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God-Shivers: the Handicap of Faith

17 Jul

I don’t think I was very old in the Lord miracle[1]before breathtaking things started happening.  Prayers were answered in ways that sent chills down my spine.   The Spirit provoked me to do ‘crazy’ things and incredible things happened.   I would go to my Bible and say, “Lord I need a word on….”, open my Bible and find something staring back at me so pointed that it would make me cower.  At times during worship I felt like I was on the edge of a trance and afraid He would make a spectacle of me. I felt His presence.  Saw His presence through events.  I had dreams.  Demon possessed people fled from me holding their ears when I proclaimed the truth.  I saw provision come when there was none to be found.  I snuck Bibles into Communist countries without incident.

It was all so exhilarating…and real.   It was exciting!  I woke up in the morning wondering what I would encounter next.

I’m ashamed to say that at some point the rush of the experience had purpose in itself.   My walk felt validated by what was outwardly happening.   I inwardly looked forward to the next ‘miracle’ like experience.  I liked my exciting life with God.

My focus subtly shifted from serving God to looking for His miracles and comforts. During this time, I thought that the closer I walked with Him the more consistent these amazing things would occur.  If I lived ‘this’ way, God would do ‘that’.

God showed me much of the realities of the spiritual life as a newbie and I cherish each of those instances.  But, as you know, only the wicked want to be entertained with the Vegas show of God.  Only unbelievers need to see signs and miracles to know He is in their midst.  Me, the new believer, so fresh out of the gates, had to learn that I was in the presence of God even when the bush never lit fire...I had to learn to know He was there by faith.  I also needed to stop relying on experience as a way to escape the tediousness of the mundane.

So God taught me that.

And for years I didn’t like it.  It felt cold.  I feared I was straying, that I was back-sliding, that I was becoming luke-warm towards God.  Heaven was quiet and I felt alone.  Why was I abandoned?  Why didn’t He do anything?  How did I screw it up?images[9]

It wasn’t just for a few weeks, or months.  He became quiet in my life….for a very, very, long time.  I still knew His presence but it wasn’t adorned with things I could see, feel or sense.  I knew it through faith.  Much of my walk during this time was done through sheer conviction and determination of mind to follow.  To believe in Him even if He appeared to fail me.

Must something stir us to experience it?

Of course not.  We can experience both the magnificent sunset and the crazy, boring drive through parts of the U.S. Midwest.  We experience both but one we enjoy, the other we do not.  We naturally run after things that titillate us and make us feel alive.   It doesn’t seem worth running after the mundane.  Why bother with the cake when there is frosting to be had?  Who chooses school over a field trip?   Living out our faith though is often a mundane experience.  It plods along and every day it grows quietly stronger.

I, like all of you, love the God-shivers.

Rejoice in those moments when God powerfully moves and you ‘see’ Him.  Rejoice, but keep it from becoming your focus, or you will handicap your faith like I unwittingly did at first.  Perseverance in faith is the only way we become strong and resilient.  We must learn to stand in naked faith, without the props of experiences, and become comfortable with the mundane.  When one has learned to walk in the quiet they also learn to hear God in the quiet. 

An unbeliever can see God in the apocalypse;

the believer sees Him when He doesn’t move.

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27 Comments

Posted by on July 17, 2013 in Spiritual Growth

 

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27 responses to “God-Shivers: the Handicap of Faith

  1. kingintraining

    July 18, 2013 at 12:46 am

    This is so true, His miracles are so outstanding, we easily fall into the trap of wanting to have them 24/7…it kind of becomes an idol I guess..?

     
    • Kris

      July 19, 2013 at 11:13 pm

      I suppose it could become an idol. I have run across people who feed off of these type of things, who are always looking for the magical breath of God in things, which is unfortunate but I understand why it happens. There is much more security and peace when it is found in knowing versus waiting for daily confirmation through signs. Glad to hear from you!

       
  2. Heidi Viars

    July 18, 2013 at 4:08 am

    a very timely reminder for me today (almost a miracle 🙂 ) … I just returned from a visit with an unbeliever … I prayed for/with her … I know He hears … no matter what happens! THANK YOU for this post today!

     
    • Kris

      July 19, 2013 at 11:17 pm

      I do not know who ‘she’ is, but I prayed for her today and encourage anyone else who reads this to do the same. Thank you Heidi for stopping by and encouraging me!

       
  3. Brenda Hendricks

    July 18, 2013 at 6:15 am

    Thanks for this post. I have been in that quiet place for many years and do wonder what I’ve done wrong, less frequently than at first, but still I wonder. It’s comforting to know others have gone through it and come out with a stronger faith.

     
    • Kris

      July 19, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      Brenda, there was a time I felt sorry for believers when they walked through the season you are now experiencing because I didn’t much care for it when I walked through it. Today though, I truly do see these patches of life as essential to our growth. It is because God loves you and is committed to making you a solid ‘plant’ who can live in faith despite the conditions that you must walk through this.

      Consider it a challenge or a test (think Job)…that thought helped me. Will I hold the banner of my king high only when he is at my shoulder or will I do it when he is in a distant land too? My battle cry, though sometimes weak and gasping during this period, was FAITHFULNESS. I will be true no matter what. Hang in there, it will pass.

       
  4. lessonsbyheart

    July 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Thank you for bringing balance to our walk with Jesus. He was upset with the people of His day, stating that “a wicked and perverse generation seeks a sign.” I love God-shivers as much as the next person – and those times have been highlights, to be sure; but if I gauge my walk with Him based on woo-woo experiences (or the lack thereof), I’ve given the enemy a lot of opportunities to stir up doubt. No thanks!

    May the Lord’s face shine brightly upon you this day, and give you peace,
    \o/

     
    • Kris

      July 19, 2013 at 11:39 pm

      Tami, that verse was ringing in my ears as I wrote the post. I can attest to your point about gauging our walk by the amount of “woo-woo” experiences. Doing that inevitably creates doubt in our minds about His presence and our standing.

      BTW, I JUST finally figured out what your \o/ stands for….Lord, I am desperately slow. Thanks for stopping by!

       
      • lessonsbyheart

        July 19, 2013 at 11:53 pm

        Sorry – I usually add an explanation to it…
        \ 🙂 /
        Praise Jesus!

         
  5. adelineoh

    July 18, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    That was me once upon a moon. It was a side of God I had not seen or experienced before and it was what made me long to seek after Him. I would not discount it as a bad experience because it showed me how supernatural God is and not a boring ol’ fuddy duddy half asleep in a church pew. However, like you, Kris, He also taught me that plain ol’ walking with Him on a daily basis through flat prairie roads with no new excitement in sight is also part of an experience with Him. I’ve learned to base my life on His Word and applying it. Believing in miracles, but not having to live from one miracle to another. Loving the “highlights” with Him but also cherishing the mundane routines. The thing is we try so hard to box Him up into experiences we know;or experiences we can explain or not explain away; but He has so many facets to Him that we need to stop looking at just one angle and enjoy the entire walk with Him as He shows us each and every angle of Himself when He wants to. Love this post! It’s so relevant.

     
    • Kris

      July 19, 2013 at 11:47 pm

      I caught a post of yours recently that mentioned living in the mundane and I smiled because I knew at once that if you had learned to do that you were the mature Christian I thought you already to be. Great comment!

       
      • adelineoh

        July 20, 2013 at 12:07 am

        Once we walk in gratefulness to the King, everything is a blessing.

         
    • Kris

      July 19, 2013 at 11:58 pm

      Adeline….thank you for honoring me with this recognition…..and thank you because though you did not know it, after I wrote this last post I became discouraged and confused about the point of blogging and was considering leaving the blog world. Thanks to you, I might have a few more posts in me.

       
      • adelineoh

        July 20, 2013 at 12:06 am

        Kris, you write insightful posts. You know that if you have been honoring God with your blog, then you know that the thoughts about not blogging anymore and not sharing things that God shows you, is to paralyze you and keep you silent. If you are silent and are not sharing things of God, then, the one who is out to rob, steal and destroy from you has succeeded. Ask God if He wants you to leave the blog world. If He does, then do it. If not, stay put. Many blessings to you Kris!!!

         
  6. justhappeneduponthis

    July 20, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    A very honest reflection. In the first love we are tremendously relieved of sin and looking for revelation and power. Periodically He will tantalize us and then remove the hocus-pocus to see if our love is the real thing and not just a sweaty search for tinsel treats. (I am in no way minimizing the gifts of the Spirit). We come to realize that the real power comes from compassion in the likeness of Jesus, and that that can be learned in no other way than through setbacks and persecution (2 Timothy 3: 12)

     
  7. Kris

    July 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Doug, I just loved the way you worded part of your comment – “just a sweaty search for tinsel treats”. I wish there was a more ‘fun’ way to grow deep but there isn’t. I’m glad that even though ‘fun’ and ‘exciting’ aren’t always ways we can describe our walks, “joyful” is always possible to use. Blessings.

     
  8. Unshakable Hope

    July 23, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Thank you so much for your honesty! I think everyone that’s walked with the Lord for years can relate to this post. Like marriage (I’ve been a Christ follower for 30+ years and married for 27+ years), our relationship with Christ changes; on some level it’s less exciting, but in other ways it’s so much better, it’s deeper, more secure and just more comfortable!

     
  9. Kris

    July 23, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Marriage is an excellent analogy to our walk! It may be less exciting but the simpleness of it brings a steadiness to our lives that is very difficult to explain to someone who has not experienced it. It is real, deep, abiding, present, secure, comforting, grounded….it is better in the way age is better than youth. Great connection!

     
  10. adelineoh

    August 9, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    Was thinking about you today and wondering how you are as you haven’t appeared in my reader for a long while. Hope you are well.

     
    • Kris

      August 9, 2013 at 11:38 pm

      Adeline, this so odd, but not less than 5 minutes ago, I was telling a friend of mine about you. She is going to the DR for 27 months and I thought it would be neat if the two of you could meet.

      I have been pretty quiet because my life is crazy lately. Our home is up for sale and we are trying to move to another city. Add a dash of family drama and a parent who is gravely ill, and I have found it hard to be alone with my thoughts. I am working on a post I’m very excited about but I just can’t seem to find an extended period of time to finish it. Hopefully this week it will surface.

      Thanks for touching base with me. Unless I face a sudden move, I hope to be more consistent in the fall. I hope all is well with you too, and when I get back to reading regularly, I’ll catch up on what I have missed.

       
      • adelineoh

        August 10, 2013 at 11:30 pm

        Glad to know you are doing ok, even if there are many things happening all around you. It’s hard when a loved one is ill; praying for you for strength to deal with all of this. I’d like to meet your friend, but it depends on where she will be in the DR. What would she be doing here when she comes?
        Do take care and hope you get to have some R&R sometime this summer.

         
  11. lessonsbyheart

    September 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Hi, Kris. I read this post again today…and still really like it. 😉 May I reblog on Sunday?

    Thanks,
    Tami
    \o/
    Praising Jesus who is Eternal LIfe!
    PS How’s life going? A little calmer, I trust.

     
  12. lessonsbyheart

    September 22, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Reblogged this on Lessons by Heart and commented:
    It’s easy to get caught up in emotionalism, but much of Christianity is lived in the trenches…not just on the mountaintops. Enjoy this well-balanced article by Kris. \o/

     
  13. Prodigal Chick

    September 22, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Oh how I relate to this! What a truthful and comforting message. You are so right, it is the silent times, the mundane times that we are intimately close to God even though He is quiet. That is very truly when we become strong in our faith and know in whom we have believed. Awesome post right here!!

     
    • Kris

      September 24, 2013 at 11:25 pm

      I think every believer can relate to this frustration. If one hungers for God they will get bent out of shape at some point when He doesn’t appear to be apparent. I think it is a beautiful thing that God makes us look deeper, past the surface of experience and into His existence as our source of strength. God bless!

       
      • Prodigal Chick

        September 25, 2013 at 5:29 am

        Yes it is!!! God bless you too!!

         

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