Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Shut Up to Faith

You need to know something as you face the struggles of each day—God has not abandoned you. You may feel like He’s shut you out, but what He’s really done is “shut you up.” In your moments of utter helplessness, it’s the hard places in life that threaten to destroy your faith which are used by God to strengthen it. You want a way out . . . He’s making a way through. You crave comfort and He brings you to the Cross. You know the place:

There is sickness, but no healing.
You’re faithful, but others betray you.
You hope, but all hope seems gone.
You give to God and others, but you lose everything.
You love, but find hatred greeting you at every corner.
You’re afflicted in every way, but there’s no deliverance.
You call out to God, but there is no answer.

Though we’re tempted to believe that God has abandoned us, nothing could be further from the Truth. We’ve declared that He’s destroyed our faith, but what He’s really done is “shut us up” to our faith, He’s brought us to the Cross . . . where all hope seems gone, but Redemption is sure. It’s the place where God’s greatest works are done. Though our faith seems crucified, God’s merely working out His plan. He’s working within us, dissolving our doubts and whittling down our worry. He’s “shutting us up,” until all we can do is “look up.”

“But before faith came,
we were kept in custody . . . ,
 being “shut up” to the faith
which was later to be revealed.”
Galatians 3:23 (NASB)

It’s through our efforts to prove God that He works to prove us. Through our struggles, He’s taking us through successive levels of faith, where He is more confident in our faith than we are . . . He leaves us “shut up to faith,” with nothing to give us hope, but His Word.

Like a child learning to walk, He’s removed all the props holding us up. There’s no evidence that He’s there, there’s no proof that He cares, there’s no rewards and no intervention when we start to fall. He has prepared us to walk on, to continue to trust—through our fears. Though your faith seems to be failing, it is really growing. God is strengthening your faith by asking you to walk upon it. It’s in your darkest moments that God is “proving you.” (And you thought you were proving Him. LOL)

“ . . . and there He proved them.” 
Exodus 15:25 (ASV)

God is proving you by shutting you up in the testing room of faith. It’s hard there. You’re not sure you’ll pass . . . you wish you had studied more. Anxiety overcomes you as you realize that you simply weren’t prepared for the test—there are too many multiple choice questions, and your enemy is out to trick you. And there’s no help. You’re on your own. Or are you? When you’re “shut up to faith” . . . stuck with hard decisions, not sure which way to turn, and all hope seems gone, remember one thing and one thing only . . . God is with you.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 
Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)

Never means never. Don’t be deceived about your faith. God is taking your faith places you never knew it could go. He’s proving you, so that you are strengthened for the rest of the journey. You used to look for feelings or tokens for your faith . . . things other than the Word of God, but He’s developing a faith in you that isn’t dependent upon what you see. He’s transforming your faith and perfecting it (see Hebrews 12:2). When the storms of life come crashing in, when you’re stuck in a desolate desert, when you’re weak and weary and have no strength to carry on, know that God may have “shut you up to faith,” but He’s shut you in with Himself. He’s with you. He wants to help you work through your faith, so that it might be complete . . . ready for anything.

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine.” 
1 Peter 1:7 (NLT)

“Endure until your testing is over. 
Then you will be mature and complete,
 and you won’t need anything.” 
James 1:4 (God’s Word Translation)

The trials of your life are the testing grounds. Allow God to do His work in you. When you’re “shut up to faith,” know that you’ve been brought to the Cross. Deliverance is at hand. You won’t be able to go through it alone—you’ll have to do it in Christ’s strength, not your own. It’s the very reason God has shut you up to faith—He’s showing you that when you’re in need . . . He is all you need.


Fliterary said...

Love this, Cherie! Amen!!!

Kathy Schwanke said...

Oh my! I have been there! Great post! I just blogged a funny story about my kids, when I left them to fend for themselves when they were in a bind...before I went to help them out. I believe the 20 minutes I waited to go help them was beneficial to them somehow. I think that is how God works when we "are in a bind" and He seems to be distant. I went through a VERY dark time and actually felt/ feared being "cut off" from Him. Now, 10 years later, I look back and He is right there. I gained spoils from that warfare that God uses continually. I am {oddly} grateful for that time in the wilderness.
Love your words Cherie!

Denise said...

Oh Cherie, it seems that life is a roller coaster of emotional ups and downs, and regardless of what inner strength we may possess there are times when these attacks wear us completely down. This is where our journey of faith starts; we must understand and be assured that God loves us and will stand by us in the good times and the bad! :) Great post!

Blessings and hugs,

Just Be Real said...

Cherrie, I needed these comforting words that God does not abandon us. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Amen Sister!! Boy, do I need to shut-up & BE STILL! LOVED this reminder & encouragement that God IS WITH ME. Thank you for encouraging me to continue the journey & allow God to strengthen my faith :) Blessings!

Kendra Quilts said...

Double Amen!! Wonderful Cherie!! Thanks so much! God bless your precious heart! Love Kendra

Cherie Hill said...

Sisters, you are beautiful.
Stopping by to visit each one of you.
Kendra, paying you a visit through email. Wow you are a blessing to me today!
In Him,

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I am so blessed that you would take the time to share your thoughts with me! You encourage my faith and I pray that God will fill you to the full with His love, mercy,and grace! With joy, Cherie

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