My Own Night Season—What is Real Faith?
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Nancy Missler; ©1999|
|Nancy Missler explains how she found out from her own experience what real faith is—and what it is not. As she tells her story, you will be encouraged to do as she did—trust God to be faithful, especially in the hard times.|
The Need to Be Fully Persuaded
So often at the bottom of our struggles in the dark night is doubt and unbelief. It certainly was with me. We measure the validity of a promise by our own earthly standards which, of course, leave us wide open for doubt. Doubt affects everything we think, say and do. How can we trust and have faith in God today, if we don’t think He has been faithful to His promises of yesterday? We can’t! Doubt in God’s faithfulness not only causes us indescribable inner torment, it also prolongs our agony.
When I am totally honest with myself and I peel away all the garbage, I realized that I had trusted God, yes, but not to the point of abandoning all my earthly sources of comfort and security. I had faith in God, yes, but not to the point of setting aside all other supports and laying them at the cross. I had relied upon God, yes, but not to the point of accepting that fact that I didn’t understand what God was doing, and trusting Him anyway. I still had my own human expectations, my own presumptions and my own ambitions, and when these “supports” began to be taken away, I crashed. Big time!
Nothing reveals our true selves like the advent of hard times! In order to expose what is hidden below the surface of our pleasant religious exterior, God often must turn up the heat.
All of us want to be able to see and understand what God is doing in our lives; why He is doing it; what the outcome will be; and when exactly the end will occur! This, unfortunately, is not faith, but simply presumption on our part. Real faith is not seeing, not understanding, not feeling and not knowing. Real faith is simply trusting, no matter what we see happening, no matter what we understand to be true, and no matter what we feel like, that God will be faithful to His Word and perform His promises to us in His timing and in His way.
This is the kind of faith that Abraham possessed, who “…staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.” (Romans 4:20-21 emphasis added)
Faith is allowing God to be God. Faith is allowing God to do in our lives all that He needs to do (good or bad from our point of view), in order to accomplish His perfect will. Faith is allowing God to strip, flay and crucify us, if that’s what is needed to accomplish His will in us. Faith is simply accepting God’s night seasons as part of His will towards us. Job came to know what true faith was all about when he said, “though [You] slay me, yet will I trust [You].”
The turning point in my life came when I finally realized that abandonment to God’s will and having human expectations cannot coexist in my soul. Abandonment to God’s will is laying everything down at the foot of the cross and leaving it there, whereas, human expectation is picking it back up again and running with it.
Knowing God’s Will
God’s primary goal and purpose for our lives is that Christ may be formed I us and lived out through us. “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed into the image of His Son.” (Romans 8:29) God knows that this transformation is the only thing that will lead us to the “fulness of Christ” and the “abundant Life” that we are all seeking.
Therefore, because He loves us so much and wants us all to experience His fulness and His Life, He must remove anything in our lives that stands in the way of accomplishing His will.
I am personally convinced that ignorance of God’s will is the origin of much of our troubles. One of the purposes of this book, then, is to help us see and understand that these night seasons are from God’s hands and are His will to help form Christ in us. The darkness that He allows into our lives is “Father-filtered” and is good. This is the process that He uses to “replace us with Himself”—to purge our souls of sin and self so that He can fill us with His fulness and give us His Life. If we could only view, just for a moment, our spiritual lives from God’s perspective, we would see that the darkness He allows is truly an act of His Love. This night of faith will not only produce a cleansing of our soul and spirit, but also a peace that passes all understanding and an intimacy with the Creator of the universe that we have never known before.
- “I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is on my right hand, that I should not be moved.” (Acts 2:25)
So, don’t read any further unless you are longing, as I am, to see “the Lord always before [your] face” because this way of faith is not easy. It will confound your logic, destroy your schedules, annihilate your religious attitudes, frustrate your patience and probably alienate some of your acquaintances. It’s certainly not the kind of faith that the world teaches. It’s not even the kind of faith that some churches teach. This kind of faith demands all from us and requires great love for God. But, by learning to have faith in the night seasons, we will be headed for the summit of Life where we shall “see” our Beloved face to face.
Joy in the Morning
All of God’s promises in His Word are true. However, His way of accomplishing these promises in our lives is regulated by our faith and our unconditional abandonment to His will. We need to have the faith to allow God to be God.
As I am learning to stay unconditionally abandoned to God’s will and allowing Him to do in my life all that He needs to do in order to reproduce Himself in me, He is radically changing my life from the inside out. I am beginning to experience a peace that truly passes all understanding and the blessings of His abiding presence—the fulness of Christ.
There’s a joy, a rest, an intimacy with Jesus and an empowering of His Spirit that wasn’t there before. I have fallen so in love with my God, that I, too, am beginning to see Him “always before my face.”
It seems the more I learn to live for the moment and truly be abandoned to His will, the more I am witnessing God beginning to fulfill every one of those magnificent promises that He gave me up on that mountaintop in Big Bear so many years ago.
Truly, weeping does last for a “night,” but oh what joy awaits us in the morning! (Psalm 30:5) As Jeremiah says, “There is hope in [the] end.” (31:17)