What Will it Take for You to Walk Away from God?
By: Rev. Joe
Today is not going to be a large teaching of great revelation. No, I want to ask you one question. “What would it take for you to turn your back on God?” Maybe you have experienced that and have turned your back, maybe not. As I look at my life and the hardships from supposed brothers and sisters in Christ, who say they still love you but have nothing to do with you, I am filled with a sense of despair at their duplicity. But I am not going into all of that. What did it (or will take) take for you to turn your back?
When we look at Job we see that God allows Satan to take everything from him. His health, wealth, children and even his wife told him to curse God and die. His friends turned their backs on him and said he must be in sin because of the troubles he was going through (kind of like some Christians do to others today). Yet in all of this Job did not turn his back on God and continued to worship Him. This is a great example for us.
Though Job is a great example for us, I wonder what it would take for me (personally speaking) to turn my heart away from God. I often feel like Peter in John 6:68 (NIV) when he said, “. . .”Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” In every hardship I have suffered (thus far) this verse sticks in my mind and I am reminded that this life is only temporary and is fading like the grass of the field or a beautiful flower. One day I will be in God’s presence bowing before Him and crying with all of my might, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY! IS THE LORD! THE WHOLE OF CREATION WILL BE FILLED WITH HIS GLORY!” On that day all will seem insignificant.
I don’t know how I would react to losing my family, but one man in modern times wrote a beautiful well-known hymn called “It is well with my soul.” Here is his story. This story is tragic, yet faith building.
[This story comes from http://www.biblestudycharts.com/A_Daily_Hymn.html%5D
- This hymn was written by a Chicago lawyer, Horatio G. Spafford. You might think to write a worship song titled, ‘It is well with my soul’, you would indeed have to be a rich, successful Chicago lawyer. But the words, “When sorrows like sea billows roll … It is well with my soul”, were not written during the happiest period of Spafford’s life. On the contrary, they came from a man who had suffered almost unimaginable personal tragedy.
- Horatio G. Spafford and his wife, Anna, were pretty well-known in 1860’s Chicago. And this was not just because of Horatio’s legal career and business endeavors. The Spaffords were also prominent supporters and close friends of D.L. Moody, the famous preacher. In 1870, however, things started to go wrong. The Spaffords’ only son was killed by scarlet fever at the age of four. A year later, it was fire rather than fever that struck. Horatio had invested heavily in real estate on the shores of Lake Michigan. In 1871, every one of these holdings was wiped out by the great Chicago Fire.
- Aware of the toll that these disasters had taken on the family, Horatio decided to take his wife and four daughters on a holiday to England. And, not only did they need the rest — DL Moody needed the help. He was traveling around Britain on one of his great evangelistic campaigns. Horatio and Anna planned to join Moody in late 1873. And so, the Spaffords traveled to New York in November, from where they were to catch the French steamer ‘Ville de Havre’ across the Atlantic. Yet just before they set sail, a last-minute business development forced Horatio to delay. Not wanting to ruin the family holiday, Spafford persuaded his family to go as planned. He would follow on later. With this decided, Anna and her four daughters sailed East to Europe while Spafford returned West to Chicago. Just nine days later, Spafford received a telegram from his wife in Wales. It read: “Saved alone.”
- On November 2nd 1873, the ‘Ville de Havre’ had collided with ‘The Lochearn’, an English vessel. It sank in only 12 minutes, claiming the lives of 226 people. Anna Spafford had stood bravely on the deck, with her daughters Annie, Maggie, Bessie and Tanetta clinging desperately to her. Her last memory had been of her baby being torn violently from her arms by the force of the waters. Anna was only saved from the fate of her daughters by a plank which floated beneath her unconscious body and propped her up. When the survivors of the wreck had been rescued, Mrs. Spafford’s first reaction was one of complete despair. Then she heard a voice speak to her, “You were spared for a purpose.” And she immediately recalled the words of a friend, “It’s easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God.”
- Upon hearing the terrible news, Horatio Spafford boarded the next ship out of New York to join his bereaved wife. Bertha Spafford (the fifth daughter of Horatio and Anna born later) explained that during her father’s voyage, the captain of the ship had called him to the bridge. “A careful reckoning has been made”, he said, “and I believe we are now passing the place where the de Havre was wrecked. The water is three miles deep.” Horatio then returned to his cabin and penned the lyrics of his great hymn.
- The words which Spafford wrote that day come from 2 Kings 4:26. They echo the response of the Shunammite woman to the sudden death of her only child. Though we are told “her soul is vexed within her”, she still maintains that ‘It is well.” And Spafford’s song reveals a man whose trust in the Lord is as unwavering as hers was.
- It would be very difficult for any of us to predict how we would react under circumstances similar to those experienced by the Spaffords. But we do know that the God who sustained them would also be with us.
- No matter what circumstances overtake us may we be able to say with Horatio Spafford…
- When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul!
It is well … with my soul.
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
How about you today? Maybe you are walking away from God, but He is waiting. What will you do? The choice is yours.