Thank you for your recent correspondence. It was good to hear from you again despite your “difficult circumstances” as you described them.
Now to your questions, my good nephew: I will address them individually in separate letters so as to give you time to absorb them, fully.
Regarding the “seasons of testing” as you called them, which is the topic of this letter. I like to call them your “wilderness experiences.” You have raised valid questions regarding this, especially when you ask, “Why does God remain completely silent in my time of struggle?” You are very correct, at least from a human perspective, when you say “your times of struggle are hard enough by themselves, much less having to confront them without the sense of His presence”.
Let’s see if we can use someone as an example that might illustrate why this is so necessary in your life. Let us look at King David. If you will remember, David was anointed king by Samuel, the true prophet of the Lord while David’s predecessor, King Saul was still solidly in control of his kingdom.
Remember now Thomas, at this time David was just a lad and Saul, who stood “a head taller than any man in Israel” was still king. Now, David went on to fight lions and bears and even killed a giant. Subsequently, David’s ministry went public and his king’s demeanor went sour. Now, since the power of God rode so mightily upon David, one would think that it would be at this time that David would take the throne. Oh, but David was not yet ready for the throne for God still had much to work out of David’s nature. And what tool would God use to hammer out the unwanted characteristics in David’s nature? Why it was the Lord’s anointed…King Saul.
What needed to be removed from our would-be king you ask? Well, if you look at David’s life you will see that soon after the “Goliath episode”, Saul began a ten-year crusade to kill our young king-to-be. Saul became engorged with jealousy, which led to a murderous spirit controlling him for the rest of his life. Yet remember this, Saul was still king and David was not, though he had been given the
kingdom by God…just not yet. In fact, for more than a decade young David would wait to ascend to the throne.
What did he do for that decade, you ask? Well, number one: he learned how to dodge spears and more importantly, how not to pick them up and throw them back. David would have been quite justified in the eyes of others if he’d done this because you see; his king had gone quite mad.
Number two: he learned how to run fast and often. This activity kept him quite free of the deceitfulness of wealth, as he and his men owned nothing. You see, he had little time for the pursuit of possessions; he was merely trying to stay alive. When he did…he was quite grateful to his Lord. (I think he wrote some psalms about that, in fact.)
Number three: he had to have his vengeful nature cut from him. His Nabal experience was just such a test (I Sam. 25). Nabal’s blatant disrespect for David and disregard for the needs of his men, though at one time they’d been neighbors, sent David into a vengeful rage. It took the prudent act of a young woman, one Abigail by name, to defer David’s vengeance and allow the Lord to deal with cruel Nabal.
Number four: he had to have all traces of personal ambition circumcised from his heart. God did this by putting David under a mad king for years and then occasionally delivering that insane king into David’s hands. And what did our king-in-training do? Why he did what few of us ever do when put in completely unfair situations under jealous, ungodly leaders. He did nothing…except dodge spears and run a lot. Oh yes, he did one other thing: he worshipped his Lord…in the wilderness…a lot.
You ask why God is silent in your time of trouble. Well, David seemed to have a similar experience,
“I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.” (Ps. 69:3)
The reason David’s God did not speak to him much in the wilderness is that it was a test…and the TEACHER never talks during the test!
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