37. About Hindrances
The notion that hostile persons or unfavorable circumstances can prevent the will of God from being fulfilled in a human life is altogether erroneous. Nothing, no one, can hinder God or a good man.
It is one of the glories of the Christian faith that it can be present in effective power regardless of whether or not the moral and political environment is favorable to it. H. C. Wells said somewhere that he personally believed Buddhism to be the best religion, but admitted that it could flourish only in countries having a warm climate! I once heard a Catholic priest lament the plight of another priest who had been thrown into jail in Nazi Germany "and forbidden to practice his religion." It sounded oddly humorous at the time; yet I can understand how a religion that lay mostly in external observances could be forbidden. If true religion consisted in outward practices, then it could be destroyed by laws forbidding those practices. But if the true worshiper is one who worships God in spirit and in truth, how can laws or jails or abuses or deprivations prevent the spiritual man from worshiping?
Let a man set his heart only on doing the will of God and he is instantly free. No one can hinder him. If we understand our first and sole duty to consist of loving God supremely and loving everyone, even our enemies, for God's dear sake, then we can enjoy spiritual tranquility under every circumstance; or if tribulations harrow our souls, still we can rest in the deep assurance that we are doing the will of God and that He is accepting our very sufferings as a sweet sacrifice, well pleasing in His sight.
It is only when we introduce our own will into our relation to God that we get into trouble. When we weave into the pattern of our lives threads of our own selfish desires we instantly become subject to hindrances from the outside. If I mingle some pet religious enterprise of mine with the will of God and come to think of them as one, I can be hindered in my religious life. Then I'll begin to blame whoever stands in my way and excuse my spiritual breakdowns as being caused by someone or something that is working to "hinder" me.
The essence of spiritual worship is to love supremely, to trust confidently, to pray without ceasing and to seek to be Christ like and holy and to do all the good we can for Christ's sake. How impossible for anyone to hinder that kind of "practice." As soon as our normal church-going religion is interdicted by government decree or made for the time impossible by circumstances we can retire to the sanctuary of our own hearts and worship God acceptably till He sees fit to change the circumstances and allow us to resume the outward practice of our faith. But the fire has not gone out on the altar of our heart in the meantime and we have learned the sweet secret of submission and trust, a lesson we could not have learned any other way.
If we find ourselves irked by external hindrances, be sure we are victims of our own self- will. Nothing can hinder the heart that is fully surrendered and quietly trusting, because nothing can hinder God.
From The Root of the Righteous by A. W. Tozer. Lightly updated to the language of the 21st century by D. N. Pham. (c) 2012.
Insights of the past for the present
Root of the Righteous - A.W. Tozer
ON THE BOOK SHELF
May your insights be worthy.