By Dr. Donald Whitchard
What I’m about to present in this column is a confession that, if we’re honest, is something that every child of God has experienced. Even the most devout of us who serve Him have what I refer to as a “dark night of the soul”, where it seems that, in the rising evil that plagues this world, it seems as if serving God and being faithful to Him is a fruitless exercise with no real purpose or meaning in doing what seems to be His will in making His love and compassion known to an increasingly godless world. I must confess that I’m going through this journey of doubt and frustration. I’m not giving up on my love for the LORD, but there are some things that have quite frankly bothered me and I can’t keep a stiff upper lip and brush it off with a simple prayer or thought.
I think about the obvious frustration that our Lord Jesus had with people who did not or would not understand the lessons He taught. He knew that many who followed Him were there just to see a miracle or express interest in a new thought or consideration of the nature and being of God. Certainly the Pharisees were not willing to lay aside their pride and self-centeredness and lack of opening their minds to the truth that the LORD is not interested in how one kept the Law of Moses, but how much one is devoted to the person and characteristic of the God who created and loves them. If our LORD were merely a man, I am sure that He would have given up on everybody and went back home to Nazareth and resumed His trade as a carpenter, oblivious to the march of history. To Him, trying to educate a bunch of religiously blind people and show them a new relationship with God was an exercise in futility. That is, if He were just a man.
The pages of Scripture and His own testimony show us that the Lord Jesus was all God as well as all man. He knew that there would only be a handful of people who would understand His desire to demonstrate the reality and power of the sovereign God. This is why He quit teaching obvious truths and resorted to speaking in parables. If someone were honestly seeking God out of all the people who heard Him, they would seek Him out and inquire about the nature of the story and its meaning. A student who is hungry for the truth will do everything within his power to get at the heart of the problem and not be satisfied until he discovers the solution that will not just increase his knowledge, but will enable him to grow emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually, equipping him to handle other problems that will challenge him as life progresses. The accumulation of facts alone only makes one adept in games of trivia and does not help that person to grow as he should when facing the issues of life.
In examining the pages of Scripture, we detect that God wants us to know all about Him as He allows. Deliberate ignorance of the things of God are in essence, an act of disobedience and are a source of self-centered arrogance. Worst yet is the adding of our own thoughts to the canon of Scripture, believing that our thoughts are on a par with the word of God.
This is the issue that the apostle John fought when he came across the heretical teachings of the gnostics, who were making havoc of the faith of new believers and undermining the work of the church in proclaiming the truths of God’s decrees. When you examine the history of the church, you will find it rife with those who peddled falsehoods and abhorrent teachings on how one is to have a saving relationship with God. In looking at institutions such as the Catholic Church, theirs is a plethora of errors such as devotion to Mary, prayers to the saints, the ungodly idea behind the mass, the elevation of papal decrees over the words of God, the Inquisition, the murder of Protestants by Catholic kings and queens, and other atrocities for which they have yet to apologize. It took the fearless work of men such as Luther, Knox, Calvin, Zwingli, Huss, and the Puritans to get the people away from the works based foundation of Catholicism and to put one’s faith exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ and the surety of Scripture.
The endless tidal wave of satanic compromise and ineffectiveness has infiltrated Protestant congregations as well. Churches that once stood upon the lordship of Christ and the standard of Scripture have given way to political correctness and acceptance of behaviors that in times past would have received condemnation from the pulpit. We have welcomed those who do not have the best interest of God’s people at heart or the cause of Christ as a determining factor in spiritual development, but instead are forcing congregations to accept their behavior and allow them to be comfortable in their respective wickedness and not be convicted of the seriousness of their sins. When any church allows someone to be a part of the congregation and not expect them to come under the lordship of Christ and instead turns a blind eye to obvious wickedness and behavior yet still affirming that God is in the house, then let the doors be closed and the word “Ichabod” be painted on the walls. The glory of the LORD has departed from that place a long time ago and now everyone is merely going through religious motions heading straight for hell. That’s just a fact of life and I won’t sugar coat it in order for you to feel better about the “little indiscretion” that you play with and feed every day. Either we get serious about our walk with the LORD or be honest with yourself and be content in your apostasy.
Now let’s get back to the reason I’m writing this column. Today I felt like giving up and telling the LORD that I was through with serving Him as a minister. I’ve gone through a lot of heartbreak and frustration in the years since He called me to serve Him. There are days that I wonder if it was worth the trouble to get the education that I thought I needed to be an effective minister. To be honest, I spent the better part of this morning yelling at Him, saying to Him that serving Him in the capacity I did was not worth the trouble. I’ve had to experience church people who were as mean as a cornered rattlesnake, frustration at having short pastorates that I wasn’t allowed to develop, the onslaught of manic depression and the robbery of the best years of service that I could have provided, and the never-ending feeling that I’ve wasted my life believing that God had called me to ministry when I really had nothing to show for it and that I had put my wife and children through episodes of disappointment and misunderstanding as well as exposure to people who we thought to be Christians but were sold out to self-centeredness and the belief that they controlled the church and knew better than the LORD on how to govern it.
I came close to telling God to go get someone else to do His work. I didn’t care if people went to hell nor did I possess any kind of love or sympathy for them, especially when a lot of them had been given the gospel in some point of their lives only to reject it and mock the God who made them. I was tired of having to deal with deliberately ignorant people who ignored God and had no desire to learn about Him. Right now I’m sick and tired of officials in government who want us out of the way in order to have their one-world system. I’m tired of arrogant Muslims who say that “something happened” on 9/11. The whole world of Islam sickens me. The pedophiles in power covering up their wicked behavior makes me want to shoot them and send them to hell were they will never bother any precious child again. I’m tired of the atheists spewing their hatred of God in public and us who are always trying to counteract their twisted thoughts by telling the truth of the gospel. I’m tired of the Satanists who want to have statues put up in public places while governments take down the Ten Commandments at the same time. I’m just sick and tired of this world’s wickedness and the feeling that we’re always fighting an uphill battle with no relief in sight. I was ready to tell God that I had enough and I would go find another job which wasn’t as troublesome.
It is a wonderful fact to know that we can be honest with our LORD and not put on airs of religiosity, but have the freedom to get issues and frustrations off our chest and tell Him our troubles. He is big enough and loving enough for us to raise our voices in asking why things have gone the way that they have. It seems that the forces of evil are winning and any attempt to counteract with the gospel falls on deaf and hostile ears. After I had my time of yelling and anger, I had time to think about some truths that are certain. The first is that we are in the homestretch of prophetic history. Events are happening at a rapid pace and the day is approaching when the trumpets will sound and we are taken out of this world to enjoy eternity in the presence of God who will wipe away our tears and be embraced by His loving everlasting arms. The second point to remember is that this world will not last forever in its present shape. Let the devil and demons have it for seven years. The only thing they’ll inherit is an eternity in the Lake of Fire. This world will be purged in fire and made new again by the power of God. There is coming a day where evil will cease to exist and we will have perfect peace in the new heaven and earth. We will be with Jesus forever, basking in His glory. The third point to remember is that none of these atrocities has caught the LORD off guard. Nothing gets by Him. He will punish the guilty and bring justice to those who have experienced troubles and persecutions in this world. Everything we see will be used by the LORD to bring Him glory and help us to see what matters most. What we have or experience in this world is temporary. I am, along with other men of God, to be faithful to Him and come to Him with that which is on our minds and hearts, earnestly interceding for the souls of men and asking forgiveness for our attitudes. It’s not often that I pour out my frustrations, but I’m glad I serve a God who understands and loves me anyway. We are to occupy until He comes. His return is soon, and for that we can give Him all glory and honor. It won’t be too long, brethren. He wins and for that we can say “Amen and hallelujah”
Don was born and raised in the true Cajun Country of Louisiana. He holds a Bachelors Degree in History from Louisiana College, a Masters Degree in Christian Education from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Theology from Andersonville Baptist Seminary in Georgia. Don has served as a pastor, interim pastor, high school teacher, and hospital chaplain over the past thirty years. He currently serves as a volunteer chaplain (2008-present) with St. Francis Hospital and also served as the pastor/teacher from 2013-2016 at the Gospel Rescue Mission, both of which are here in Muskogee. He was called to Meadowbrook in February 0f 2017 and began his ministry in March of that year. He has also served as President of the Muskogee Baptist Association’s Pastors Conference, which is a weekly meeting that presents speakers and ministry ideas and concepts to church leaders in the greater Muskogee area.
Don’s top priority is to see that the good news of Jesus Christ is shared with our lost and hurting world and that the people of God are taught sound doctrine and preparation for our Lord’s soon return.