I want a greater confidence in the Lord.
I shouldn't publicly say that because I know that growth is by trial. My flesh doesn't want trial, just growth. I feel like this summer I have had enough trial.... I have even caught myself whining much more than I like to admit. But what if the Lord would grant me the faith of Paul? What if he would take all the years that I rebelled against him and all the suffering I have been through and turn them around to be used as a catapult for giving me a greater confidence.
Listen to a testimony from the book of Acts.
Paul and Silas would walk a certain path as they were going to pray every day and they always passed the same damsel who had the spirit of divination. ~she was a soothsayer and the man who owned her was rich because of it. As she passed Paul and Silas she would cry "These men are servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation." day after day.
One day the bible tells us that Paul was "grieved". He had listened to her declare her faith all this time and yet her soul was not free. So he turned to the unclean spirit and commanded it to come out of her and leave her alone. It did. And the damsel's owner was very unhappy because now she was worthless to him.
The owner then took Paul and Silas before the magistrates. The magistrates had them publicly beaten and thrown into prison. .....Now at this point I am certain I would have been sitting in that jail cell questioning God's motive for me.... "Uh...Lord? What did I do? You didn't want her soul or what???"
But not Paul, he was confident that he was walking the right path. He sang and prayed and then... the prison bars flew open. Paul was free to walk away. But Paul didn't flee. Part of me thinks he wanted to see the look on the guards face. Needless to say the guard and all his house "got saved." It's true, you can read all of this yourself chapter 16 verse 14-40. He was saved and baptised. Then after his conversion the guard put his money where his mouth is so to speak he took them home, fed them, bound up their wounds and cared for them. Then they do the craziest thing... Paul went back to prison.
What happens next just makes me smile. The magistrate sent a private word to the guard "Let those men go." Can you see the guard so happy ~running to Paul saying "You're free!"
And Paul leans back against the wall, maybe stretches and says "They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? Nay, verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out........."
Can you see the guards face... man? have gone daft? you're free!... but Paul waits, they will have to come and remove him publicly if they want him gone. What more could the magistrate do but humble himself to go to the prison and remove Paul?
Such Faith! Such Spirit! Such confidence in God's provision. He stood before Satan as a gladiator in the ring calling "Bring it on, Boy!"
He was beaten and imprisoned and it seemed all without cause. But God was using it...using him... to save sinners, mortify evil and in the last verse we read to comfort the brethren. If my suffering would accomplish even a tittle of that, it would be worth it.
I want that perfect peace, I want that perfect confidence. Today, I cannot list the beasts I face, that will have to come later. All I can say is~ I must be feeling my oats. I have begged the Lord to stand with me and if you were listening hard you may just have been able to hear........ one woman's heart stopping, gut wrenching whisper...........bring it on...............