The other evening I asked a Captain for the story of her conversion. She told me that a few lines in a little book showed her the way to Jesus. She saw through these lines that if she would ask God to save her and would ‘not flinch’ in her faith, He would do it. So she prayed, and then waited for Jesus to come. She was very dark. She lived in a country that was full of spiritual darkness, and there was no one to teach her, and in her ignorance she thought Jesus would come in bodily presence, so she put her room in order and earnestly waited and watched for Him to open the door and come in. But He did not come.
Then she remembered that God had promised to answer the prayers of two or three; so she wrote a note to a minister to come and pray with her. But something seemed to whisper to her that this was doubting God, that she was trusting the minister’s prayer and not the Lord, and this was doubt. So she tore the note up, and, looking to God, without flinching, she trusted, when suddenly Jesus came, not in bodily presence, but in Spirit, and her whole soul was flooded with light and love and the glory of God. Bless the Lord for ever!
Now I fully believe that it is just at this point that many souls draw back and fail. They flinch at the final test of faith. Just when all is on the altar and there is not one thing more to do but to stand still and see God come, ‘an evil heart of unbelief’ draws back, or Satan comes suggesting something more to do. And the soul, dropping its eyes from the bending heavens, gets into the endless treadmill of endeavor to either help itself or to get somebody to help it, and so misses the prize and never finds God, or rather never gives God a chance to show forth His saving power, and make His presence known.
While Faith stands waiting and trembling, taunted by mocking devils and all manner of suggestions to doubt, it is hard not to flinch; but flinching will prove as fatal to the revelation of Jesus to your souls as a movement will prove to your picture when before the photographer’s camera. Be still in your heart and trust, look and wait, and Jesus will surely come. There may be ceaseless outward activity; but this inward soul-quiet and watchfulness and faith are absolutely necessary to the revelation of the Lord.
Abraham slew his birds and beasts and laid them on the altar and waited expectantly for God to come, and God came.
Solomon built his temple, placed everything in order, then prayed and waited, when lo! the glory of God filled the temple till the priests could not stand in His presence.
Elijah slew his bullock, placed it on the altar, poured water over it as a final work of faith, then prayed and waited till the heavens opened and fire fell and consumed his sacrifice.
The disciples prayed and waited on God for ten days; then suddenly the Holy Ghost fell on them in tongues of fire that filled the world with light.
If these men had flinched when the time came to steadfastly look to God and believe, the world would never have heard of them.
A ministerial friend of mine lost the blessing of full salvation. I found him in this state and dealt faithfully with him. He went to his church that night, and told his people his condition, and called them around the altar with him; but he failed to get the blessing. A wise friend of mine, who happened to be present, explained his failure by saying: ‘He didn’t stay on his knees long enough. He was in too big a hurry. He didn’t give God time to deal with him.’ The fact was, he flinched when the time to steadily watch and wait and trust came.
The Lord God declared by the mouth of Isaiah, ‘He that believeth shall not make haste’ (Isa. xxviii. 16). It is in this attitude of unflinching watching and waiting that faith and patience are made perfect; and when this perfection is attained the Lord will come suddenly to His temple, even to the heart that has waited for Him.
Myriads are the souls that can say with the royal Psalmist: ‘I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God’ (Ps. xi. 1-3) change. Begin now! Praise the Lord!