My whole Christian life I have struggled with a dilemma: I cannot wholly conquer my sin; I cannot even go a day without sinning; therefore; what right do I have to ask anything of God? Why should He answer my pleas? What would make me think that God would grant me a miracle? And this time on pre-field has only exacerbated the issue. I know that I am totally dependant on God’s provision, but still, I do not feel that I am worthy to ask for it. So, I have been stuck here: wanting to exercise huge faith and yet, scared to try since I am undeserving. And into this ‘dark night of the soul’ God graciously spoke to this issue through a journal entry of Hudson Taylor’s*. Perhaps it will ease your soul as well.
I strove for faith, but it would not come; I tried to exercise it, but in vain. Seeing more and more the wondrous supply of grace laid up in Jesus, the fullness of our precious Savior, my guilt and helplessness seemed to increase. Sins committed appeared but as trifles compared with the sin of unbelief which was their cause, which could not, or would not take God at His word, but rather made Him a liar! Unbelief was I felt the damning sin of the world; yet I indulged in it. I prayed for faith, but it came not. What was I to do?
When my agony of soul was at it’s height, a sentence in a letter from dear McCarthy was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed to me the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never known it before. McCarthy, who had been much exercised by the same sense of failure but saw the light before I did wrote, “But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One.”
As I read, I saw it all! “If we believe not, He abideth faithful.” I looked to Jesus and saw that he had said, “I will never leave thee.” I have striven in vain to rest in Him. I will strive no more. For has He not promised to abide with me- never to leave me, never to fail me?
Nor was this all He showed me….I saw not only that Jesus will never leave me, but that I am a member of His body, of Hid flesh and of His bones….it is a wonderful thing to be really one with a risen and exalted Saviour, to be a member of Christ! Think what it involves. Can Christ be rich and I poor? Can your right hand be rich and your left hand poor? Or your head be well-fed while your body starves? Again, think of it’s bearing on prayer. Could a bank clerk say to a customer, “It was only your hand, not you, who wrote that check;” or, “I cannot pay this sum to your hand, but only to yourself?” No more can your prayers or mine be discredited if offered in the name of Jesus (i.e. not for the sake of Jesus merely, but on the ground that we are His; His members) so long as we keep within the limits of Christ’s credit – a tolerably wide limit! If we ask for anything unscriptural, or not in accordance with the will of God, Christ Himself could not do that. But, “if we ask anything according to His will…we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.”
I am asking God to move the hearts of His people to provide us with the support we need to leave for Portugal at the end of August; God has assigned us to Portugal, it is part of the good works He planned for us before we were born, and now, I am asking that He get us there to begin that work.
*Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret by Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor excerpts from pp. 160-162