UPS AND DOWNS
BY: FRED PRUITT
SEPTEMBER 8, 2002
“The last three years or so have been filled with confusion for me. I read the scripture and do not comprehend one word and the times that I do comprehend they are just as quickly forgotten. So Sunday evening I said Father if Your Holy Spirit does not make real in and to me Your written word and the FACT that Jesus IS my Life I will by Faith stand and say it is TRUE no matter what how it appears. If it is Your desire Father for me not to open my mouth concerning you then so be it!
“Haven’t I written to you about this before now? How I just want to throw every book, Bible, tape and conference out the window and at the age of 65 just STOP everything. Is this self-pity? Is it complaining to my Father? Is it comparing myself with others? Questions, questions always questions. Maybe the HS will give you insight to what I am going through and you can share the light.”
Your first paragraph sounds like me. What you describe is often my experience. I really don’t know what we expect this life to be. Do we think Christ living in us is going to make us some “holy” person, untouched by life, moving as if through the air without emotion or concern, always serene and joyful in the Spirit? Always knowing what to do in every situation, never to feel doubt, never to feel apart from God? I have not found it to be so. I’ve been at this my whole adult life, and I’m now 51. You’d think if it was gonna settle in (and all my problems solved) it would have happened by now! One of the most heartening things I’ve ever read, was something out of Stewart Dinnen’s book, “Faith on Fire,” I think it’s called, about Norman’s WEC days. Stewart said he asked Norman (Rubi) one day after a meeting, “Rubi, are you always on top of things?” Rubi answered, “Stewart, some days I just get though by the skin of my teeth.” That’s probably the thing I loved most about Norman, was that he was so magnificently human!
I know you know what faith is, because you describe your living faith to a “T” in your paragraph. You ARE living your faith! But let me give just a little comment on Heb 11:1, THE faith scripture, because this “insight” into its meaning that I had one day changed the whole face of the universe for me.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The “faith” you describe that you are standing on IS the SUBSTANCE ITSELF of those things you long for. That “faith” does not come from you! It comes from God, who is IN you, and IS you. You would not be able to write to me and tell me you’re “standing” on the facts of Who you KNOW you are – UNLESS you already knew in the depths of your spirit the Truth! The very fact that you stand on it beyond your human capability PROVES its validity, that it is the FAITH OF GOD working in you, and that very faith IS SUBSTANCE – i.e., the Reality of God working in you. The second part of the scripture is an extension of the meaning of the first part. Faith is EVIDENCE that GOD IS, and that HE IS in YOU!
Now, as far as reading the Bible and not “getting anything,” well, that sounds to me like you’re saying, “I don’t feel spiritual.”
SO WHAT? Who cares? Since when did God need you “feeling spiritual” or “enlightened” or “knowledgeable” or ANYTHING ELSE OF YOU? You said the right thing, dear, when you said “If it is Your desire Father for me not to open my mouth concerning you then so be it!” That’s the BEST thing you could have ever said! I wish more people would decide to not open their mouths unless God does it!
You exist to be an empty place for God to fill. You have no permanent knowledge of your own, no insight, no understanding, except whatever the Spirit imparts in the present moment for the needs of the moment. You’re like a riverbed, through which a river flows. The riverbed doesn’t decide the rate of flow of the water, nor even its own course. The water flows of its own will through it, and revises the course of the river as it sees fit.
You are not your own! His Life is your life. Therefore He MEANS your life in this world to be exactly as it is, because you MUST be human! You MUST feel what everybody else feels! It’s not for YOU, but for them! How can you comfort someone unless you’ve been comforted with the same comfort? And it’s FAITH we learn to walk by, not by our understanding or knowledge. We are to ALWAYS “trust in the Lord God with all [our] heart, and LEAN NOT unto [our] OWN understanding.” So if the scriptures are dry to you, very well, say to God, “OK Lord, I’m getting nothing here today, and I trust YOU in it! You have promised NEVER to leave me or forsake me, and there I stake my life! It’s YOUR ballgame, Lord!”
Now, the second paragraph above, where you talk about throwing out everything, Bible, tapes, magazines, etc., I’ve been there – AND DONE THAT! I understand, dear, more than you know.
You ask if you’re a complainer? Read the Psalms. Was David a complainer? “Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest,” wrote David in Psalm 55. How often we’ve all said that in one way or another! It’s NORMAL! It’s HUMAN, and GOD wants us to BE human!
We MUST feel the negative, because that is what gives the strength to our faith. Others all about you experience all the same negative feelings and emotions that you do, and most of them probably cannot find the “solid rock” inside themselves that gives them a firm foundation. And that’s where you are different, because you “know Him Who is from the beginning” and that is NOT an “outer” knowing, but inner consciousness, which is beyond the level of our conscious everyday working mind. You feel the winds and the rains and the floods, but you KNOW the ROCK within, and there YOU ARE STANDING! And believe me, that “standing” make you like a tree planted by the water, which comforts all the creatures of God around it.
How true the song is:
“ON CHRIST THE SOLID ROCK I STAND
ALL OTHER GROUND IS SINKING SAND.”
So, I find nothing “wrong” with what you are describing your life to be like. Sounds par for the course for me, a “normal Christian life,” to borrow from Watchman Nee. It “feels” up and down, but that’s just temporal soul stuff. You KNOW the truth, in the SUBSTANCE of your faith, and GOD is walking HIS Life out in you in your world and being Himself to everyone around you, and He doesn’t even require of you that you know that when He’s doing it! You just BE! God does the rest. He’s responsible for the whole lot! Everything!
So PRAISE HIM for the rough times! Shout and rejoice! Why? You know the answer – because faith tried in the fires comes out a pure shining gold.
God bless you, dear.
All my love,
UPS AND DOWNS [Fred Pruitt] 9-8-02 1