Jan. 3, 2018

Becalmed In The Deep Blue(s)

It's being reported that numerous faithful Christians find themselves in a space where they don't feel like they amount to much, as if they have come to the end of themselves.

That may be a good thing.

Having been through this more than once, I would offer the following, only by way of what I learned from it. For what it's worth to you, here goes.

Sometimes, believe it or not, that sense of futility can be a normal part of the Lord doing His work in us, where the perception is more that He seems absent than present. He can be asking us to move on with Him more by sheer faith than by feelings. We may find that it's not so much about our will, or our efforts, but being brought by the Holy Spirit to a point of surrendering that will-fullness. We may need to have our eyes opened to the fact that we've been striving under our own power of will and ego to "serve" the Lord.  What we thought was serving Him may actually be self effort and self reliance. Flesh effort, not led of the Holy Spirit.

This can come along with a sense of exhaustion, and even the onset of physical health issues. Been there, done that.

It can be unnerving - this sense of futility - and it may last a long time - until we can see and understand this. It is not fun. It's kind of like sailing along, then being becalmed in the middle of the sea. However, what we may find out is that we thought we were sailing, when in truth we were rowing under our own efforts. And someone has stolen the oars!

What's somewhat unfortunate is that the overall tone of present day (American - Western in particular) Christianity is to always be doing and doing and doing. Ministers have little to offer in the way of advice, since the prevailing thought is frequently about what we should do, to be "active" for God, rather than what He wants to do for us and or within us. Thus - when we come to the point of being becalmed, and send out a distress call, and it's advised by a pastor or friend or spiritual advisor to just go and do some more "good works," or get more active - that counsel may actually be counter productive to what the Lord Himself is trying to get across to us.

He may want us sitting still for His own reasons! "Hey, you, now that I have your attention...."

At that point, it might be good to consider being as Mary of Bethany, sitting at the feet of Jesus and quietly taking in what He may want to let us know, Bible in hand, in prayer. Might it be time to let Him minimize Martha and magnify Mary?

We may discover that He's calling us up from being a servant to being His friend. Consider John 15:14-16. "You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will remain—so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you."

Fruit emerges due to the branch abiding in the vine. The branch does nothing of its own efforts.

Remember, His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts. But I do think that at times He likes to let us in on what He's doing every now and again... when we have a need to know.

May Christ's peace, blessing, and understanding be bestowed upon you, dear reader.