Where Sense Ends, Faith Begins
I offer this post with thanks to God for the glories of His redeeming love evidenced in the life the Qualls family, who lost their beloved daughter “Dimples” to heaven December 27, 2014. One Thankful Mom has been a fixture in my sidebar since I opened this blog and many of you know the Gospel story God has played out in their family story over the years.
I want to let you hear from Thomas Case, a 17th century English Puritan pastor, who wrote the words below while in prison in 1652. Like the Qualls, Case learned these truths about God’s sovereignty by living them. I share them with love to the Qualls in tribute to the God who made Dimples, who ordained her days, and whose face she is now beholding, no longer in a mirror dimly, but now face to face.
The purest acts of faith are put forth in the dark.
Faith is at its greatest strength when it cannot see, for it has nothing to stay itself but upon God. Man must first see the insufficiency of what he sees before he can believe in the all sufficiency of that which is invisible. It is harder to live by faith in abundance than in want. The soul is a step nearer to living on God when it has nothing to live upon but God. Faith’s triumph lies in the midst of despair. Where sense ends, faith begins. When God pulls away the bulrushes of creature supports, the soul must either sink or swim.
….God teaches us the necessity of a life of faith through these earthly disappointments. O bitter disappointments with no faith to support it!
Faith is never disappointed. God is always better than our expectations. He only lives an unchangeable life that by faith can live in an unchangeable God.
Often we trust totally in the earthly, knowing no other life but sense and reason. We seek to patch up a life between faith and sense which is not a life of faith at all. We do not live at all by faith if we do not live all by faith! Though we use means, we must trust God and trust him solely.
To bring us to this, God allows us to become tired of secondary causes [the means to achieving an end] and turn to Christ. We never resolve exclusively for God until with the prodigal we are whipped home stark naked to our father’s house. There is no help in the best of men. Alas, he is but a little breathing clay. Trust in God is the only way that is able to make a man happy. Can anything be too hard for a creating God? Men may prove unfaithful, but God will never prove unfaithful. The soul that comes to see the excellence of a life of faith, will be kept in perfect peace because his mind is stayed on God.
….God can raise the dead and conquer the greatest difficulty. He that can put life into a dead man can put life into dead hopes and raise up our expectations out of the very grave of despair. God that can put life into dead bones can put life into dead faith! Even those who have been given the largest proportion of faith and courage are suffered to languish under fears and to despair under insurmountable difficulties so they can recover holy confidence in God.
We are proud creatures, full of self-confidence, and so God by strange and unexpected providences hedges up our way with thorns, brings us to despair even of life, bereaves us of counsel, brings us under the very sentence of death that we might not trust ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. He overturns us by despair. He shows us what babes and fools we are in ourselves, that in our future hazards and fears we might know nothing but God!
Thomas Case 1598-1682. A Treatise on Afflictions (1652), excerpt from Part I, Lesson 11. Banner of Truth edition When Christians Suffer (2009), Richard Rushing, ed., p. 32-35 & 39-40.