Today Liberty had a convocation speaker who spoke on persevering through those times in life when you experience suffering or unexpected moments that test your faith (what the speaker called “ouch” moments). During the wrap up of his sermon he challenged the student body to persevere through those moments and for whomever will accept the challenge to stand up. The Vines Center was then filled with students everywhere.
I was already standing because I was sitting on the concrete steps and I had to stretch my legs in the back but I should have sat back down. That’s a challenge and oath I am uncertain of persevering through. Let me clarify. Perhaps this is unhealthy, but I imagine and play scenarios in my head all the time and I think about death quite often. Just earlier this week I was going through hypothetical situations of losing a loved one. I would ask myself what life would be like if my soon-to-be wife were to die or my father, mother, or any of my brothers. It would be nice and ideal to say that I would freely persevere and understand the joys of the moment and circumstance, but I don’t know how I’ll react.
I know this is headline news, but humans are emotional beings and Christians continually disobey God all the time. I resist God’s work in me and I suppress his witness, hence my continual sin. If I were to experience the death of a loved one, the suffering of a loved one, my suffering of cancer or disease, I don’t know if I’ll be joyfully content with those circumstances. I could turn against God and become apathetic. I may run to alcohol to drown my emotions or other outlets. I don’t know. My faith is not strong enough to guarantee that I not have a knee-jerk reaction to circumstances. I’m being honest here and I would encourage you to see if you have knee-jerk reactions in your every day living. Do you ever feel like cussing or getting angry in the heat of the moment? Or do you stay content and collected? Alright, now let’s extrapolate this on a larger macro scale. Maybe you’ll see what I’m getting at here.
I don’t believe I’ll ever lose my salvation but I am an emotional being. My rebellion and resistance to God are all emotional. This situation and thought experiment has given me a greater appreciation for the need to love God with all my mind. I can resist God and turn from him, but it is only momentarily. I’ve never been able to imagine my emotions overcoming my reason and sound reason will always persevere through emotions [in due time]. The intellectual aspects of my faith will open my heart back up to the Holy Spirit and it will flush out my resistance. My intellect won’t bring me back to God in these times but it’s a catalyst God will use to accomplish his goal of pursuing me every day.
So, can I take the challenge of persevering through every moment? I would like to say that I can and will, but I cannot guarantee that. I can try, and with God’s help perhaps I can do that. In the mean time I will need to pray for God to saturate my mind and heart in him so I won’t lose my way back to the faith if it ever does happen. If I’m going to persevere in the faith I’m going to need God’s preservation.