I wanted to share a short testimony of the Lord's work in my life.
I'd like to start by sharing the worst day in recent memory. Here is what I wrote down in my schedule. I got up, and I read my Bible. I read a martyr biography. I had a brother come over and we had a very nice time of fellowship together. Then I got to make breakfast for my family. On my way to work, I called a loved one who is having a hard time. We had an all team meeting at work, and I made what felt like a very meaningful contribution. Then I was teaching a class, and I had a great class. Then I had a nice workout and went on a quick run. Later, I had a workshop in the city and afterwards, the CEO of the company followed me to the parking lot to thank me personally for the workshop. I had dinner with my family and afterwards, I put the girls down for bed.
Why do I call this the worst day?
At the end of the day, my wife and I sat down on the couch to reflect on the day. She asked, “How was your day? Do you feel like the Lord helped you? Or did He ask you to depend on Him?”
It was at that moment I realized that I had a perfectly fine day living by my own strength, and thought, “Today was a failure. I need to repent right now." I was listening to sermons and reading my Bible, but I never actually cast myself upon the Lord. I lost my sense of need for Christ, and my enjoyment of Him, by not casting myself upon Him. If I have a day where I can just kick back and have no needs, then that day is an absolute failure.
The Best Days Aren't Filled With Blessings and Ease
Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.” And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. – Exodus 33:12-15
Moses' example is incredibly challenging: he tells God that he'd rather stay in the wilderness with God than enter the promised land without Him. Moses knew that the wilderness with God is better than the promised land without God. Moses loved God's presence most. He loved it more than the Promised Land and more than anything else. Moses was willing to live for the rest of his life in the wilderness if only God would promise He'd stay with him. That is the heart I want to have.
If we’re not careful, we can be indifferent to whether God is with us, as long as everything is going well. Sodom's downfall was in her abundant food and careless ease (Ezekiel 16:49). We're in such danger of being oblivious to our need for God when we have careless ease. I want the Lord to do whatever He needs to do to keep me aware of my need for Him.
The Best Day Is A Day In God's Presence
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. – Mark 1:9-12
I can't think of anything better than this – being filled with the Holy Spirit and reminded that the Lord’s pleased with me. Then the very next verse, it says the Spirit impelled Jesus to go into the wilderness! It's the Holy Spirit's desire to lead us into the wilderness and to comfort and strengthen us there. I don't think being sent by the Spirit into the wilderness suddenly made it a "bad day" for Jesus; the best days are days where we spend time in the wilderness, sustained by the Lord.
The best days are when every circumstance drives me to the Lord, and I find Him more trustworthy, faithful, loving, and wise. The worst days are days where I am oblivious to my need for the Lord. These seemingly bad days give my faith the chance to grab hold of His Word, and to draw near to Him in need (Hebrews 4:16), which results in the reality of a transformed life. The danger of careless ease is that all my good theology can remain theoretical, rather than reality.
May the Lord do whatever it takes to deliver me from that sense of needlessness.