Your letter was such an inspiration. It is always a powerful witness when someone expresses a desire to know the Lord more completely and to try to understand His will for their lives. It is encouraging to me because I feel that I am on an ongoing journey. There are times in this journey when my faith is tested and it is a positive affirmation when someone makes a commitment to join in the journey as well.
You asked if I struggled with my faith during the hard times. Yes. This struggle with faith happens everyday. All day long there are greater and lesser struggles. If we are striving to be in the Lord's will and held in His loving embrace then we are bound to experience doubts because our human nature questions and constantly asks 'why'. It is important to remember that when we strive to cling to the Lord the more the Tempter will move to separate us from the Lord. The Tempter uses to his unholy advantage our human frailties to niggle and prod us away from our source of Peace and comfort.
It may be something as simple as an aggravation with the car or something as devastating as serious news but all of it is an opportunity for the Tempter to turn our gaze away from Jesus. Jesus is the only reason we are able to continue in our journey despite the struggles. Jesus longs to use each of these opportunities to bring us to a greater and deeper understanding of His divine and holy plan for our lives as well as our eventual reward in Heaven.
Sorrows are the hardest to accept and the most difficult to understand. We cry out to the loving and tender Lord "Why are you letting this happen?" Our prayers are indeed lamentations of hurt and confusion. However we can take great strength in the example of Job. When Job cried out to the Lord it was the Lord who answered. The Lord answered Job for 4 chapters: Job 38, 39, 40, and 41. He begins with "I will question you and you tell me the answers. Where were you when I founded the earth?" The Lord continues through the 4 chapters explaining to Job the details of all that the Lord does and knows. It is such a comfort to read. The discourse ends with Job answering the Lord. He very simply states that as a human he can not possibly know what the Lord knows but he must trust in the Lord.
The final discourse in this Old Testament book explains how the Lord restored all things for Job and turned his complete sorrow into complete joy. Only the Lord God can bring good from sorrow. The Lord allows sorrow for a good. We cannot understand the sorrow yet we must believe in the good that will come.
This is more than I can understand, even on a good day. J However, when I have allowed the 'world' to steal my time (which is a gift from the Lord) and busy me with tasks that keep me from prayer, it is then that I struggle even more so. I am fidgety and restless with God. I am irritable and do not want to trust in Him. I am like an exhausted child battling a nap or a dog chasing its tail. I am moving but going nowhere. It is then that the Lord asks me to come away with Him to a place of quiet. Jesus wants to hold me and let me rest in His embrace.
I had the wonderful experience two years ago of being in a Catholic church during a very powerful healing Mass. The sanctuary was filled with prayerful persons seeking intercession for healing. The quiet yet powerful reverence in prayer was amazing. I found myself kneeling and praying with great intent. I came to the Lord and began pouring my heart out telling the good Jesus every little thing that was troubling me. As I prayed a sense of peace swept over me. I was calmed and reassured. Gradually my heart felt lifted and I could experience a tangible presence of Jesus. Though He is with us always, I felt a closeness to Him that was peaceful. I heard myself begin to say through my tears, 'Your will. Only your will.'
This is what Jesus wants us to feel all day long everyday. He wants to draw us so close to Him that we only want His will for us. However Jesus has a heart for people. He knows how difficult this is for us. He waits for us, He nurtures us, He guides and instructs us, and He loves us while we journey closer to Him.
The task before us is to constantly seek Jesus. We must never stop wanting to know Him. Each time we know Him He reveals Himself totally for that place where we are. Then as we grow closer He shows us more and more. It is like the first time I saw the beauty of my first born child. I was certain there was no child more beautiful until the second child was born and so on and so on.
Keep striving to know Jesus and you will always know Him for He will show Himself to you.
Your letter and your questions will help many, many people. You have followed your heart and heard the Holy Spirit instruct you to write. Thank you for your powerful and holy witness. Please pray for all persons who are striving to know Jesus at this very moment.
There is a song that my husband played and sang when he was in a Christian band and I am going to close with the words as our prayer together. "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look in His marvelous face and the things of this world will grow strangely dim all in the light of His grace. "
We love You Lord Jesus and long to see Your face. Amen.
My favorite scripture is John 16:22 "For now you have sorrows but I will return and You will know joy that no man can take from you."
Sending out a prayer,