time.
Must I also be in the dark
About this as well?
How much harder it is to live
With uncertainty upon uncertainty!
But if You are faithful
And if You choose,
You are able
To cleanse me and deliver me
To be with You
And You with Me.
Come Lord, please come.
Lethbridge, Sept. 1984
Wee knead ownlee two studdie a langwidge uther than Inglish and soon beegin too diskover thuh mullteatood uv inncunsistenseas inn grambarr and spelling uv Inglish. And isn't it interesting that when Esperanto is introduced with its reason, logic and organized structure, we nevertheless prefer the disorder and confusion of our own language, be it English or otherwise? Needless to say, this is not the day of peace, harmony and wun tung four awl. Rite? Write? Reight? Right? Ring rang rung, Bring brang brung, Sing sang sung, Ding dang dung! Rools Four Inglish Spelling Wun. Teak lawjick, kut it down as aye bough and throw it inn aye slough ore aye trough. Butt that is knot enough. Too. Bee prepaired two bee confowndead, purpleckst and frustraited. Therdlee. Eckspecked two suspecked loozing yore mined. Fore. Dew knot feal thair iz eckneething rong with yoo. Phive. Fourghet triying two halve aye shoor phyre sisthame. Sicks. Thee unfourchunit groop yule joyne iph ignouring mie cownsull, and Seaven. Rimes with heven four whitch yu must hoap aund whitch iz whare yu mey think yu gow iff yu kwit inglish aund teak up sum uther langwidge. Lethbridge, 1984, 85
They speak for themselves. Naivete says: "All that men say is true, or at least most of what they say is true." "All their facial expressions tell their true feelings." "Most people in everyday common affairs have no reason to lie or to be deceitful." "People conduct themselves as normal beings always or almost always. One can usually take them at face value." Naivete has never met Discretion - never heard of her. But Naivete has a sister: Pride says: "The friendship of people towards me comes out of their admiration for me." (sometimes true) "People see something special in me even if they can't put a finger on it. If they don't, they ought to." "People respect me because I am something special." "All centers on me...all." "All things said and done toward me to my dislike are offensive, wrong and unjustified." "Don't rebuke me; don't rail on and on. It's only your ignorance and bad attitude. I don't want to hear it." "I have spoken. Let all men fall down and worship." "World, watch the grace, see the grace that issues from my precious lips." "I'm sure glad I'M right." Blindness is the brother of Naivete and Pride. Blindness says: "I see me; I see what I do; I see what I see and what I say; there is nothing else." "I don't see the circumstances, their elements, their noteworthiness. With the help of my sisters, I only believe the flatteries people speak to me, of me." Destruction, the child of Pride and Blindness (a marriage of incest) says:...
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...