…. For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face; but in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise and save us.’ “But where are your gods which you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you in the time of your trouble… Jeremiah 2:27-28
Most of us Christians take our God for granted. We think, “Well, He has saved us, so we are fine, let’s get on with life!” We usually remember Him, mostly, when we are in trouble. He is more like an insurance policy to us. We go to Him for damages that life has brought about. We remember Him when our children are rebellious, or when our spouse is filing for a divorce, or when we get fired, or when we cannot pay the bills, or when friends betray us, or when we are passed over for promotion or are hit by a natural disaster. That is when we remember Him and run to Him. But even then it is often only to get what we want out of Him. Worse still, if He does not answer our prayers in “a timely fashion,” we accuse Him of being “cruel,” or “harsh,” even “non-existent.” He knows that as soon as He gives us what we want, we will leave Him on the shelf until our next time of need (Psalm 32:9).
Do we expect Him to be ok with that? Would you be ok if your loved ones came to you only when they wanted something from you?
God knows that unless we are filled with the love and grace of God we can never be the joyful souls He created us to be, and we cannot be of much use to Him if our hearts are not tamed and surrendered to His will. That is why at times He needs to discipline us as any faithful and loving father would discipline his child to put him back on the right track. Sometimes God withholds His blessings, and worst of all, He withholds Himself. We don’t feel His presence anymore. We pray and read His word, but it feels dry, as if our soul is parched, with no flow of water. God feels absent. We keep praying but it seems as if we’re praying into empty space. We keep running to our fleshly sources for comfort and healing, but all those will disappoint us.
Regardless of the money in our bank account, or the powerful people around us, or the technologies that rule in our lives, or promises of our government, or scientific breakthroughs, none of these gods can deliver us from the pit we are in. The illness is not healed, the foreclosure takes place, the spouse leaves with another person, the rebellious child rebels more, friends get tired of listening to our problems, the new job will not satisfy, and no one seems to have the capacity to carry our burden. None of the gods in our lives can deliver!
That is precisely when our soul is a fertile ground for His grace and His Spirit. That is when we have learned the lesson we need to learn to cherish Him and know what an awesome God, majestic in glory and mighty in power, is our LORD. That is when our knees bend, our wills surrender, our tears of repentance and joy flow down. And precisely then is when He shows up in a mighty way. We may lose worldly stuff in the process, but we will gain the greatest treasure of all. We gain Christ! We will fall in love with Him, because then we realize who He is, what He has done for us, and how badly we need Him.