Have you ever experienced a time when Yahshua seems far away? When the heart is burdened and heavy, and your heavenly connection seems non-existent? Amy Carmichael puts it like this, "We do not feel, we do not see, we cannot pray, it is as if His lovingkindness were shut up from us, ‘clean gone for ever’.” Does that sound familiar? I found an anonymous quotation which, added to Amy’s experience, helped me to see that such feelings have always existed. “I have never found a man so religious or devout that feeleth not…sometime, diminution of fervour.” Quaintly expressed, but oh, so true! My own experience is that, even in those dark times, the love and kindness of Yahweh has not ‘clean gone forever’ but is holding me firmly and supporting me with compassion, though I can feel none of His gentleness and strength.
Is there a secret to surviving these times? Asaph, one of the great song-writers of Israel, was having a bad day when he wrote, “I cried out to [Yahweh] for help…and I would not be comforted.” [Psalm 77:1-2] He anguished, “Has his unfailing love vanished for ever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has [Yahweh] forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” [vs 8-9]. Then, as the psalm unfolds, Asaph shares a personal survival technique; remembering! “I will remember the deeds of [Yahweh],” he sings; “I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” [vs 11-12]. From this point the song begins to soar in a paean of praise, as the prophet recounts Yahweh’s goodness to Israel.
Here is an ancient remedy from which we can learn; concentrate the heart on what has been experienced so far! No-one can walk with Yahweh for any length of time without being exposed to His faithful provision, His loving compassion, His care and protection. Remember those times, recall His interventions, let the heart lift in gratitude, begin to say, ‘Thank You!’ As our memories begin to shine, we will find ourselves able to say, “I will trust and not be afraid.” [Isaiah 12:2]; His lovingkindness has not ‘clean gone for ever’!
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