Well, I guess the time has come to attempt an answer to the Tozer writing from February 21st. I must admit, when I first read the piece I was uncomfortable with the words. Knowing that Tozer was not a "pussy-footer" when it came to his relationship with the Father, I had to delve deeper into his meaning than just a cursory reading. Please bear with me as I try to share my thoughts on Tozer's statements. I will try to follow his paragraphs in sharing my thoughts with you.
When we are called to a higher calling by God, we are expected to live lives above reproach. That means a greater discipline in all areas of our lives. The suffering Tozer talks about is, in my opinion, the result of dying to our flesh. The more we desire to be like Christ and to please our Father, we have to die to the natural man that desires his own way and own will. Christ showed us that example throughout His life and His death. The greater suffering He shared with us at Getsemane as He sweat blood in the agony of surrendering His will to that of His Father was a precursor of the suffering we would have to undergo in order to reach that same conclusion, "Not my will, but Yours be done". If we aren't willing to go there, we won't be able to go there to the place and purpose of our creation.
Tozer's second paragraph at first seemed harsh and frightening, but as I continued to ponder, became a wonderful picture of the work Father God has been chiseling and hammering in my life throughout the years. The times when I have seen the greatest growth in my spiritul life have been times when I've experienced the most pain. Pain caused by choices I made or others made, deeds done against me or mine, and especially hope destroyed and expectations trampled. Those things hurt fiercely, but brought the most change! I've learned how to love unconditionally, to trust God when I saw no reason to trust except for His Word to me and I've learned how to rest securely in the Father's love. It was worth the pain! Everything I have experienced is helping to form me into a thing of beauty for my Father and it has all been worth it!
I'm thankful that God, in doing His supreme work of grace within me, has removed things from my heart that prohibited my relationship with Him. This third paragraph isn't talking about God killing our loved ones or destroying our homes. It's talking about those idols that are where the Holy One is to be - first! He has shown me the idols that needed to be removed and helped me to remove them. Some were very precious to me and, yet, not anywhere near as precious as He is. We all have to come to the place of crisis where we make the decision to follow Christ even if it means all else falls or fails - I call it our "Crisis of Faith". Can we trust Him with EVERYTHING? If we can't, we trust Him with nothing. From the ashes of our idol treasures can come our greatest joy of knowing Him.
I agree with his fourth statement that true faith lies in the will, our will. It is a joy unspeakable as we experience our faith growing in a relationship with our Father. There is great stability in knowing that I am truly His child and that I can trust Him no matter what!
Tozer's final paragraph appears to be an indictment of immature Christians. There is so much talk about having peace about something and being joyful as believers. Most of that talk is often related to the desires of someone and the happiness they are experiencing. I don't mean to belittle those desires and happiness, but I believe it falls short of true peace in the circumstances and joy based on a faith walk with the Father.
So, let me know what you're thinking and we'll continue to sharpen each other in the faith. God's blessings on each of you as we remember our own Passover Lamb, Jesus, and the wondrous, glorious truth of His resurrection!