King's Business - 1968-03

coals smothered under a lot of ashes. Anyway, a lot of us are trying to remedy the situation in the wrong way. A vacation or a hobby will not cure that. Post-graduate courses and new degrees these days do not bring modem Jobs from hearing to seeing. A change of pastorates will not do it. It is one thing to resign, another thing to have our commission “ re-signed,” stamped anew with God’s approval. I am not pleading for some strange, queer, self- induced emotional binge. Seeking that sort o f thing has led into all sorts of weird and wild excesses. But for fear of that we have gone the other direc­ tion and some of us will miss a blessing rather than give up a prejudice. I am not labeling this experi­ ence or proposing “ steps” or “ rules” to follow. Both the Bible and subsequent history prove that men who have had power with God and men have first had their Jabbok like Jacob of old. The pat­ tern is incidental: what matters is that we take time out for a conference with God. It may mean canceling some other petty little conferences with flesh and blood but if it sends Paul to Arabia and brings him back with new orders it will be his greatest day’s work. The modern set-up of a church is so arranged — and the devil has had a hand in it — that the pastor is not so much a preacher; he is more like the head of a department store. He may have to slash some red tape and even offend some dear sister by not attending a tea-sipping of the Sons and Daughters of I Will Arise but if he is to be God’s man, he must get into the Divine Presence farther than morning devotions will take him. Somehow, at any cost, he must get past hear­ ing to seeing. Many an earnest chap who has heard well and believed well has seen but poorly and will yet have to have his comeliness, turned to corrup­ tion and rottenness, enter his bones and cry, “Woe is me for I am undone!” before heaven commis­ sions him to his finest work. Is this experience worked up? I am not con­ cerned with the psychology of it any more than with the pattern of it. One thing I would say: You must want it, desperately desire it. Then you must move from “ It” to “Him.” The Psalmist said, “My soul thirsteth for THEE, my flesh longeth for THEE.” Jesus said, “ If any man thirst, let him come unto ME and drink.” A lot of dear peo­ ple are always chasing “ it” and sometimes they think they find “ it” and “ it” fades. But when they get through to Him, they quit pumping at their own poor wells; they become fountains. There must be earnest desire, thirsting after God like the hart after the waterbrook. Thirsting is not casually wanting a drink of water. A mild desire for God’s best does not bring Job from hearing to seeing. God pours out water upon him

work up a satisfying faith, finally resting in the Faithful One. It is Phoebe Palmer learning to say, “When I gave all trying over, simply trusting, I was blessed.” The time would fail me to tell of many another Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jepthah and David and Samuel who by ways as diverse as themselves came to such a soul hunger, holy heart­ burn and heavenly thirst that they found no sat­ isfaction in anything short o f God Himself; who got past seeking God’s gifts to where they could sing, “Now Thee alone I seek; Give what is best.” I tell you, when a man gets through to that, he is past hearing to seeing, and Job’s glorious words are not a strange language to him. Because we are painfully short of such souls today, even our most orthodox Christianity is weak and pale and dull and dry. I know, of course, that one must first take his stand on the plain Word of God and not make personal experience his standard. “ Let God be true, but every man a liar.” If God’s Word is not enough, nothing else would ever be enough and we would not be persuaded though one rose from the dead. But God does grant personal experiences of varying kinds and degrees to His children. Some He starts off with a glowing red-letter day. He comes to others in times of great trial and test­ ing. To some He grants mighty miraculous deliv­ erances. Every Christian life begins with a miracle and some are guided all their lives in such mar­ velous fashion that it can be explained only by saying “ It is the Lord.” Many of us have known blessed seasons of prayer and meditation, special Divine interventions, rare hours when God became so near and Christ so real that we seemed in heav­ en rather than on earth. There are sometimes long seasons, of course, when God seems far away and He seems to trust some of His children so much that He can leave them for awhile in the dark. But we are not to conclude that because we are no longer in the apostolic age that the best we can expect is a walk o f dry faith unlit by heavenly visitation. Our Lord loves to draw near as He did to the lonely Emmaus pilgrims long ago and we ought to start every day expectantly, not only looking for His return, but seeking His face today. It is this very matter that spells the differ­ ence between a dry, ineffective ministry and a life “ owned and operated” by the Lord. Ministers who have heard by the hearing of the ear have carried on like Job faithfully and religiously. They are men of good character and integrity who fear God and eschew evil. But they need to see God. Others started out on fire but the fire is now a bed of

MARCH, 1968


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