“I have heard the tauntings…with which they have taunted My people and become arrogant against their territory. Therefore, as I live,” declares the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, surely…the remnant of My people will plunder them and the remainder of My nation will inherit them. This they will have in return for their pride because they have taunted and become arrogant against the people of the LORD of Hosts. The LORD will be terrifying to them, for He will starve all the gods of the earth; and all the coastlands of the nations will bow down to Him, everyone from his own place…”
“I will stretch out My hand against…those who have turned back from following the LORD and those who have not sought the LORD or inquired of Him…I will search Jerusalem with lamps and I will punish the men who are stagnant in spirit, who say in their hearts, ‘The LORD will not do good or evil….”
“Gather yourselves together, yes, gather, O nation without shame, before the decree takes effect…Seek the LORD all you humble of the earth who have carried out His ordinances; Seek righteousness, seek humility [that you may] be hidden in the day of the LORD’s anger.”
Zephaniah 2:8-11; 1:4a,12; 2:1-2a, 3 (NASB)
I have done apathy and pretending that things I know are wrong won’t matter. I have been on the road that says GOD won’t notice or care — or if He does, He will give me a pass because I did it under duress so “it’s not really my fault.” Mostly when I have been on that road, it’s not even a matter of justifying the bad behavior. It’s more along the lines of turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the things I know I shouldn’t do but am because “it feels good” in the moment and I want to; or I am feeling fed up and a tad rebellious and tell myself I don’t care. I want what I want and no self-righteous prig can tell me otherwise because it is my life and none of their business; or because I am seeking peace and approval through conciliation, compromise and appeasement to people and things I know full well to be less than GOD’s best, even though it never produces the desired results. I have been guilty of being “weary of doing good” and not living up to the challenge of Galatians 6:9.
Crisis has a way of stripping away all that rhetoric, excuse, passivity and attitude. It has a way of revealing where one’s heart truly lies. I have been through the fire and am still coming back from it but through it all GOD has dislodged all that superficiality, nonsense and triviality. He has revived my heart and our relationship in ways I did not even know were missing until He added them to my life and showed me clearly how little I had been settling for as good enough when He has FANTASTIC in mind.
I now stand on the brink of renewal and restoration. He has promised to bring the kids and I through our valley of the shadow, our fiery furnace without so much as a hint of the smell of fire upon us (Daniel 3:27) Any humiliation, disgrace, shame or reproach we have experienced will be remembered no more. (Isaiah 54:4) And I stand here in all faith, with my heart fully fixed on Him, hearing only His voice, no matter the fearful, well-meaning advice of those who talk faith but have not truly experienced the reality of its sufficiency when things get really bad and there is truly no way out but GOD. Nothing I can do, no matter how much I would like to participate in my own salvation and prove my responsibility and lessons learned from the mistakes of the past, could bring about the rescue God is directing on our behalf even as we speak.
Many have advised easier ways and compromises and remain confused and suspicious, even angry and accusatory in some cases, when I hold my ground because of the Word of the LORD telling me to stay the course. I know what it is to know the stories and have the head knowledge, so on one hand I understand the know-it-all effect.
Yet, I find it ironic to listen to speeches and exhortations about GOD working in all things, holding tight to Him, trusting His hand and the surety of His heart for me and the like, when I am the one living the ever-present Truth of that every single day, from people who when confronted by a real-life situation where faith and waiting on GOD even when it doesn’t seem to make sense, is truly the only way through– and I mean real rubber hits the road faith where if GOD does not come through we are toast — start panicking that maybe He won’t and suggesting contingency plans and questioning my faith and sense.
Nonetheless, I take my stand, unashamed to call Him my LORD and my Friend and to move only when He moves, go where He goes. In the words of Chris Tomlin, “I will follow You” my LORD and my GOD to the ends of the earth; and when I fail You–for I know that even as David did, though you called him a “man after Your own heart,” I will miss the mark at times–I trust that You will yet see that my heart is for You. And thus, in the way of the loving Father that You are, You will pick me up, dust me off, bring correction and set me back on the right path again.
For I have zero desire to stand any longer in the company of the apathetic and arrogant who turn their faces against You and incur Your wrath and destruction. I stand instead and declare in the words of Habakkuk:
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines; though the yield of the olive should fail, and the fields produce no food; though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the LORD. I will rejoice in the GOD of my salvation. The LORD GOD is my strength and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet and makes me walk on my high places.”
He said so, so it shall be so. He alone is the Rock on which I stand. Amen and amen!
“Be strong and courageous for the LORD your GOD will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“I am not ashamed for I know in Whom I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard that which I have entrusted to Him until that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12