Monday, July 7, 2014

God's work in the Human Heart

The look in Churchill's eyes says it all, fear, doom, sheer determination, long suffering, and hope.

God keeps working, day and night.  His plan is just that perfect.  It all comes together.  We humans labor in the darkness day and night as well, and we carry heavy burdens.  Covered in mud and vomit and bile, we wonder at the sky.  We start to lose hope.  But at moments sublime, God cuts a hole in the fabric of reality and shines through, and it so often brings us to tears, and we remember that there is hope and reason and there are greater things ahead than behind.  

It's like Winston Churchill and the island of Great Britain during World War II.  Country by country the evil mighty nation of Germany conquers.  They conquered Austria, then Poland, they swept up into the north.  France held back in fear, amassing defenses along a wall across their eastern border.  Germany invaded from the sea and devestated France forcing their surrender.  The whole of Europe under Nazi control, Great Britain stood alone.  The chancellor was cast out for cowardice by the public, and there was Prime Minister Winston Churchill standing alone.  Imagine how he felt.

Is this the end?  My goodness, they're unstoppable.  The United States would not get involved.  Then began the battle of Britain.  Cities being bombed, British fighters outnumbered 10 to 1.  And you start to concede to the defeat internally.  It's over.  It's never going to be ok again.  So many are dying, across Europe millions are being systematically exterminated.  He must know that if and when the Nazis land on British soil, his people will be fed into those same gas ovens.  He must be thinking, "God has left us behind."  But at the last moment, the United States was attacked and jumped into the war, moving to support her friend England.

And it was Winston Churchill who said, "If you're going through hell, keep going." 

God reveals himself.  But sometimes we feel like he has left us behind.  David wrote in the Psalms, "Lord, why do you hide your face from me?"  

Doesn't it often feel that at the darkest times God has abandoned us?  Why is that so?  

Perhaps he's building our faith.  When we have nothing to lean on, and we feel completely alone there is only one option: Have faith, and trust God.  It's like falling backwards, waiting for invisible hands to catch you.  It's such a challenge.  But then there he is, at the last possible moment. 

He's working on us.  

Back when I was a troubled young man, turning to drugs and drinking to blot out my pain, my mother joined a church called Good News Baptist in Mosinee.  From there she joined a Bible study, and among other things she asked the group to pray for me, her lost son.  

In the past two years since Jesus Christ saved my life, I've moved about among the churches in the area learning as much as I can, just trying to inhale as much truth as possible.  For a time I participated in a young adults group at Highland Church in Wausau.   The young man who runs that group, named Ryan, learned that my mom was Karen.  He came up to me one night and said he had been praying for me 10 years ago.  

Yesterday I was looking for a church in town that held services in the evening, because I often work 2nd shift at the homeless shelter.  Not easy to wake up after a midnight at the shelter.  I found one called Wausau Bible Church and attended their services.  It was good and afterward the lady in front of me introduced herself.  I mentioned my mom Karen, and she said that 10 years ago she had been in a Bible study where they had prayed for me.  And she teared up.

Sometimes on this messed up little planet we start to feel that God is not active.  How can he be when so much evil rocks every moment?  But often a few people with hands folded can change a life.  And God doesn't necessarily leave it there, sometimes he'll send living proof to those ever-watching, for his mysterious presence and interaction in human events.

Often I feel like Winston Churchill on the little island, watching an army of atheist psychopaths conquer and exterminate.  And I'm just terrified.  I'm so very scared.  Everyone's going crazy, nothing is OK, God seems absent.  I just want to call it quits, send Hitler our surrender, it's done.  The battles rage over my skies, the enemy approaches, and I'm hanging on by a thread.  But tomorrow always comes and somehow I survive to fight another day.  Always so alone, and standing alone against a massive wave of instigation and chaos.  Fear creeps in and midnight is a state of mind. But what else can you do?  If you're going through hell, keep going!