There is a common feeling that when things are going really really well than 'look out below' - something bad is about to happen. Most Christians will scoff and call this a superstition or lack of faith. Actually it is a Biblical concept- for believers and non Christians alike. Today I should like to offer the Christian some insight to this pattern and in my next posting will attempt to shed some light for "searchers" that find themselves in an unknown place.
"And it came about in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him; and a voice came out of the heavens: "Thou art my beloved Son, in Thee am I well pleased." And immediately the Spirit impelled him to go out into the wilderness, And he was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to him. "
The assumption for many Christians that Jesus always knew his relationship with the Father and the fact that he was the Messiah even at Mary's breast. Yet we know that in certain instances and categories Jesus chose voluntarily NOT to know certain things, as in the day and hour of his return. Of course that is used as fodder by some: "See he is not God"!! The other extreme has Jesus stumbling into Jerusalem having no clue that the cross awaited him in direct contradiction to the Gospel accounts of his often cited predictions of his impending death. The truth is clearly taught that Christ is the God-man and what balance of knowledge he chose to have revealed was between the Son of Man and his Father. I have surmised that he often left a little off the table in order to walk by faith so it could be written in Hebrews 4: "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin."
Jesus gets the public and miraculous confession of his Sonship at his baptism by John. Talk about things going well...but notice the speed in which the Holy Spirit acts to bring Jesus to his next destination- just as in his coming out of the water brought joy "immediately" so Jesus is led to his place of trial "immediately" . I may stray off the reservation a bit here but this is the way I see it unfolding- Jesus, coming to understand who he really was has an outward sign that confirms his self discovery. Jesus never seeks any declaration by word from his Father or deeds that he performs to affirm who he is to himself. In fact he seems to prefer not to have signs but rather lives by faith that he is in fact the son of God, based on the Word of God. He is often the reluctant miracle worker. Remember his attitude when being asked by Mary to turn the water into wine! In the desert he will get his chance to prove his faith- this walking by faith and not sight that he asks us to do. . Here the devil challenges Jesus to prove to himself that in his desperate circumstances of living a 40 day nightmare he is in fact the Messiah. Satan knows FULL WELL who Jesus is. "IF you are the Son of God then turn this stone into bread.. " and Jesus responds that he must live only "by the Word of God",, i.e., by faith. His self knowledge must finally be based on what the Word has to say about the Redeemer.
So we must not be surprised that at the very moment we may have had that moment and sign of clarity from God, that yes, this Christian business really is true, that we are soon swept away by God the Holy Spirit into a place of darkness where the only thing we have to cling to is a string of faith. It may be that any of us in this situation should do a personal inventory to decide if our trial is one of being disciplined by our loving Father or is to test our faith- so that we may grow in our knowledge of His utter dependability and steadfast love irrespective of what we may or may have not done. That as Paul, having experienced "the third heaven" may be knocked down a notch from some glorious insight back to the dirt of this earth and the endless thorns in our sides.
As you see friends and loved ones go from spiritual highs to lows it is not our job to act the part of one of Jobs foolish friends and advisers but rather comfort the afflicted and confused. It is our duty to confess that only thing we are certain of is that God is good and his love is not dependent on where we are on the road- whether it seems spiritually high or low.
How did I end up here? It is God's plan that I be here.