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God is waiting for you to despair

From Watchman Nee's Sit, Walk, Stand.

"An engineer living in a large city in the West left his homeland for the Far East. He was away for two or three years, and during his absence his wife was unfaithful to him and went off with one of his best friends. On his return home he found he had lost his wife, his two children and his best friend. At the close of a meeting which I was addressing, this grief-stricken man unburdened himself to me. 'Day and night for two solid years my heart has been full of hatred,' he said. 'I am a Christian, and I know I ought to forgive my wife and my friend, but though I try and try to forgive them, I simply cannot. Every day I resolve to love them, and every day I fail. What can I do about it?' 'Do nothing at all,' I replied. 'What do you mean?' he asked, startled. 'Am I to continue to hate them?' So I explained: 'The solution of your problem lies here, that when the Lord Jesus died on the Cross he not only bore your sins away but he bore you away too. When he was crucified, your old man was crucified in him, so that that unforgiving you, who simply cannot love those who have wronged you, has been taken right out of the way in his death. God has dealt with the whole situation in the Cross, and there is nothing left for you to deal with. Just say to him, 'Lord, I cannot love and I give up trying, but I count on thy perfect love. I cannot forgive, but I trust thee to forgive instead of me, and to do so henceforth in me.'

The man sat there amazed and said, 'That's all so new, I feel I must do something about it.' Then a moment later he added again, 'But what can I do?' 'God is waiting till you cease to do,' I said. 'When you cease doing, then God will begin. Have you ever tried to save a drowning man? The trouble is that his fear prevents him trusting himself to you. When that is so, there are just two ways of going about it. Either you must knock him unconscious and then drag him to the shore, or else you must leave him to struggle and shout until his strength gives way before you go to his rescue. If you try to save him while he has any strength left, he will clutch at you in his terror and drag you under, and both he and you will be lost. God is waiting for your store of strength to be utterly exhausted before he can deliver you. Once you have ceased to struggle, he will do everything. God is waiting for you to despair.'

My engineer friend jumped up. 'Brother,' he said, 'I've seen it. Praise God, it's all right now with me! There's nothing for me to do. He has done it all!' And with radiant face he went off rejoicing."

4 thoughts on “God is waiting for you to despair

  1. Jeremy

    Thanks for this Glen,

    One question: how do you see this fitting in with a passage like Matthew 6:14-15? I'm not quite sure what to make of the passage myself...

  2. Glen

    Well Jesus can't mean verse 14-15 in an "if... then" causal sense or else every forgiving person merits salvation through their forgiving-ness. (We tend to over-read "if" language in the bible as though it were written by Aristotle and meant "if and only if...") But as a statement of fact it is very true: on the last day the forgiven folk will be the forgivers. How on earth do you become a forgiving person? Well Jesus tells a good story about that - Matt 18:23ff.

  3. WonVoice

    To further flesh out the topic of forgiveness, what does forgiveness look like? Is it the same as saying that the wrong done didn't matter? No, the cross says that wrongs matter. Does the person offended no longer hurt, if indeed, he has forgiven his "brothers" (assuming the offenders were fellow believers) "from the heart" as Matt 18:35 puts it in the NIV? No, he will probably still ache when he sees the wife and the two children with the former best friend at the market, as the past betrayal will be painfully reflected in the present circumstances as long as he loves his children. So, there is a place to grieve the losses anew and pray for the redemption of the perpetrators (Matt 5: 43-48) even as Christ has redeemed him, and know that he doesn't have to do anything more, because the Lord will accomplish what concerns him, and his betraying brothers. Psalm 138:8. Thank you, Glen, for raising this topic. It has helped me work through a personal issue where I was stuck "rehearsing" the offense!

  4. student ministry yorba linda

    What a touching story it is...really just love it.Sometimes we face such a situations in life that we can't handle our self we can't bare with that situations.but at that time we forgot about that Higher power and His messages.We forgot that He is there for us even this world is not with us.He is the power which give us hope and love to live the life..Really love love your post.i am so glad to found it.thank you..


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