For a long time our church dreamed of building a conference center on some choice property in California. We spent more than two years in the approval process, just trying to get a conditional use permit. I heard we might face some rough going, but that was the understatement of the year. We found the process next to impossible.
We kept a steady stream of required documents, forms, and reports flowing to the county. Some of the volumes were several inches thick. And yet the officials kept demanding more and more documentation. You wouldn’t believe the mammoth bureaucracy and the never-ending red tape we faced. If I had hair, I would have pulled it all out! For the longest time I wrestled and struggled and agonized over every new development.
And I couldn’t help wondering, Lord, since this is all for You, this is for Your kingdom, You could smooth the way with a snap of Your fingers. So why don’t You just start snapping? But no matter how often I prayed, the only thing I saw snapping was my patience.
Times like these can be among the most difficult of our whole spiritual experience. We feel tremendous pressure—and God doesn’t seem the slightest bit interested in doing anything about it. We pray and we plead and we claim His promises … and yet He remains silent.
Where is the love of God then?
You may even be asking similar questions right now. What should you do when life seems to scream, “Forget the love of God! It’s a fantasy. You’re on your own, so just grow up”?
The unidentified writer of the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119, faced opposition at least as great as anything I have experienced. Out of great turmoil of heart he wrote, “They almost made an end of me on earth” (v. 87). He found himself at the edge of a cliff, wondering whether his enemies would soon toss him off. And yet he did not give up. He did not cave in to doubt. He kept forging ahead, strengthened by his confidence in God’s everlasting love.
How did he manage?
He continued, “I did not forsake Your precepts. Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth” (v. 88).
The Word of God sustained this man through his darkest hours. So it must be with us.
When God seems silent, when He does not act immediately to remove some obstacle, correct some evil, or clear away some wrong, we must follow the psalmist’s example. When we wonder, Lord, how long are You going to let this go on? Or when we pray and pour out our heart to God—and yet nothing seems to improve—we need to return to the Word of God. We must go back to His unchanging promises, based upon His everlasting love, and there let our souls rest until our God moves in power at exactly the right time.
- excerpted from Love The More Excellent Way by Chuck Smith