Lord, I Have Served You, So Why?

by | May 27, 2001 | Discipline, New Life, Spiritual Growth, Trials

When I was a pastor, a sharp, fourteen-year-old young man who was well respected by his friends and leaders was in the youth group. He was a good student and an accomplished athlete. Zealous for the things of God, the young man served faithfully and volunteered for every project. He took a missions trip with us, witnessing to almost everyone he met.

At one point in his life he spent four hours a day in prayer. He heard many things from the Lord and shared them with others. What he shared was always a blessing. He acknowledged his call to the ministry and wanted to be a pastor before the age of twenty. He seemed to be an unshakable rock.

I loved this young man, recognized the call of God on his life, and invested my time in him. I had only one concern: He seemed to have too much confidence in himself. I wanted to say something to him but did not have a release to do so. I knew a change would come. He weathered some tough storms and yet stayed strong. Sometimes I questioned my discernment as I saw him endure severe trials.

A few years passed. He moved, and I began to travel full-time. But I kept in touch with him. I knew he would go through a breaking process. Since it had to take place, I had no idea what would happen but realized it was necessary for him in order to fulfill his destiny. This would be a similar process to Simon Peter’s sifting.

When this young man was eighteen, his father contracted incurable cancer. He and his mother fasted and prayed, believing that his dad would be healed. Others joined with them as well. Only months earlier his dad had committed his life to the lordship of Jesus.

The father’s condition grew worse. I was ministering in another city in Alabama when my wife called, urging me to telephone this young man. I reached him and could see he needed someone to encourage him.

I drove all that night after my last service, arriving at his house at four in the morning. His father’s condition was so severe that the doctors gave him only days to live. He could not even communicate.

The young man was confident that his dad would rise up healed. I ministered to the family and left several hours later. The next morning we had a call saying things had taken a turn for the worse.

Lisa and I prayed immediately. As we did, God gave my wife a vision of Jesus standing by this man’s bedside ready to take him home. Thirty minutes later the young man called and told us his father had passed away. He seemed to be his same strong self. But that was only the beginning.

That night he called some of his close friends to tell them his father had died. When they answered the phone, they were crying. He wondered how they had already heard the news. But they hadn’t heard. The tears they were crying were for one of his best friends who had just been killed in an accident. In one day he had lost his father and a very good friend.

The shaking had begun. He was bewildered, frustrated, and numb. The presence of God seemed to have eluded him.

A month later, driving home, the young man came upon an accident which had just taken place. He had had emergency medical training and stopped. Everyone in both cars was a close friend of his. Two died in his arms while he was trying to help.

My young friend had reached his limit. He spent three hours in the woods praying and crying out to God. “Where are You? You said You would be my Comforter, and I have no comfort!”

It seemed as if God had turned His back on him. But this was, in fact, the first time his own strength had failed him.

He became angry with God. Why had He allowed this? He was not angry at his pastor, his family, or me. His offense was with God. He was consumed with frustration. God had failed him in his hour of greatest need.

“Lord, I’ve served You and laid many things down to follow You,” he prayed. “Now You have abandoned me!” He believed God owed him something for all he had given up to serve Him.

Many people have experienced hurts and disappointments that are less extreme and some that are more. Many become offended with the Lord. They believe He should take into consideration all they have done for Him.

They are serving Him for the wrong reasons. We should not serve the Lord for what He can do but rather for who He is and what He has already done for us. Those who become offended do not fully realize how great a debt He has already paid for them to be free. They have forgotten from what manner of death they were delivered. They see through natural eyes rather than eternal.

This young man stopped going to church and started running around with the wrong crowd, frequenting bars and parties. In his frustration he wanted nothing to do with the things of the Lord. He wanted to avoid any contact with God.

He could not keep up this lifestyle for longer than two weeks, for his heart was deeply convicted. But he still refused to approach the Lord for six months. Even then the heavens seemed to be as brass. The presence of the Lord seemed nowhere to be found.

Over a year had gone by. Through several incidents he saw that God was still at work in his life. He approached God, but now it was different. He came humbly. After this time of trial was over, the Lord showed him how He had never left him. As his spiritual walk was restored, he learned to put his confidence in God’s grace, not in his own strength.

I kept in touch with him. A year and a half later he told me things he had seen in himself that he never knew were there. “I was a man without character and shallow in all my relationships. I was raised by my dad to be strong outwardly, a self-made man. I could never have grown the way God wanted me to. I am thankful the Lord did not leave me in that condition.

“But what grieved my heart the most was not running around in bars and drinking. It was that I turned my back on the Holy Spirit. I love Him so much. My fellowship with Him has never been as sweet as it is now.”

A lot of shaking occurred in his life. Self-confidence was eliminated. But this young man had the foundation that Simon Peter had, and it could not be taken away. Instead of building his life and ministry through pride, he is building by the grace of God.

Offenses will reveal the weakness and breaking points in our lives. Often the point where we think we are strong is our place of hidden weakness. It will remain hidden until a powerful storm blows away the cover. The apostle Paul wrote, “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3 italics added).

We can do nothing of eternal value in our own ability. It is easy to say this, but having this truth deeply rooted in our being is another matter.

Bevere, John. The Bait of Satan. Lake Mary, Florida, Charisma House, 1997, p. 95-98 www.charismahouse.com


Lord, I Have Served You, So Why?