Thirty five years ago, a young man made an altar call. He was very troubled about his new life in Christ and prayed:
- Lord, I’m willing to serve you, but I just don’t see how I can. I don’t have any desire to serve. It all seems too burdensome to me.
He made this same altar call on numerous occasions. Not only didn’t he have the desire to serve, but he also felt entirely alienated from other Christians. They seemed to think differently than he. Their experiences didn’t match his own. It felt as if he occupied an entirely different world from theirs.
This also contributed to his sense of isolation from Jesus and his doubts that he was even saved. All of this tormented him, and he wondered why his new found Savior wasn’t answering his prayers. Was there something irremediably wrong with him?
He was sure that there was. He had suffered from years of depression and panic attacks, and it therefore seemed that either God really didn’t love him that much or that He couldn’t do anything about his weaknesses.
However, imperceptibly, things began to change. Jesus told a parable about growth. He compared it to seeds that grow by themselves without the knowledge and assistance of the farmer (Mark 4:26-28). It didn’t matter whether the farmer remained awake or asleep, this mysterious growth would continue. And it has!
Surprisingly, now there is nothing I’d rather do than to serve my God. I am consumed by this endeavor. Every joy I have is somehow connected to this occupation. Every hope is enslaved by it. However, this doesn’t mean that I no longer have struggles. In fact, He continues to give growth to His seed through my weakness (2 Cor. 12:9-10), even my incomprehension (2 Cor. 4:1-11).
Consequently, I remain a man of many weaknesses. I struggle with my highly negative, irritable, critical, anxious and angry nature. This hasn’t made me easy to live with; nor has it made me the ideal husband. For years I’ve prayed that I wouldn’t be so negative towards my wife and instead cherish her as the precious gift God had given me.
Oddly, I’d feel very tender and warm towards her when we were apart, even for a few hours. She would appear so lovely to me. But when we’d reconnect, I’d find that the spell had been broken, and I was helpless to change this.
However, the seed of God’s planting continued to grow and the warm glow I’d experience when we were apart began to invade our times together.
How could such a thing happen? Certainly not by my manipulations! It happened as I sleep; it grew even as I doubted.
Why do I write about this now? To glorify our Savior and to pass onto you the encouragement of the Psalmist:
- As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy. (Psalm 123:2)
Just wait for Him! Praise the Lord!