Thursday, November 6, 2014

Doubt Conquering Faith

Tromp, tromp, tromp marched an endless army of rain drops. Peeking through the curtains, Charles Naylor saw only heavily burdened clouds filling the leaded sky with cold rain. Depression flooded through the window washing away his flickering hopes.

Hadn’t God called him from the classroom and into the pulpit! The eager young enlistee in God’s Army left his schoolroom behind and was following God’s call into evangelism. Like a pebble tossed into placid waters, his call had taken him in ever-widening circles around the nation. But now, stuck here with his injured grandfather, no calls came.

Glancing about the room, he felt the pleasure of helping in this family emergency, but two months … without any calls … “how could God be pleased?” Grandfather’s injury had been serious enough to require care, and Charles loved his grandfather dearly. Yet, the pain of separation from his preaching ministry flooded his mind with incriminating thoughts that threatened him with thoughts of failed obedience.

As Charles meditated on the pit-a-pats of rain stoically marching past his window, he thought “Well; if I can do nothing, I am the Lord’s anyway.” The cloud of gloom seemed to rise slightly and a warming ray of fresh gratitude peeked into his mind. He took up his pencil and paper and the words of gratitude began pouring forth to God for the comforting thought.

Troubled emotions gave way to trustful security and before long Charles felt a deep inner sense of God’s Fatherhood. Personal conviction gripped his innermost being as he realized that Paul’s words in Romans 8:35-39 expressed his deep, personal convictions. Guided by Paul’s words, Charles translated those inner convictions into verses that expressed poetically the worshipful commitment he felt.

When a fellow minister set his verses to music, it resulted in a hymn that I have sung since childhood.” It is a hymn of faith that defines faith at work in troubled times when overwhelming difficulties cause us to reevaluate our faith. Not only does it remind me of who I am; it reaffirms me for Whose I am - “I Am the Lord’s:

               Whether I live or die,
                              Whether I wake or sleep,
               Whether upon the land
                              Or on the stormy deep;
               When ‘tis serene and calm
                              Or when the wild winds blow,
               I shall not be afraid--
                              I am the Lord’s I know.

               When with abundant store
                              Or in deep poverty,
               And when the world may smile
                              Or it may frown on me;
               When it shall help me on
                              Or shall obstruct my way,
               Still shall my heart rejoice--
                              I am the Lord’s today.
               During the more than four decades that Charles occupied his own bed of affliction, scores of people sent letters to Charles declaring how his affirmation of faith had blessed them in their darkest and most difficult hours. Recalling the depression of those dreary days he spent caring for his beloved grandfather, Charles no longer doubted that faith conquers doubt.
               Knowing that his hymn shaped the contours of many people’s walk of faith, C. W. Naylor concluded           
               There’s no defeat in life
                              Save from within;
               Unless you’re beaten there
                              You’re bound to win.2

               1 Worship the Lord, Hymnal. (Anderson, IN: Warner Press, Inc. 1989) p. 639. 
               2 C. W. Naylor, Secret of the Singing Heart. (Anderson, IN: Warner Press, 1974) p. 11.

From Warner's World, I am

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