Sunday, February 17, 2013
That is the very word Holy Spirit spoke to me last night in church--the word God highlighted as my area of needed breakthrough from the message shared by Pastor Robert.
I believed he was going to speak finances, and then maybe even marriage or restoration of broken relationships on the side, but he spoke trust. Honestly, I was a bit surprised when the word popped up before I could even finish the question, and I just as quickly asked God "why that word?"
You see, anyone who has walked this past year with us knows that it's been a season of both financial struggle and also of unexpected provision, of pressing into God to hear his plan and obeying even when it sounded contrary to popular opinion. We've been united on this path to something new almost every step of the way, and I only use 'almost' because a year of wandering requires a lot of steps to be taken, and along the way we've both tripped and fallen--stumbled over faith and reason. We've sat down on the side of the road to question if we'd heard clearly and sometimes we cried out when silence was all we could hear. There have been days when his faith was strong and mine was lacking and vice versa, and days when we both borrowed faith from others. Days when what or how or even why was used for more prevalently than promise, trust or believe.
Here we sit on the precipice of our future. Tomorrow marks the first day of our something new that I wrote about here. And yet the promise "to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future" (Jer 29:11) is still just that ... our future. Tomorrow's work will not pay yesterday's responsibilities or the ones that come today or the ones that are already on the horizon before our future meets up with our present. And it's daunting, to say the least. A bit scary, to be totally honest. Our future holds such promise, but today's needs overshadow our future promise like a monstrous obstacle. And when sat side-by-side next to someone else's need, ours may seem like a drop in a bucket, but they're still ours ... and they must be met before our something new can fully provide for our future.
And so we sat in church yesterday. And when I asked God at the end of the message what area he wanted me most to focus on for immediate breakthrough, I fully expected to hear him say "finances". It is, after all, the most glaringly obvious choice. But he surprised me, as he so often does, and spoke trust. And so I asked him why. And he answered:
I spoke trust because if I have breakthrough with you in this area then you will fully trust me for all of the other areas (both known and unknown) where breakthrough is also needed ... and they will be taken care of.
Hand in hand we walked to the altar for prayer and were met by the smile of a man he knows better than I, but one I trust because he did first. And he prayed for us; and thanked God for our something new with us; and cried out for supernatural provision over our yesterday and today needs; and called out for our mailbox to be a place of miracles; and for God to be given glory for the testimony he was going to write in our lives as we stand in the gap between our year-long journey that's about to end and our future that is just within arms reach.
And I'm choosing to trust. Trust that God will provide in ways that I can't even begin to ask for. Not because he considers us his charity case, but His children.
In the blog I linked to above, I opened it with this passage of scripture:
Now that the worst is over, we're pleased we can report that we've come out of this with conscience and faith intact, and can face the world--and even more importantly, face you with our heads held high. But it wasn't by any fancy footwork on our part. It was God who kept us focused on him, uncompromised. 2 Corinthians 1:12 [MSG]
When God speaks to us from His Word, it IS a promise that we are to hold onto. By choosing trust, I am choosing to also hold onto this promise when we will say "now that the worst is over...". While we cannot say that just yet, it's coming. This gap is all that stands between us and our future.
Last night, before we stood to go up for prayer, a woman sitting next to me handed me four notecards with handwritten Bible verses on them. She told me that one of them was for me but she didn't know which one. I didn't look at them until we were walking out of the sanctuary. The one that (I knew when I read it) was for me was the last card, and the tears rolled down as I read His reminder to me:
But God's not finished. He's waiting around to be gracious to you. He's gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes time to do everything right--everything. Those who wait around for Him are the lucky ones. Isaiah 30:18
The wait between here and our future seems long and heavy. But God was very purposeful last night to remind me that He's in that wait. That grace and mercy are in that wait. And my heart melted right there in those words because he didn't condemn me for needing to be reminded, he simply loved me in the reminding.
Will you stand with us in prayer for this miracle? Will you believe with us that God will provide in the gap? And that the enemy will be defeated by the blood of the Lamb and the word our future testimony (Rev 12:11)?
I don't know how God's going to do it. But today I'm standing firm, like I did when he spoke to me about our future, and I'm both asking for and trusting in a miracle.
Trust in the Lord will all your heart; lean not on your own understanding. (Prov 3:5)
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The words shot out at the screen. BAM! BAM! BAM! They weren't focused on the quality of the script or the cinematography efforts of the film being watched, but instead aimed at one of the characters within the story. Like bullets being shot out of a gun pointed directly at the female lead, each sentence was pulling the trigger at her assumed affiliation with a world view that didn't match the gun holder's. And the gun holder was letting her (and us) know it.
I love a good story, whether I get the opportunity to read it in a book or see it on the big screen or rent it from Redbox ... I love a good story. I love well written characters and plot lines and intentional pacing. And I most love stories that make me think--that cause me to question where I currently stand on a life matter or even shake the foundation of the easy, American-styled life I live.
But that gun ... and those bullets? They were filled with a personal disgust for the fictional character's decisions, and they made me immediately question why?
What causes a soul to become so rankled by a fictional movie?
How can a fabricated character crawl under skin so easily?
What does she represent that provokes judgment?
Why does there seem to be an air of satisfaction at her suffering?
The human character is complex. As I walk through this season of life, I am even more aware of that fact. And I believe we are so complex, in part, because glory highlights flaws. And one can't see truth without recognizing the lie. And words are always revealing.
This is not judgment, but perspective. Those words could have come from me. Those kinds of words have come from me.
I've heard it said that the way we judge others is really just a [re]presentation of the way we judge ourselves--the way not being the particulars, but the heart attitude. When judgment towards others is harsh, does that mean we are just as harsh with ourselves, or even more so?
As I journey deeper into my relationship with Jesus, my spirit is becoming more and more sensitive to words. I find myself listening not to just what's being said, but becoming actively attentive to hear what is being revealed by what's being said. Scripture states that anything that proceeds from the mouth proceeds from the heart (Matthew 15:18). Trust me when I declare that my words have betrayed my heart too many times in the past and still do to this day ... and the cleansing of the foul muck in my heart is a huge part of my Jesus journey here on earth. I am not innocent in this area and I do not take pride in it either; I'm just choosing not to hide from it.
I want to hear others with an openness to origination and revelation. I want to hear myself the way I want to hear others--to know my words' origins and to be changed at the core by their revelation. I want to hear, not so I can judge, but grow.