This excerpt comes in response to my Aunt Betty’s question to me as to what I was going to do for Lent.
AM: I’m going to try doing what you’re saying about going into “Praise God Anyhow” when adverse things come up.
Betty: That, in itself, would be a marvelous fast that at the end of Lent could leave you much freer as a person. Now you do know that as you take it as a practice, the Lord allows things to happen.
AM: Well, maybe I won’t do it then.
Betty: No, see that’s where you have to get stronger. Take a look at that. The voice that said that, tell me about the voice that said that.
AM: It’s not very faithful, but it’s also that I don’t want bad things to happen.
Betty: Okay. So, it’s a nonbeliever. It’s a bit of the mocking spirit. In other words, “Oh, God can’t handle that in me.” See you can’t afford to go into that place of weakness anymore. You’ve got to give that up. If God is God, and if He said all these things, you’re really falling down at the feet of unbelief, aren’t you? You are mocking, in a sense, that even though you’re Christian, you’re saying, “Oh well. I don’t want to have this happen.” Don’t sell out that easy, just because it’s hard to be a Christian. It’s like, “I’ll think about something else, so la tee da.” No. Come out here and face the music, and let the strength of God reveal Himself oh ye of little faith.
AM: I know. Grrrr.
Betty: No. See, that’s what I’m saying to you. It is not to put you down, but really to help you to see how you get caught. I think it’s valuable to catch yourself in these places where you’re selling out. And right there, it was like, “Oh yeah, if God’s going to allow it to happen, then forget it.” No. It has been my experience that when I need to learn something, God presents me with opportunities to learn it. Has that been your experience? If we are giving our will to God, what is expected of us?
AM: We’re going to die to self.
Betty: So, in the light of this, what is expected of us?
AM: We’re going to be tested.
Betty: And we’re expected to stand there and know that God is with us and go through it. Right? We don’t say, “Forget it.” Seriously, I want you to think about that reaction, because that reaction was worth gold. It lets you know, “Oh, that’s what I do.” That’s a valuable lesson of what the unbeliever and the ridiculer do in you. It’s not only your unbeliever, but there’s kind of a mockery in the fact that you don’t believe God can change this in you.
AM: I know I can get discouraged, because sometimes I feel like, “Wow, am I really even moving forward, because I see all these things.”
Betty: Whose problem is that? God called you to die to your own will and to let Him live through you. He’s got a problem to get that done. Your job is to surrender and let Him do it. You acknowledge, “Yes, Lord that’s me. Oh my gosh.” See that humble, contrite spirit, the Lord does not despise. “Oh yes Lord, here I am. I’m trying to run inside.”
AM: Even though I’m doing what you’re telling me to do, it’s been harder.
Betty: In some way it’s, “God, it’s your problem. My heart is willing, but Lord I really need your help. You can see I’m stuck here.” Stop trying to save yourself and let God do it, because you’re not doing a good job. So, you might as well just give up and let God take over. Denial is the real problem. When you deny, it’s like, “Everybody else has got the problem, not me.” That’s when you’re really in problems. Hold yourself up to the Lord, and ask Him to help you let go of anything you’re holding on to that’s keeping you from being able to sleep. Yeah, I’m getting it is trust. So, in the areas where you don’t trust God, you get anxious. “Lord, help her more and more, with your grace, to be able to let go and to trust You.” And remember, I am not focused on you giving up coffee for Lent. It’s more of the inner stuff that’s important. So, if that coffee helps you to endure, go for it.