Erasing The Interrogation Marks
Life is full
of mysteries. There are many things we wish we might
understand. It would be much easier to go happily upon life's
way if we could understand everything that happens to us, and
if we could see our way before us.
ask questions. We all wonder why some things occur and what
they mean. But some of us are more given to asking questions
than others. Some put a question mark after everything. We
have pointed out in the previous chapter some of the questions
commonly asked. Many people form the habit of being uncertain.
They cultivate indecision so it is hard for them to make up
their mind. Following this year after year increases the
uncertainty of their lives. They are never quite sure about
things. There is a lack of that positiveness that gives
shall we overcome that uncertainty ? First, we must set
ourselves to the task of breaking ourselves of the habit we
have developed. That is not easy, but it is possible. We
should form right habits of thinking; we should look upon
things from a reasonable standpoint. We should not look upon
people and circumstances, and everything about us, as enemies.
We should not live in a defensive attitude. We should not
believe that everything we attempt to do will turn out bad,
nor that everything is against us.
majority of things in life are in our favor. God created our
environment, speaking in a general way, and he did not make
that environment an always hostile environment. It is true
that there are many obstacles in life, many unfavorable
influences. But the helpful things are more numerous. The
influences for good are ore prevalent than are the evil
influences. This is true wine' we hold the right attitude
ourselves. God wants us to get the interrogation marks out of
a great many things.. He wants us to know definitely our
relations to himself. He wants us to have an inner
consciousness that these relations are acceptable to him. He
wants us to hare a religious experience, with such a basis of
certainty that it brings to us a constant assurance of
a consciousness of God's fatherhood. Many know from an
intellectual standpoint that God is their father, but they
cannot realize it. They hope he is their father. In a way they
believe he is their father, but ten it comes to having the
inner satisfaction of realizing the relation of sonship to him
they know little of hunt To them it is not a practical thing.
imagine God is ready to cut them off from himself for any
little trifling deviation from propriety. Their life is
influenced more by fear of God than by lore of God. If they
have a consciousness that there has been something in their
life worthy of reproof they count themselves estranged from
God. All their joy is gone. Their attitude toward themselves
and toward their relation to God is well illustrated by
something woman said to me recently. These are her words, "If
had to ask the Lord to forgive me, I would think I would have
to get justified and sanctified over again."
really our Father? Would he so readily break those tender ties
between his soul and ours and cast into outer darkness even
tho we had been overcome some sudden temptation, if we had in
weakness yield to something without intent to offend him? Most
of have experienced times when we felt God's disapproval for
something. We recognized that we were in fault. As soon as the
thing was done or said we immediate l felt a pang of regret.
To a certain extent such thin l may make a breach between us
and God, but this breach is only partial and may at once be
take the right course God is ready to forgive I He is ready to
repair the breach, to restore the interrupted flow of
fellowship. Experiences such as this a not interruptions of
the Christian life; they are mere regrettable incidents in it.
Those whom God cuts o are those who turn away from him, those
who in spirit rebel against him.
in the attitude of the will toward God. Man times things are
done that need repentance of a certain sort which because the
will has not turned away from God, do not result in one's
being cut off from God. Perhaps we have all heard teaching of
such a technical nature that it made a person either a
Christian of angelic character and deportment or else a sinner
rejected of God. Between these two there is a great middle
ground. None of us are too angelic, but at the same time we
are not servants of the devil. Between these two extremes lies
a great range of human experience in which men walk with God,
their heavenly Father, guided by his justice, but overshadowed
with his mercy.
times in life we think some strange thing has happened to us.
We have experiences we cannot understand. Perhaps many of us
have not learned God's method of dealing with his sons and
daughters sufficient to understand that it is not his
displeasure that is being manifested but his hand of
discipline. He has loved us with an everlasting love. That is
not a love that can be easily broken. God's acts flow out of
his love toward us. That everlasting love manifests itself in
everlasting kindness. Jer. 31: 3 says, "I have loved thee with
an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I
God's attitude toward all his children, even those who have
faults and shortcomings. God does not expect us to be as wise
as he is, nor to exhibit the same power in our life, nor to be
always as perfect as he is ID our conduct. He does expect us
to do right. He does expect us sincerely to try to please him.
But he does not expect us to be free from blunders, mistakes,
weaknesses, and those frailties that are commonly found in
humanity. We should not excuse ourselves in doing anything
improper. If we do so he will not excuse us. But with loving
mercy he draws us back to him. As it is written, "As a father
pitieth his children so the Lord pitieth them that fear him."
That pity manifests itself in his longsuffering, his tender
mercy, his ready forgiveness.
thing very difficult for many people to learn is that the
chastening rod of God is applied in love, not in anger. We are
told that God "scourgeth every son whom he receiveth," and
that that scourging is the proof of our sonship. So often
people are inclined to take it as an evidence that they are no
longer sons. They look upon it as a mark of God's disapproval,
o' even of his anger. We are told that his chastening is for
our profit. He does it not for his own pleasure, but that we
may be made better by it. It is a mark of his love. He says,
"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten" (Rev. 3 :19). Read
Heb. 12: 5-13.
carefully God's attitude in his chastening. We are all ready
to admit the truth of the eleventh verse which says, "No
chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but
grievous." None of us like to be chastened, but yet that is
necessary; out of it come the fruits of righteousness. When
the Lord chastens us, therefore, let us bear it with meekness.
Let us profit by it. Let us not be grieved and discouraged.
The Lord says, "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down,
and the feeble knees" (vs. 12). You can understand what that
means. It means—stand up like a man. Do not bow down and
tremble for fear. And he adds, "Make straight paths for your
purified in the furnace. It is not destroyed; it is made the
better by the flames. You and I must pass through the furnace.
The purpose of the furnace is that we may be purged from our
dross, that we may be refined, that we may be rid of
grossness, that we may be made more spiritual. Does the gold
ask, "Why hast thou put me in the furnace?" If you and I have
to pass through the furnace of affliction or sorrow, of losses
or failures, let us submit ourselves to the hand of God Let us
not question his mercy or his goodness; neither let us
question ourselves. Let us endure as "seeing him who is
invisible." Let us trust his hand, and trust his love. Let us
not fear that we shall be destroyed.
often endure the chisel of pain as God carves in us his image.
We desire to be in his image. We desire to be godlike in
character. Remember that God hurts only to heal. Like the
surgeon he does not hurt willingly, but only of necessity. We
have read of the balm of Gilead, but of what use is that balm
until we are hurt? There would be no such balm were there no
hurts in life.
knows there are things that will hurt us. He knows that
sufferings of various sorts are inevitable. He knows that we
shall bring upon ourselves by lack of wisdom or carefulness,
or by lack of understanding, or in other ways, many things
that are hard to endure. But he would not have these things
unduly trouble us nor make us feel that he has become our
enemy. He would have us ever to recognize that he is our
tender, compassionate Father. He would comfort us in our
troubles as a mother comforteth her children. In our times of
trouble he would not have us run from him nor shrink from his
presence. He would have us run into his arms and tell him all
our troubles, our questionings, our heartaches. He would have
us so to trust him that the interrogation-marks would be
Christians are always on the defensive. They are always facing
an enemy either without or within. Their lives are a constant
battle with them selves, a struggle to repress something. They
are constantly harassed lest they do wrong or feel wrong, lest
they be deceived, etc. They are a prey to apprehensions. They
are constantly trying to strengthen themselves in an attitude
of resistance against something. They hold themselves under a
strain. They are constantly troubled over things that God
would not have them be troubled over. Instead of living thus
God wants us to live positive lives, to be on the offensive,
to be victorious. He desires us to be courageous, confident,
serene, and without anxiety, conscious of divine help.
open-hearted God is a fountain of power. He would have our
hearts open to receive his power. He would not have us trust
in self but in his sufficiency of grace and power for our
every need. He would have us constantly believe that in any
situation that may arise there will be no lack of what is
necessary to make us overcomers. By believing this, and acting
as tho we believe it, we shall be overcomers. We shall rid
ourselves of many of life's question-marks. Some of them will
remain to eternity, but many of them need trouble us no
longer. Those that cannot be removed need not darken our
lives. Trusting him we can go onward, singing the glad song
that flows from the sense of his Fatherhood and