by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
When the heavens are as brass.
If we have a magical conception of the Christian life, we are certain to find ourselves in trouble, because, when difficulties come, we shall be tempted to ask, ‘Why is this allowed?’ And we should never ask such a question.
Our Lord goes to sleep and allows the storm to come. The position may indeed become quite desperate and we may appear to be in danger of our lives ... yet a Christian poet has said it for us:
When all things seem against us
To drive us to despair ...
But it does not drive him to despair because he goes on to say:
We know one gate is open
One ear will hear our prayer.
But things may be desperate: ‘All things seem against us, to drive us to despair.’ Let us then be prepared for that. Yes, but we must go further. While all this is happening to us, our Lord appears to be utterly unconcerned about us. That is where the real trial of faith comes in. The wind and the billows were bad enough and the water coming into the ship. That was terrible, but the thing that to them was most terrible of all was His apparent unconcern. Still sleeping and not apparently caring.... Just imagine the feelings of these men. They had followed Him and listened to His teaching... they had seen His miracles and were expecting marvellous things to happen; and now it looked as if everything was going to come to an end in shipwreck and drowning.... We must be very young indeed in the Christian life if we do not know something about this.... The fact that God permits these things and that He often appears to be quite unconcerned about it all really constitutes what I am describing as the trial of faith. These are the conditions in which our faith is tried and tested, and God allows it all, God permits it all.
Spiritual Depression, pp. 140–1