I must say up front that I am not really familiar with the band that you have mentioned, but I have been hearing about this situation for a little while now. While I cannot speak to this person in particular, I think that you are correct, there are a lot of people who are falling away, but I love the heart of your response to that, that you do not understand, but you will not let that stop you from believing in God. I remember your question a while ago about faith, and brother I’m seeing a lot of faith in that statement alone. We are going to face many trials in this life whether those trials are painful, or stressful, or testing of our faith, it all comes in many different forms, but it all challenges us to grow in our dependence on Christ. What does He say to us in these times? Just look at what His answer to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul’s response? Verses 9-10, “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong”
No matter the situation we are facing, the grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient for us, unfortunately, not everyone believes that.
In Matthew 24, Jesus describes the signs of the end times to the disciples. In verses 3-14 He says, “As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come”
It is unfortunate when someone who has such a high profile view in this world falls away, because this not only hurts to see for them, but also for those who looked up to that person and now find themselves questioning what happened. But this is not abnormal unfortunately. I think it happens far more often than we see, just not always to people who are easily in view. There could be a lot of reasons too. There could be a crisis in their lives that they just were not prepared for, or they may have professed faith in a moment of happiness thinking that Christianity is all happiness, or they may not have the foundation that they need to weather the storms. Whatever the reason, we should always pray for them to find their way back. We have all had down times in our lives when we felt as if God doesn’t care, but we must remember the words of 2 Timothy 2:11-13, “The saying is trustworthy, if we have died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”
Even when we fail to be faithful to Him, He never fails to be faithful to us. But He does not promise that the road will be an easy one. Quite the opposite, in Matthew 7:13-14, He says, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
The way to destruction is the easy path to take, and many will perish on that path. But the way to life is narrow, and those who find it will be few. Just like the rich young ruler, many will look right at the way to life, and turn from it because they do not want to give up their fallenness and follow Christ. That is why we must do all we can to share the truth of God’s word with everyone who we can, so that the Holy Spirit will be able to do His work in them, and lead them to the saving grace of Christ.
Finally in 1 Peter 4:12, Peter tells us, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
Peter tells us not to be surprised when trials come upon us, it’s not strange at all that they do. In fact, Christ specifically warns us as Christians to expect such trials. John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”
We will suffer in this world, we will have hardship, our faith will be tested through the fire of trial and tribulations, but we serve a Savior who has already won the victory. In Him, we may feel like we are losing at times, but the truth is, if we put our faith in Him, we have already won.
There are times when I have felt like my prayer life is one-sided too. I think we all have experiences like that at times. We pray, and because we don’t see fire rain from the sky(I exaggerate of course), we don’t see some physical sign from Him, we wonder if He’s really there. But what happened with the Pharisees? In Matthew 16:1-4, “And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.”
Jesus had been right there for so long performing signs and miracles and fulfilling prophecy, and they still demanded signs from Him. Jesus told them that they had the ability to perceive the weather by looking at the sky, and yet with all their Biblical knowledge and all the work God had done, they still did not believe Him. One of these days, the visible signs of God are going to come, but no one who has rejected Him will want them to be here when they finally do.
The truth of it is, we have all the signs we need. In Romans 1, Paul tells us in verses 19-20, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because He has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
I don’t think I have ever been able to walk outside at night and look up at the sky without feeling the assurance of His existence, just in that. To think of the vast complexities of this world, or the unfathomable depths of the universe, and to say that He has not made Himself clearly visible is not only a denial of what He tells us in Romans, but also foolishness to say. He is clearly perceived in the things He has made. From the micro universe, to the macro universe, His workmanship is visible as plainly as a fingerprint on a sparkling clean glass window. Even as Paul says, that anyone who denies Him with all that evidence, has no excuse. We all want evidence, and we have His word, and His creation. We have all the evidence we could ever need.
It is painful to see people walk away from Christ, and over such things as saying that they want visible signs. The one thing I can say to that Ashton, pray for them. Pray for people who deny Him, people who need Him desperately. Pray that the Spirit of God will be at work in their hearts and not let them go. There are many who fall away, but there are many who return as well. In the end, we must trust Christ and always remember that He is in control. He will not let one of those entrusted to Him slip from His hand. Just as John 10:28-30 tells us, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to take them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
I don’t know how God does everything, I don’t even understand the smallest fraction of it all, but I know that He is sovereign over all. I know that He is in control over all things and that His will is what will be done. We serve a God who cannot be subverted, or overpowered, or out of control. All is under His hand. Therefore, let us hope in Him, and pray for those who are failing, or struggling to do the same.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6.