“But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.” (Hosea 1:7)
The Old Testament is full of verses of this kind. Where we are brought back to seeing God, Himself, as our deliverance.
These verses speak of men involved in desperate circumstances. Against-the-wall kind of situations. Where there is nowhere to turn but to God.
Elijah found himself alone and exhausted in the wilderness. But God sent ravens to feed him.
The Israelites found themselves without water in the Arabian desert. And God sent water gushing out of a rock to revive them and keep them going.
In numerous Old Testament accounts, the Israelites were facing overwhelming odds against powerful enemies. But God stepped in to tell them that it was His battle and not theirs. And amazing victories were won when they stood back and watched what God would do.
When God Does an Impossible Thing
One cannot turn the pages of the Bible without finding example after example of God’s provision for His people in the midst of impossible circumstances.
In all of these examples, we see that God is not interested in the resources that we have. He wants us to rely on His resources.
In the devotional book, Faith’s Checkbook, Charles Haddon Spurgeon often speaks of our tendency to rely on a “secondary source”. What he means is that we are always taking inventory of our own abilities and reserves. So that we can fall back on them.
Or that we are looking for that special “possibility” of a job, a contact, a lead, a way we can go or an expectation that we can hope in. This is so normal for us as human beings to do.
But God wants us to be aware that He doesn’t need these things. He can bring water out of nowhere. He can make a blind man to see. He can raise the dead.
There is no method or process we could ever calculate or rely on for such a miracle to occur. God is not bound by the natural processes to supply our needs. We live in a supernatural realm now. It is not about what is seen; but about what is unseen.
When We are Left with Nothing but God
Hannah Whitall Smith, in her book, The God of All Comfort, discusses how we are so afraid of being left with “nothing but God”. We are terrified that our circumstances can become so dire that we may have no one we can rely on but God. Anything but that!
And yet, she states, how we would then be in the best of all possible situations.
Paul says that “we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3:3). This flies directly in the face of all that we are taught about life. The world is totally occupied with self-image, self-confidence, self-esteem, self-discipline, self-dependence and self-control.
But the Bible teaches something else altogether. Remove “self” from all the above phrases and put “Christ” in its place. Then you will have a correct view
And this doesn’t come easily; even for a Christian. We must be brought by the Lord’s own hand, experience by experience, point by point to a place of utter dependence upon Him. And that is not a fun place to be. Romanticism does not thrive in that environment.
Hope in the Raging Firestorm
The Lord spoke with Paul saying, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (II Corinthians 12:9). Paul’s response was to say, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Despite all appearances, there is a great liberation here. I have often come kicking and screaming to this point. Sorry to say. But there is a peace and rest here that cannot be explained. Where I can stop worrying about all the stuff that I had to keep under control. Where I can rest and be at peace in the midst of a firestorm around me.
I often think of the Byronic literary hero, standing on the high and lonely precipice, looking outward to face the elements. One man against the raging storm. This is what we try to be on our own. It is the arrogance of the existential man. The great lie of Satan that man can live his life independent from God.
A dangerous lie not just for the lost man; but also for the Christian.
We are not here to demonstrate our own abilities for God. Nor are we to engage in proving our devotion to God by living this life in the strength of our own “dedicated Christian flesh”.
As Paul said so long ago, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being...” (Acts 17:28). Christ wants us to rest in Him. So that He can reveal Himself to the world through us. So that He can demonstrate who He is and what He can do.
“LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.” (Isaiah 26:12)