The storm clouds of life were heavy and dark, the wind raged, the waves tossed and the future seemed bleak. My prayers were empty words devoid of comfort, the Bible held no help, my sins towered over me, my lack of faith and love for God weighed my soul down and it all was too much. My strength, pitiful as it was, was spent; my courage had deserted me and God seemed so very far away. He seemed to be deaf to my pleas and all was lost. I was perplexed and in despair, sorrowful and not rejoicing, confused and baffled by God’s providence. My own understanding failed me and hope was too distant a concept to grasp. The path before me was dark and crooked, my soul was downcast and my thoughts troubled.
And I suffered the temptation to quit. To give up and walk away from all that I did. I’d toss in the towel and leave God and Christianity behind me. It was too heavy a burden to bear, too much for my feeble frame, too hard, too painful, I couldn’t do it.
And yet, and yet no sooner had I entertained this thought when a barrier in my mind slammed into place. I couldn’t quit. It became impossibility itself and every fibre of my being rejected the temptation and turned back to God. Who else was there to turn to?
“If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”
2 Timothy 2 v 13
I wanted to let go of God but he won’t let go of me. Why? Because he cannot disown himself. For I am a son of God, an heir with Christ, a member of God’s household, a prince in his Kingdom and God will never let me give up. Undeserving, I was saved and undeserving, God keeps me.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8 v 28 – 39
You know what else can’t separate me from the love of God? Me. Amazing thought isn’t it? God will love me no matter what I do. He will keep me no matter how far I slip, no matter how far I walk away from him, no matter how angry I get with him. No matter how bad my sin, how weak my faith, how pathetic my love, how ungrateful my heart, God will remain faithful to me.
But what about later on in life? What about the time between now and my death? What about the temptations, pressures, stresses, weariness, persecution, frustrations, suffering, confusion, perplexity, fears, and traps that I’m going to face? Does God do anything about that?
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”
1 Peter 1 v 3 - 5
‘Who through faith are shielded by God’s power…’ is a truth I need to write on my heart. God does not leave the believer insecure. No! Instead we are shielded by the power of God. The only thing that can separate us from Christ is unbelief and we have a promise here that God will shield us, protect us and sustain our faith. The God that loved us enough to send his Son to die for us is not about to let us go.
As Jesus says:
“My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.”
John 10 v 29
God the Father is greater than all. He’s greater than me. Therefore, I can’t snatch myself out of his hand. As Paul writes:
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
1 Corinthians 10 v 13
Why will no temptation be beyond what we can bear? Because God is faithful! Because he cannot disown himself. Because we are his and he will keep us for all eternity. I was tempted to give Christ up but God, in his power, protected me. And so I stand stronger than before. For having been brought to the point where giving up on God seemed like a good idea and finding that God held me close and did not let me fall then I go forth in greater confidence than before.
“And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
Romans 8 v 30
I stand on the rock of God’s sovereignty. Whatever comes my way in life I know that he will keep me. He will be faithful even though I may be faithless. He will protect me. God will grant me the strength to persevere. There may be other occasions when I am tempted to give up on God but in his mercy he will not give up on me. My salvation rests in him – he is my strength and fortress, my God in whom I trust.
“Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
Psalm 23 v 6