Last week we learned that in the midst of our worst
fears, God NEVER sleeps! If we don't sense His presence,
then our job is to exercise our faith, to stand firm
that He is right there and He already has everything
under control. He's already prepared the way out. Our
confidence can be such that we can figuratively "sleep"
through these hard times.
But there are times of intense fear when God doesn't hear our prayers. Jesus experienced this on the cross when He cried out, "'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?'-which means, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'" (Matt 27:46 NIV)
Ps. 22 gives us more insight into what Jesus was feeling when He was on the cross: "Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent." (Ps 22:1-2 NIV)
Why would God, in the direst moments of Jesus' life, abandon Him?
The Bible gives us a clue in Isaiah 59:1-2: "Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear." (NIV)
Now Jesus was without sin (1 Peter 10:22). But when He hung on that cross, every sin that ever was, and would be, committed hung on His innocent body: "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness …" (1 Peter 2:24-25 NIV)
At that moment in Jesus' life, He carried the weight of all the guilt, all the crimes, all the transgression, all the wrong of this world, and this is why Jesus could not feel God's presence! There was too much of our sin separating them!
Friends, there are times in all of our lives when we feel separated from God for the exact same reasons: There is sin in our lives!
This doesn't mean that we have sinned every time we feel far from God. Far from it. And I'm not necessarily talking about unintentional sin, about the things in your lives that God hasn't yet revealed to you. We all have that kind of sin hanging around. But there are times when God has convicted us of sin, and we choose to ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It is during these times that we stay God's hand. Should this situation arise, believe me, you will know what is separating you from God!
So what do we do in times like this?
First and foremost, it is important to confess our sin. We are told that if we do, "… he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9 NIV)
But what then? So often after we've confessed, we continue to feel like we're in the dark!
Let's look to the perfect Example, Jesus Christ. While He hung on that cross, bearing all of our sins, while He felt so totally abandoned by His father, the Psalmist records His thoughts: "Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed." (Ps 22:3-5 NIV)
While Jesus was carrying so many of our sins that He felt separated from His life line, He chose to remember the deeds of the Lord. He chose to give God praise!
Jesus continues, as recorded in Ps. 22: "Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast … I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help …" (Ps 22:9,10, 22-24, 29-31 NIV)
Friends, we are called to follow His example: "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." (1 Peter 2:21 NIV)
Therefore, when we find ourselves in the midst of terrible fear, and we realize that there is unconfessed sin that is separating us from God, we must confessed our sin. Then we must continue to place our trust in God, ever having faith in our deliverance!
Once again, the key to freedom from fear lies in faith! Unwavering faith in the almighty, all powerful, all knowing God, even when He feels like He's far away!
But aren't there times when we don't have sin separating us from God, yet when we try to break free from fear by taking a stand in faith, and we still waver? What then? Join us next Saturday for FREEDOM FROM FEAR, Part 6: When Circumstance Looms.
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org, with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org.