“Problems should make us run to God, not run from him.”
So I wrote to Darrin a few days ago. His wife has cancer. His mother-in-law, not the meekest of people, has been living with them for months, to lend a hand. His life is topsy-turvy.
And he’s quit meeting with the saints. He says he needs some time to think.
So I told him this was time to cling to God.
In a symbolic act, the Lord told the prophet Jeremiah to buy a new linen loincloth and wrap it around his waist (Jeremiah 13). Scholars are not sure if this was a linen belt or waist cloth. In any case, it was a piece of garment placed closely about the body.
Then he was to take it far away to the Euphrates and hide it in the cleft of a rock.
After many days, the Lord told him to go back and get it. When Jeremiah dug it up, it was ruined. Good for nothing.
The lesson: “Even so I will spoil the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem” (verse 9).
And then the clincher: “For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen” (verse 11).
Just as Jeremiah’s loincloth found its use in clinging to the body, so God’s people are useful to him when they cling closely to him. To cling to God means to live intimately in his presence and participate in his character and purpose.
Contact and intermingling with the world spoils his people so that they become useless to God.
Whether it be carnal temptations or painful adversity, every experience should lead us to cling more closely to the Lord, rather than distance ourselves from him.
That’s what I wanted Darrin to understand. And what I need to remember as well.
After all, that’s what we were made for!
The flowers of spring may wither, the hope of summer fade,
The autumn droop in winter, the birds forsake the shade;
The winds be lulled, the sun and moon forget their old decree;
But we, in nature’s latest hour, O Lord, will cling to Thee!
–Reginald Heber, “When Spring Unlocks the Flowers”
Every experience should lead us to cling more closely to the Lord, rather than distance ourselves from him.
J. Randal Matheny
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