“Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”
From time to time, God presents us with some very valuable insights relevant to those situations in our lives that either empower us or hinder us from doing the work He has purposed for us to do. This little revelation is one such enlightenment that I pray will help to shed some light and resulting comfort to those of you that may be experiencing what I only just recently discovered about myself.
In recent months, I started to recognize that my private times with God were becoming increasingly more challenging. I reasoned that nothing had changed in my daily routine; there was (in no particular order) the daily reading of inspirational writings from the likes of A.W. Tozer and C.H. Spurgeon; Scripture readings (usually from the Psalms); several minutes of praise and worship; a period of reverential silence; and a lengthy period of personal and intercessory prayer. But something was changing; the comforting presence of God that had so easily expelled the presence of the flesh in the past, was now becoming distant and difficult to raise.
My mornings would see me enter my prayer closet only to find myself unable to utter a single word. I would open my mouth only to discover that I was spiritually mute, left standing at the threshold of grace with nothing to say. And each time this would occur, I knew that the problem lie not with God, but with my own prohibiting silence. Instead of boldly entering in (Hebrews 4:16) as I had grown so accustomed to doing in the past, I now found myself anxiously suspended just outside the door, paralyzed in reverential pause waiting for an atmosphere of prayer to develop.
In closer evaluation, I began to notice that I was not awakening with the same sense of the presence of God that I had enjoyed the night before. And it didn’t seem to matter how powerful the outpouring was from the Holy Spirit the day before; or how much I was able to accomplish under His anointing; with the dawning of a new day came the return of what I can only define as “a veil of separation.” It was as if something had slipped in unnoticed in the night, producing a wearisome weight upon my ability to commune with God.
Growing continually worse, I felt stalled in a mire of bewilderment and internalizing doubts. I wondered if there was something wrong with my Christian walk; perhaps an unrepentant sin; a missed leading of the Holy Spirit; or a recent incident of maligning or unforgiveness. Whatever it was, I knew that something had gone terribly wrong and must be repaired soon!
As a confirmed creature of habit, I amaze myself sometimes at just how naturally we all seem to rely upon our routines. We often embrace these routines with such dependency, that the very thought of change or abandonment is met with a fervent outcry of resistance or outright defiance. Then there are those routines that inhabit our subconscious and only present themselves when they are discovered to be counterproductive to the natural course of our human or spiritual development. Even then, the prospect of removal is likely to be met with stiff opposition.
It was the discovery of my own routine that finally brought some much needed light to the darkness and confusion of my situation. What the Holy Spirit ultimately made clear to me was, that I was guilty of violating one of the great principles of Christianity. As my personal life had become more challenging, I had allowed my Adamic life to breach my spiritual life. In other words, my problems were leaking into my time with God. And the interesting thing about this breach is that it occurred so gradually that I didn’t notice it until my spirit man finally stood up and cried “enough!” This is the principle that I was guilty of breaking:
2Corinthians 5:7: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
Like Moses removing his sandals, I had let the concerns of this world soil the holy ground of my communion with God. The cares of this life had found their way into my heart, and into my prayer closet. When I started bringing my troublesome thoughts to bed with me at night, they would still be there the following morning contaminating my intimate time with God.
To ride out an intense problem that was tormenting our lives, I had purposed in my heart to embrace the commandment of Christ that instructs us to take no thought for tomorrow (Matthew 6:34). But as the circumstances surrounding our situation continued to take one bad turn after another, I found taking one day at a time a very challenging vow to keep.
As things got worst, I found my spiritual stamina beginning to wane; the continual loses to the enemy were like war wounds leaving their scars on my weakened constitution. The affront growing against my faith found me confessing words of spiritual affirmation on the outside, while inwardly I was beginning to question my trust for God’s deliverance.
To better acquaint you with the difficulties surrounding our life and to perhaps give you some better insight as to the underlying cause of my diminishing trust; I would like to share a little bit about the problem I referred to above. If interested, you can read more at “Our Story”.
There is no good age to be robbed of all you own, but when your last birthday turned the corner at three score, the last thing you want to discover is that you have become the victim of real estate fraud; leaving you holding the mortgage on a home that is officially appraised as having zero value; and your life savings stolen with no chance of recovery.
Fighting back depression and despair, my wife and I tried desperately to understand the omniscient hand of a sovereign God that would allow such wickedness to run unchecked against His elect. One of the Old Testament stories that kept ministering hope to Netty and I was that of Joseph and his reunion with those brothers that left him for dead many years earlier.
Genesis 50:20: “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”
The life we were creating held the promise of a bright future. We were whole-heartedly committed to building a full time ministry to provide spiritual food to the brethren, and food for the body to those in need in our surrounding community. We launched our web site called “Wholly Sanctified”, and later began what was to be a modest source of retirement income called “Humble Acres Miniature Donkey Farm.”
All was going according to plan; the web site was up and ministering to dozens of visitors daily; we became involved with a local church that had a food ministry to the poor; and we had our seed stock of two jennies and one sire that would later grow to five donkeys as my wife and I helped deliver two new jennies into our little family. I was working daily on writing a book to men and penning articles weekly for our web site; while my wife spent about half of her day on the web site, and the other half caring for the needs of her miniature donkeys. Working hard all of our lives and now advancing into our senior years, we felt such an overwhelming sense of joy in watching our dreams finally become a reality.
Now everything is gone. The donkeys were donated to a loving family, and all of our possessions were liquidated at an estate sale (including my wife’s wedding ring). And for the last three months we have been living out of a 12 year old, 26 foot travel trailer, with less square footage than our former garage. We have been forced to sleep in truck stops, freeway rest areas, and Wall Mart parking lots. We are currently trading our daily labor as “work campers” for water, power and sewage; and our truck that we use to pull our little home with is quickly approaching repossession. And as strange as this may sound, my wife and I have never known greater faith in God than we do now!
Our Heavenly Father is a great economist, using the adversity of our situation to bring about growth in the realm of faith and humility that goes beyond the ability of mere human words to convey. I have come to better understand the sufferings of Job; a “blameless and upright man” as so acclaimed by God Himself, yet subjected to unimaginable affliction under no fault of his own. What God had in mind for Job would finally be unveiled in the final chapter of the Book bearing his name. Following a virtual avalanche of catastrophic events that left Job completely devastated, he finally learned something of God as well as of himself. It was this acquired knowledge that caused Job to move from knowing a great deal about God, to actually knowing God Himself!
Job 42:5: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.”
I often wish there was a chapter 43 in the Book of Job, because it doesn’t tell us what Job did with this newly acquired knowledge, or how God used him to fulfill His great design and ultimate purpose for his life. Like Job, I now feel as if I have passed from merely having knowledge about God to having a familiarity that goes far beyond anything that could ever be experienced through study alone.
Now that you know a little bit more about our story, I will get back to the topic at hand. As my wife and I struggled to stay afloat, I was trying desperately to maintain a positive outlook as the loses continued to mount all around us. Holding God to His promises, I continued to believe that His divine justice would soon deliver us from the hands of our enemies. I began to post Biblical promises around my study area, often stopping to meditate on one particular passage out of Luke:
Luke 1:71-75: “That we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to our father Abraham: To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.”
This was our dream from the beginning, to serve God in holiness and righteousness for the remainder of our appointed days. Rehearsing God’s promises daily, I maintained my full regiment of prayer time, continued my studies into the writings of the old saints, and continued work on my book. This was my routine dutifully followed without interruption, even in the face of overwhelming circumstances that placed our lives at the very brink of homelessness and financial ruin.
What I failed to realize however in the midst of all my positive thinking, was just how much our situation was sorely impacting the core of my spiritual health. As I continued my daily routine, my spirit man was concurrently perishing of starvation. Being held hostage to a habitual routine that denied him the presence of his Creator, my spirit man was forced to sit idly by as his host went about his business never aware of the compromise that was slowly coming to a spiritual boil. God had become just one of the many inactive parts of a routine that was at last running on nothing but instinct.
The course of events from beginning to end surrounding our real estate fraud case ran three years almost to the day. The only possessions dear to our heart that we absolutely refused to part with were our precious pound puppies. Both about three years old now; Duke is a cross between a Yellow Lab and a German Shepherd; and Dixie is a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Collie; as best as we can make out. The four of us have become “very close” in our new home, giving thanks daily for the food and shelter that God so graciously provides.
Philippians 4:11-13: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The web site is still up and I continue to do my best in penning an occasional message of encouragement to the brethren. I pray that the lessons learned throughout all of this has caused my Adamic man to be so overwhelmed that he never raises his anxious head again. I am once again back to embracing my bedrock Scripture of living one day at a time, with every hope that God will one day (in this lifetime or the next) restore all that was lost. I no longer harbor any worry for tomorrow, but wake each day to the same Heavenly Father I faithfully served the day before. My “veil of separation” followed my worries into oblivion, buried forever in a graveyard of fading memories.
Throughout this time I have come to better understand the true nature of Christianity. It is a nature that flies in the face of everything the world holds to be valuable and necessary for happiness. It is the very nature of Christ; the very essence of meekness, holiness and righteousness; and transcends man’s ability to grasp the overwhelming glory of it with his finite mind. Left to mere words and feelings, man will always be frustrated in his search for God. Only when he fully surrenders to the Master’s work of putting to death the old man, will the new man be finally conformed into the image of Christ and thus find peace in communion with his God. (1Thessalonians 5:23-24) and (Romans 8:28-29)
In the end, it would be the intercessory groaning of the Holy Spirit; and the prayers of my High Priest that would finally reveal the truth of my problem. As I prostrated myself in complete humility and child-like candor, my veil was removed, and my resulting time in prayer and fellowship with God has far exceeded anything that I have known in the past. The final solution to my problem did not lie in the execution of some dogmatic routine, but in trusting God to do that which comes so naturally to His divine nature.
In the Garden, it was Adam that broke fellowship with God. It was God’s great delight to stroll and commune with Adam in the cool of the day, a habit that would have continued indefinitely were it not for Adam’s disobedience. The next time that you feel your own veil of separation inhibiting your time with God; search your heart, and remember that it was God who came looking for Adam; not the other way around! Rest, pray and obey, and depend on the faithfulness of your Heavenly Father to come looking for you!
Genesis 3:8-9: “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’”
In His Service,
A thought from “The Root of the Righteous” by A. W. Tozer:
“At the risk of being written off as an extremist or a borderline fanatic we offer it as our mature opinion that more spiritual progress can be made in one short moment of speechless silence in the awesome presence of God than in years of mere study. While our mental powers are in command there is always the veil of nature between us and the face of God. It is only when our vaunted wisdom has been met and defeated in a breathless encounter with Omniscience that we are permitted really to know Him; when prostrate and wordless the soul receives divine knowledge like a flash of light on a sensitized plate. The exposure may be brief, but the results are permanent.”