Echoes From the Campfire

I didn’t tell you it’d be easy.  Nothin’ good in this life ever comes to a man easy.  You just got to be patient, and give a little.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (The Time It Never Rained)

    “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”
              –James 1:2-4 (HCSB)
This portion of Psalm 44 makes it seem as if God has rejected the people; that He has left them to be destroyed.  You were with us, and now…now you have forsaken us.  I like what F.B. Meyer says when we encounter situations such as this, “Sometimes God takes away all sensible enjoyment and encouragement to see whether we still cling to Him for Himself.”
    Life with God is not always pleasant.  We may and should have some tremendous victories, but then there are those times when we wonder where God is.  Why have you left me Lord?  Now there may be many reasons.  There may be sin in the camp, there may be personal sin, there may be circumstances with others involved in the situation, and then there may be the unseen happenings in the spiritual world–remember Job.  What was happening to him was because of a conversation in the spiritual realm and Job didn’t have a clue as to what was happening.

    9 – But You have rejected and humiliated us; You do not march out with our armies.
   10 – You make us retreat from the foe, and those who hate us have taken plunder for themselves.
   11 – You hand us over to be eaten like sheep and scatter us among the nations.
   12 – You sell Your people for nothing; You make no profit from selling them.
   13 – You make us an object of reproach to our neighbors, a source of mockery and ridicule to those around us.
   14 – You make us a joke among the nations, a laughingstock[a] among the peoples.
   15 – My disgrace is before me all day long, and shame has covered my face,
   16 – because of the voice of the scorner and reviler, because of the enemy and avenger.
   17 – All this has happened to us, but we have not forgotten You or betrayed Your covenant.
   18 – Our hearts have not turned back; our steps have not strayed from Your path.
   19 – But You have crushed us in a haunt of jackals and have covered us with deepest darkness.  (HCSB)

    God where are you?  We cry out for Him to answer, for Him to relieve our distress, for His love to cover us and again bring victory.  Ah, but what do you do if the victory does not come?  We live in a time where so many in the church say that all you have to do is claim your victory.  I will say that they do not live in the real world.  Sure, there are times when the Holy Spirit will direct you to do that, but what happens if there seemingly is no victory?  What happens when you rebuke the devil and he don’t “buke”?  Do you fall away from God, or do you still cling to Him?  Remember Job!
    Wait a minute!  Doesn’t Paul say that in all things we are more than conquerors?  (see Romans 8:36-37)  It is vital that we recognize that God is always working for good in our lives even when it seems He is not there or has taken a siesta.  “Negative circumstances are not a sign of His rejection of us; rather, He is working for the good.” (George O. Wood)  Our part in all of this is to obey and continue to trust Him.
    True, it is hard to trust the Lord when you are in pain.  It is hard to trust when sorrow floods through your being.  It is hard to trust when your world seems to be crumbling around you.  In all of this–TRUST.  The Psalmist says, verse 18, “Our hearts have not turned back; our steps have not strayed from Your path.”  This must be our declaration in the midst of whatever calamity that may be coming our way.  

              “Redeem us from perpetual shame,
               Our Savior and our God!
               We plead the honors of thy name,
               The mercies of thy blood.”
                      –Isaac Watts