Have you ever asked that question? Is there one special matter you have been praying about for a long time, with no apparent answer in sight? Are there times when you wonder if the answer will ever come? Have you honestly done everything you know to do? Have you fulfilled every requirement of prayer? Have you wept, fasted, and fervently petitioned God in true faith? - And yet nothing seems to happen? If you must answer yes to all of the above questions, you are in good company. You are not some strange kind of Christian suffering chastisement from the Lord.
Resurrection from the dead is the "ultimate healing." I tried to share that glorious truth with the grieving parents of a five-year-old boy who had died just hours before of leukemia. They had begged God for the healing of their dear child. The whole church prayed earnestly. Friends had prophesied: "He will not die; he will be healed." One week prior to the little boy's death, the heartbroken father picked the fevered child up in his arms and walked him around the room. "God, I'll not give him up. Your promises are true. My faith has never faltered.
Is it possible for a Christian to stay clean and pure in a world filled with violence, immorality, and corruption? Or is it inevitable that the spirit of this age will wear down the saints of God and vex their souls? It happened to Lot and his family in Sodom, and it is happening to multitudes of Christians all around the world. The overwhelming temptations of this evil generation have already caused numbers of Christians to compromise and indulge in ungodly practices.
There is a fiery message burning in my bones. It is a message every Christian needs to hear, especially in this age of overpowering temptations and excruciating hurt.
The message I bring to you from the Lord is simply this: God has not forgotten you! He knows exactly where you are, what you are going through right now, and He is monitoring every step along your path. But we are just like the children of Israel who doubted God's daily care for them, even though prophets were sent to deliver wonderful promises from Heaven.
Sin causes Christians to become craven cowards who live in humiliating defeat. They can't stand up with courage against sin because of the secret sin in their own lives. They excuse the sins of others because of the disobedience in their own hearts and they can't preach victory because they live in defeat. Some of them once knew what it was like to live victoriously, taking vengeance against sin, having fulfilled Christ's righteousness in their own lives. They experienced the power, the courage, the blessings that come to those who are obedient to the Lord.
A sad young minister and his wife came to me for counseling recently. After four troubled years of marriage and two children, they were contemplating divorce. She was the saddest looking wife I have seen in years. Her husband, the young youth minister, stood nearby, shuffling his weight from foot to foot, while his teary-eyed wife sobbed out her confession to me.
It's very true that Jesus said to His disciples, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me." But Jesus could not carry His cross - and neither can you! Jesus fell under the load of His cross, weary, exhausted, and unable to carry it another step. John said, "And he bearing his cross went forth into a place...called Golgotha" (John 19:17). the Bible doesn't tell us how far Jesus carried His cross. We do know they compelled Simon, the Cyrene, to pick it up and carry it to the place of crucifixion (Matthew 27:32).
What would you think if our president, addressing the nation on network TV, confessed — "We really don't know what to do! Your leaders are confused, and we have no sense of direction." That would be some kind of speech. The nation would be convulsed with ridicule and scorn for him and all his associates.
I preach to thousands, yet there are times I feel so very dry - so far away from the warm presence of God. In these moments of dryness, I have no great yearning to read the Word - the reading of the Bible is done mostly through a sense of obligation. When I'm dry and empty, I feel little compulsion to pray. I know my faith is intact, and my love for Jesus is strong. There is no desire in me to taste the things of this world. It's just that I can't seem to touch God in those days and weeks of spiritual dryness.