Calm, Unwavering Trust… John 13:7

September 19, 2011

Friends,
Jesus said to Peter in John 13:7, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” How often the Lord could say this to all of us who hesitate in allowing Him to wash us and prune us! But do we want to bear fruit? Then we must submit to the humility, the pain, the cutting, the delays, the process… and say, “I trust You, Lord, no matter what.”

God’s goal for us is that we become conformed to Christ-likeness (Rom. 8:29) –which means holiness– for “without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14) However, the only way for God to mold willful, sinful humans into this, is to train and discipline us (v. 7-11), and this does cause us suffering and pain. 1 Peter 4:12 tells us not to be surprised at this, though, for to suffering we were called (2:21) so that our faith may be proved genuine. (1:7) Obedience proves our faith (and repentance) genuine (Acts 26:20), but how can our obedience be tested if we do not receive exams? Tests are trials… afflictions… but we must pass these by continuing in our unwavering trust and submission to God even when it causes us anguish. Then, in passing these tests, we grow in faith, thus obedience, thus Christ-likeness, and thus ever-more useful vessels through which He can further His will on earth. Heb. 5:8 informs us that Jesus Himself “learned obedience from what He suffered.” Should we think that we will learn obedience any other way?

One problem with us humans is that we tend toward distrust of God. When we can’t understand why He’s allowing troubles into our lives, we think He is our enemy, a harsh task-master, and unconcerned with how much we’re suffering. We may not put these thoughts into words, but the bewilderment we experience, plus the lies Satan bombards us with, do have their effect. But here is the difference between the man who walks naturally versus the man who walks in the Spirit: The first demands to know what is going on, where he’s being led, and what the future entails. The second simply trusts, follows step by step after the Lord, and continues in praise, love, and thanksgiving, remembering that to walk by faith, not sight, is what the spiritual man does do. (2 Cor. 5:7) He does not make himself sick trying to reason out what he can’t reason out, or allow himself to be alarmed when God seems to change tactics or directions, but he instead calmly accepts that he can be filled with Holy Spirit power (Acts 1:4,5,8) and faith unto obedience (Rom. 1:5) without knowing “the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority.” (Acts 1:7)

Our walk is not about knowledge (except that of knowing our Lord –Jer. 9:24), but about faith. “O you of little faith” (Matt. 6:30 & 8:26) is not something we should cause the Lord to say to us. Rather, we should strive to think and behave so that He might commend us daily with these words, “[Child], you have great faith!” (15:28) For what does Jesus do for such a person? He will give this promise: “Your request is granted.” (same verse) –Because those who have great faith, are those who walk in the will of the Father, and such servants have been privileged to receive what they ask for. (John 14:12-14 & 15:7 & 1 John 5:14,15)

So: “This is what the LORD says: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the LORD.” (Jer. 9:23,24)

If we know the Lord… know Him well… then we will not feel an incessant need to understand what He is doing. We can ask, but concerning all that He does not choose to inform us of, we can confidently, even cheerfully, continue to walk in faith and trust… obedience and holiness… and submit to all He uses by which to train and discipline us. Why? –Because we believe with child-like faith our Lord’s words to us: “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (John 13:7 again) Yes, and we will see that He certainly had our highest good planned, as well as the privilege of participating as His ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:18-20) in the furtherance of His Gospel of love and salvation; and this, so that He might acknowledge and honor us before the Father and the holy angels on that day when He comes in His glory. (Matt. 10:32 & Luke 12:8 & John 12:26 & Rom. 8:17)

Then we will realize that the pain and bewilderment were exceedingly well worth enduring in order that we could obtain the glorious prize (2 Cor. 4:17 & Phil. 3:14) –that “crown that will last forever.” (1 Cor. 9:25)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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