Faith is to believe Him at His word. Believing comes through the dismay of having everything else once believed in stripped away time and again. He is jealous of anything that may come before Him in my life.
At the beginning of our life with Jesus Christ, we were sure we knew all there was to know about following Him. It was a delight to forsake everything else and throw ourselves before Him in a bold statement of love. But now, we are not quite so sure. Jesus is far ahead of us and seems different and unfamiliar— “Jesus was going before them, and they were amazed” (Mark 10:32).
There is a particular facet of Jesus that chills even a disciple’s heart to its depth and makes his entire spiritual life gasp for air. This unusual Person with His face set “like a flint” (Isaiah 50:7) is walking with great determination ahead of me, and He strikes terror right through me. He no longer seems to be my Counselor and Friend and has a point of view about which I know nothing. All I can do is stand and stare at Him in amazement. At first, I was confident that I understood Him, but now I am unsure. I realize a distance between Jesus and me, and I can no longer be intimate with Him. I have no idea where He is going, and the goal has become strangely distant.
Jesus the Christ had to fully understand every sin and sorrow that human beings could experience, which makes Him seem unfamiliar. When we see this aspect of Him, we realize we really don’t know Him. We don’t recognize even one characteristic of His life, and we don’t know how to begin to follow Him. He is far ahead of us, a Leader who seems totally unfamiliar, and we have no friendship with Him.
The discipline of dismay is a necessary lesson that a disciple must learn. The danger is that we tend to look back on our times of obedience and our past sacrifices to God to keep our enthusiasm for Him strong (see Isaiah 50:10-11). But when the darkness of dismay comes, endure until it is over. Out of it will reach the ability to follow Jesus indeed, which brings an inexpressibly incredible joy.
Faithful one: This is a letter-reminder to me. I hope you may glean something from it, also.
Believe Him in the darkest hours. See His faithfulness emerge rock solid. Now we see His truer essence. Now we know faith in our Savior – from faith to faith. Joy! Things take the time they take. ~G.W.