It's been raining here a lot. The outdoor enthusiast knows that triggers rich earthy smells and thicker, heavier textures all around. And while I wouldn't consider myself an aficionado when it comes to all things open-air, I do happen to love that smell and find myself taking deeper breaths after the rain to gives my nostrils a fix.
For the last 3.3 years or so, my air has felt stale. Anxiety can have that effect on a person, shortening one breath after another, making you feel trapped. The Dastardly Thief likes to come and take things like our breath, our life, suffocating us like a sixteenth century corset. Between his nasty stifling tactics and my own fleshly, prideful detriments, walking in the Spirit seems an elusive concept. So, it's a good thing that walking in Him is a reality and not something theoretical. Oh, where would I be without the truth of His steadfast lovingkindness?!
I've been blogging about transition for what feels to me like a significant chapter in the story He's writing, so knowing that this is my last entry in this section for the foreseeable future is remarkably odd. Apparently, after a few months of house hopping and so many pleading questions, He has chosen to put the final period on what has been agonizingly beautiful in its unfolding. And His provision this time is no small feat. (Though really, is it ever?)
You see, He has provided a place for me to live. He has given me a bed on which to lay my head. He has given me two roommates who I am elated to get to love, even as I learn from Him what that means. He has extended His grace to even put it in an ideal location where I feel safe. He has put me where I will be able to work well from home. He has even given me as Audio Adrenaline would say, "a Big, Big, Yard, where we can play football" (or have campfires or parties and the like). And guess what? Barring any complications, I should be able to do my job FULL-TIME starting March 1st. It's going to mean lots of ergonomic adjustments and supernatural perseverance, but nothing beyond my God! A part of me is still grieving what feels like the loss of some dreams, but I trust this Master of mine, on Whose arms I can safely lean.
James knew what he was talking about because I just can't seem to stop praising the One who has once again proven faithful. My lungs finally feel able to inhale to their potential again, so praise I must:
"Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise." 5:13b
My Truest Treasure has provided an earthly treasure and so when I saw that my house key was gold, the corners of my mouth had nowhere to go but up. He waited until I had played every card in my hand, until everything was ready (including all hearts and lives involved!), until the right time when an answer from Him couldn't have been more sweet. It made me think of Romans 5:6:
"For while we were still weak, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly."
This is the kind of Savior I serve. The kind who didn't die too soon without making sure every prophecy was fulfilled, who didn't wait too long to be obedient to His Dad. No,He came JUST when I needed Him, JUST when I was hopeless, lost and lonely. That's Who He is, and because He does not change, He has not ceased to save this way. Yes, my God will come through ALWAYS.
He did so much in this season, more than I could write about and certainly more than I am even aware of. But I do know that if you find yourself in a time of transition, He is worthy of your trust. Worthy to cry out to. Worthy to cling to. Certainly Able to save you. Save you from every doubt, disappointment, disillusionment, discouragement and tendency to disdain. Willing to be your Peace, your Life, your Joy, your Treasure, your Home, your Satisfaction, your Everything. Don't be so foolish to think you can do any transition without your Lifeline, the One Who is Definitely Sovereign OVER IT, but also Completely Present IN IT.
I can fully and confidently guarantee He will NOT fail you. Not a single day. Not a single moment.
Sometimes you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a transition and God asks you to do something humanly ridiculous. You start to hear yourself yelling right along with your personal paparazzi, "You're crazy. That's a terrible idea! Where's the wisdom in that?" (and other such reasonable responses). Meanwhile Your Favorite keeps right on reiterating His Resurrecting Power, His All-Sufficient Grace, His Track Record of Deliverance and His Continual Presence with you. he starts telling You about the things that win His approval: a life of faith and obedience, of testifying to His glory and excellence, and a broken and contrite heart. He starts speaking these words during your time together:
"'Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?' says the LORD; 'shall I, who cause to bring forth shut the womb?' says your God. Isaiah 66:9
What do you do when He starts sending strangers (yes, that's plural) to tell you that God is pleased with what you are doing, that Congratulations are in order because clearly there has been a transformation happening in your life? Do you stand in His way with shoddy faith? You might be tempted to, but then He sends reminders of His unstoppable will like this:
"If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, WHO WAS I THAT I COULD STAND IN GOD'S WAY?" Acts 11:17
What do you do when He starts emphasizing the Provider facet of His infallible features and provides for an opportunity almost seeming to support the humanly impossible endeavor? You may start to question as I have, "Are you just keeping me distracted while in the middle of this transition or does this idea have actual weight? But then He reminds You:
"And David had success in all his undertakings, for the Lord was with him." 1 Samuel 18:14
When He steps in and emphasizes that He is responsible for EVERY success you've ever had because of His grace toward you, you start to perk up. You start to remember that your life is not about you; it's about what He wants to show the world through you. Disbelief ought to be quickly overcome every time by the reality of the resurrection.
"But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, 'Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that IT IS I MYSELF. Touch me, and see.'" Luke 24: 37-39
Consider always the contrast between you and Him. Never lose sight of how vastly finite, fragile and incapable you are as you gaze upon the One Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all you ever ask or think, the One who won't quit when you want to, and who increases the strength of the one who has no might.
I'm in the middle of moving, staying with kind friends for the next little while, and He asked me to reignite an old business flame of an idea. At a time when I have no money and no idea if anything will come from having a booth at a rather large event. But He keeps doing all these things (see above). Should I have a back-up plan if this fails? I can't honestly say that He has been leading that direction in the slightest. So, is my hope in this business being successful? Nope. My hope is in Him and what He very clearly seems to be doing that He has asked me to join in on.
So, I'm buckling that seat belt of truth for the back woods adventure we're going on together, trusting my Driver Who knows just where He's going, the Place where His Plan makes sense whether or not it ever does to me.
I guess you might say I'm all in.
Wakeboarding. Drag Racing. Paragliding. Parkour. BMX. Zorbing. (Yes, zorbing. It's a thing. Look it up.) And the list goes on.
Extreme sports are the reproducing rabbits of our day as new thrills are incessantly sought, while onlookers like myself are captivated by what they are able to do with their bodies, risking their lives for new personal bests. If you're like me and need a working definition of an extreme sport, might I direct your attention to the following:
"[An extreme sport is] a competitive (comparison or self-evaluative) activity within which the participant is subjected to natural or unusual physical and mental challenges such as speed, height, depth or natural forces and where fast and accurate cognitive perceptual processing may be required for a successful outcome" -Dr. Rhonda Cohen, emphasis mine
So, you can see that there is something about the circumstances that make their participation in the sports challenging (i.e. terrain, weather, etc.) that requires something just as radical from the athlete in both physique and mental acumen. And failure is not merely shame or a disappointed onlooker, it can be fatal.
Why is it that we continue to use the word "just" in front of prayer? Or how often do we hear, 'Well, I guess all I can do is pray" which only serves to reiterate both the hearer's and our belief that prayer is Small, Least, and Weak. Have we not instruction from the very Word of God that "the prayer of a righteous person has GREAT POWER as it is working" (James 5:16)? Perhaps we prefer to remain insensitive to the spiritual realm around us, and the fear of what happens if we become a people of prayer overtakes our desire to practice it. Do we believe our God is slow or cruel or shallow? For if this is what is dictating our prayerlessness, we need an overhaul of the mind and heart. Beloved, I say this truth with as much love as I can muster: Stop making your God less than for He is FAR GREATER THAN. I know you're scared or sad or hurt or freaking out or anxious or mad or in those straits called Dire, but don't let your own lack of understanding and perspective distort your view of the Unchanging One.
It's time to recognize prayer for the extreme sport it is. Hectic chaos can come at you fast, do you have the spiritual agility to sprint to your Lord with your reaction so He can give you a response? Maybe there's a huge chasm that is standing between you and something He is asking you to do, do you have the guts to leap in faith (after all, with your God you can leap over a wall! 2 Samuel 22:30) and daily trust Him to increase your dependence on Him? Is He asking you to trust Him to go deeper in a relationship that you might be absolutely TERRIFIED of because of the sacrifices you know it will mean? Good thing you can pray! Good thing you have access to the One who holds your whole world in His hands! He ENABLES you to do spiritually what You did not think possible as His purposes are accomplished in your life. He can show you how to pray more specifically, more authentically, more OFTEN, and more MINDFUL of the fact that your life is NOT about you but about Him and His exceptional ability to perfectly perform flips of your circumstances or even of your heart.
May He increase the speed and dexterity of your walk with Him--yes, go deeper and higher with Him--that you might even become one known for a prayer life that resembles that of our Savior, who yes, is praying for YOU even now (Hebrews 7:25). And know that your life is safe with Him, that He will be with you as you take what may feel to you like risky and dangerous moves. And remember that trusting Him is not the scariest thing to do, it's the SAFEST.
The last bit of sand has made its way to the other end of the hourglass. What's been most surprising and ultimately supernatural is that I haven't been just sitting around watching it deplete. He's been keeping me otherwise occupied with Himself, reminding me that He is far better to look at than some kind of glass stopwatch.
I felt so drawn to return to the scene of the glorious sky crime from last week, to see if another sunrise held any glory, and boy, did it ever, as you can see, which was really only a fraction of the experience. This moment came on the heels of the reminder to let God inflate my hope to something bigger and better, and really more eternal than merely this earthly short-sighted dreams like, you know, a place to live.
This morning, I read Acts 9, and the account of the healing of Aeneas and the resurrection of Tabitha/Dorcas really stuck out. I just kept seeing this word pop up.
"And Peter said to him, 'Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; RISE and make your bed.' and immediately he rose. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord." v. 34-35
"But Peter put them [the widows and others] all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, 'Tabitha, ARISE,' And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord." v. 40-42
It is with those words running through my head that I gazed at the colorful heavens before me. Suddenly I heard another reminder:
"From the RISING of the sun to its setting,
the name of the LORD is to be praised!" Psalm 113:3
And all this on the dawn of the next chapter He is reading to me after a season of waiting. It's time.
For the next two weeks, I'll be staying with a gracious friend who God sent and who sought me out, and then I'll have another week with an additional friend. After that, I have a potential semi-permanent place to lay my head, but as those adjectives imply, even that is open to change. It would seem that my God is choosing to keep me close with opportunities to trust and that He is instructing me to praise Him all this day/chapter/season/adventure long. That includes declaring and testifying to any who read this. I have to tell you, urge you to know that He always comes through and is more faithful than the morning sun (yes, that's a Skillet reference).
I wonder how often Aeneas and Tabitha told of what Jesus Christ had done for them through Peter. I wonder if his words resonated in their head, if their hearts leapt when they heard someone say the word, "Rise" in any context, knowing the positive change it brought in their own lives. It doesn't surprise me that that word in Greek is associated with making FIRM, fix, and establish, Of course He would emphasize my Word of the Year in this emotionally fragile moment to remind me of His Solidness.
am thankful for a place to sleep tonight, for all those who sacrificially gave of their hearts and time in prayer for me, and mostly for the steadfast love and faithfulness of my One True Love. I look forward to continue to sojourn with him in both spiritual and physical ways and watching Him continue to provide and show Himself off.
Last week I read in Revelation that God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. It struck me that it was almost funny that He would describe Himself with words that have Time implications, since He is outside of it, and yet it speaks to His Authorship and Invention of it simultaneously. It was also one of those quiet times when I walked away asking Him why He needed to remind me of that awesome facet of His Person. And then I found out yesterday afternoon.
I heard again recently that expectations are not these negative things we often come to believe they are. The problem is when they go haywire and start to dictate our responses. Or worse yet when they actually hinder us from being obedient to God. Isn't it easy for our flesh to inflate them? And isn't it godly to keep them surrendered over to God , the Only One who is worth all our hope? I thought I would have at least 30 days to find a place to live once the house I'm living in would sell, but God has written that part of the story differently. The plot twist comes in the form of the reality that I need to be out in 168 hours. Yes, that's one week for my fellow non-math friends (I definitely googled it.) I've had outlandish and lavish grace extended to me for THREE. WHOLE. YEARS. in my living situation, and here I stand on the precipice of the next chapter. No, I'm not sure where I'll be sleeping next Sunday night. I don't anticipate that it will be in my car, though I'm sure Gigi (that's my car's name, don't judge), would love such a sweet bonding experience.
I want to testify to the perfect timing of God. Two weeks ago, something clicked. He had been doing this huge work in my life to rid me of what I think was years of sloth. I started getting up at 4am so that I could have time to work on ministries that He has stirred in my heart, on a new business venture that could hold some earthly promise, and I can't remember the last time my part-time online job has been so efficient as it has been with this new schedule. Freedom and relief have been these surprising banners over me. I also eliminated one of those things that has long entangled me in the form of copiously embarrassing yet culturally acceptable amounts of television for the better life. I share this because this is what God has been doing in me before His big reveal yesterday of 168 hours. Let me tell you, it is very tempting to want to take over and say: "Well, okay Lord, I guess that's all over now. It was a fun two weeks. But real life says I need to pay rent, and I can't do that with this present situation." I am definitely enticed to take matters into my own hands, blame Him for failing, even for teasing me with a wonderful work schedule. But my God is never surprised. It's impossible for the Omniscient, Wise God to be. So, as much as I want to be rash and start flailing in panic, I also can't ignore what He has been doing. If only I knew how this was all going to work out, how to trust Him with this, how they did it in the Bible.
It's not How, it's Who.
"From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, WHO ACTS FOR THOSE WHO WAIT FOR HIM. " Isaiah 64:4
"BY FAITH [THE ASSURANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR, THE CONVICTION OF THINGS NOT SEEN] Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going." Hebrews 11:8
I got to see the sunrise this morning at one of my favorite places and I couldn't help but think of what my Friend had told me last week: that He is the Beginning and the End, and what better picture could He have given for this moment in life? A visual of the night ending and the day arriving, dripping with newness. So, the place of faith that rests on the steadfast certainty of God is where you will (hopefully) find me this week, and I look forward to telling of the wonder that He has done, and I pray that the glory He receives from it far exceeds the beauty of the sunrise this morning.
Man, do I love a green light. All systems go. No holds barred. Pedal to the metal. (insert additional cliches here). It's especially thrilling with the windows down and my favorite song on the radio. A green light means action and moving forward, often follwed by a time of waiting. If I were to completely ignore such a law out of impatience or pride that I know best when I can go, trouble ensues.
Then there are those yellow lights. We know they're telling us to be cautious, but in practice we often treat them like their bluer counterpart because the thought of them becoming that awful shade of crimson will destroy our plans. We associate red with obstacle, naturally avoid them at all costs, rather than thinking about how they protect us.
This transition has been rank with lights, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't rev my engine every now vainly trying to force the light to change colors. But leave it to my Traffic Controller to provide some order to it all. See, I already have some green lights, and they shine brightly. And let me tell you that when waiting is pretty much the theme of your life song, you JUMP at the opportunity to DO.
I don't have to wait to live for Jesus. I don't have to wait to praise Him, to worship Him, to adore Him. I don't have to wait to acknowledge His goodness, to show Him how much I love Him by loving others. I don't have to wait to talk to Him about anything since I can boldy approach His throne. I don't have to wait to spend time with Him or to think about Him.
And here's what shattered my understanding the other day. There's only One Thing I'm waiting for. I'd like to settle and say: "I'm waiting on a job," "I'm waiting to hear back from so and so about this such and such," "I'm waiting to see what that person feels" and so on. That would be easy, wouldn't it? And that's what we do, isn't it? Well, I'll bite the proverbial bullet and say the hard thing, "I'm waiting for God." I wonder if it scares us because we have to recognize our attitude might be laced with anger at him for not working according to our time table. And that means we have to have an honest dialogue with Him about the condition of our hearts. Maybe it freaks us out to acknowledge that we do not think of Him as the Good and Sovereign God that He is. And I'm sure that's only the beginning of the list.
This psalm has been on my mind constantly this last week:
"For God ALONE my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
He ALONE is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken...
"For God ALONE, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
He ONLY is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. " Psalm 62: 1, 5-8
He is the ONLY One Who can resolve my present estate. He shuts and opens (Revelation 3:7). And when I own up to the truth that He ALONE is what/Who I am waiting on/for, then something awesome happens. My eyes are suddenly fixed on Him, my heart starts to experience the peace and hope and joy that comes from being in His presence, and my soul gets renewed and refreshed as I am reminded of His all-sufficient weary-dissipating Grace. My spiritual feet find their footing and I am safe from worries and shielded from the harm that comes from going my own way.
In that glowing amber light of His, I'm not thinking about the light turning red or waiting for it to turn green again, I'm occupied in mind, body, and heart with Him, the Refuge worthy of ALL my trust.
I don't know much about chess. I grew up in a Yahtzee household where the rattling of the dice echoed through the hallways and those who dared to challenge the Yahtzee Master did so knowing that failure to even come close to matching his high scores was certain. The lack of challengers didn't stop the Yahtzee Master though as that red cup and the dice themselves provided the necessary opposition.
Chess however, does require a rival and it seems like it's one of those games no one plays lightly. Appealing to the strategist (a term with which I'd never be associated), this game is far more of a marathon than a sprint (yet another reason you won't find me signing up for a tournament any time soon). There is probably even an IQ level circa the genius category that lets a person earn bragging rights for being able to handle the sheer volume of calculating moves in a given game.
Well, I didn't move out on September 10th. In fact, I sit here in the room I have called home since coming to California. The third sale was not the charm. Open houses and showings abound as I await the revealing of the next holy step He would have me take. Job interviews have come and gone, falling short in one way or another. I have wanted to leap at housing opportunities, but He has said, "Not yet." All of these suspended logistics make Doubt all the more tempting, alluring me to underestimate His power and coaxing me to question His love. It would be easy for me to choose to believe that my God is playing against me and that this particular move of His is taking forever to execute. (You know that rule where the piece isn't officially placed until you take your finger off it? One could argue that's what escrow feels like.) It would be easy to choose to be stagnant while I wait to see what He's going to do with that pawn.
But that is all operating under the premise that my God is against me, when His Word says that He is FOR me (Romans 8:31, Psalm 56:9). We are not pitted against each other, we are on the SAME SIDE; rather, we are playing against the dead version of who I was, the world, and yes, even that Dastardly Thief who thinks pretty highly of Himself. We must be of one mind to defeat the triplets of Doubt, Worry, and Anxiety; and I'm not going to lie, they make some pretty good power plays sometimes. Good thing Perfect Love, Jehovah Jireh, and the Worthy Object of Faith are on my team. Good thing He sees the whole board because I get stuck sometimes looking at one piece, trying to figure out what to do with it. Good thing I know Who wins in the end. Yes, that Day is coming when He says "Checkmate" to our enemy for the latter has nowhere to go, captured like the rat he is. What a Glorious Day that will be!
So, though I sometimes wish I had sneaky moves like a Knight, the graceful dance of a Bishop, or the flight of a Rook, I realize that I am not some Game Piece that my God is manipulating. No. Jesus died and rose again so we could be on the same team, so we could have a shared goal of making His Name famous. I choose to bank on His Flawless Genius and His Absolute Power, knowing He Who has the Skills and Ability to win my trust, will crush anything that threatens to thwart His purposes. This Master of All cheers me on to persevere and keeps me from loving Him or others half-heartedly so that time is not wasted.
I think he has well earned the title of Team Captain.
You know you love them. The speed of the sticks rapidly contributing to the dramatic pause before a big reveal. Your eyes are mesmerized by skilled hands, and you acknowledge the focus, dedication, and discipline of the drummer to be able to move so quickly. The longer the "roll," the more impressed you become when the cymbal finally announces it's time for the reveal. And as "striking" as a drum roll is (pun intended), those cymbals do offer relief as a break in what can feel auditorily monotonous. And, friends, true story: given my sprinting tendencies towards most things in life, I am usually ready for those gold discs to clang sooner than the average person.
There have been a couple of times when it looked like my Drummer was about to signal the end of this particular roll, only to keep right on hitting the snare drum of transition. As I keep my eyes on Him, it looks like once again He is heavenly moments away from bringing about change that I (and other warriors) have been praying about. Just a few earthly days after I return from visiting family and friends, I will be moving out. I still don't know where, I still don't have the job that can support that; but I am convinced that the One who sets the rhythm of my life, Who knows just how to keep my heart beating, has the chops to create amazing sounds with me. I know this because even while I have been hearing the downbeat of anxiety and fear, He has been using His Word to keep me upbeat, making sure that I am fully persuaded that He is near, that He can't forget the one who has been permanently tattooed on His hands. He plays the tempo, keeping perfect time so that as I wait for the unveiling, I can sing. And OH! How He knows how much I love to sing! I can sing praises to Him for what He has done that I have seen in His Word and in my life, I can sing in thanksgiving for what He is doing now that I can and cannot see, and I can rejoice in Him because He is making Himself known and will never withhold good from those who love Him!
I have felt the length of this drum roll, and yes, sometimes I have grown so accustomed to hearing it that I forgot He was still playing, but that doesn't mean He stopped. Yes, He is a Master Drummer, He holds the world in those Hands, and He has NEVER given me a reason NOT to trust Him. Although everything in me still wants to set the tempo, deliverance can't come from me. When have I ever been able to save myself?
I know that He will hit the cymbals at just the right time not just in my life but in yours, fellow follower. And rest in the knowledge that He won't let us miss the clang or the subsequent reveal! Hallelujah!
I've been holding my breath for the last couple of months. My relationships with others have been suspended, a somewhat unexpected, yet not atypical by-product of the Land of In-Between; since truthfully I am wrongfully and irresponsibly protecting myself should He lead me away from this place. Questions keep piling up like that laundry I really ought to do, but I can't seem to bring myself to do any sorting because there are just too many to know what to tackle first. So many of my days seem to start off with, "I need to..." or "I should really..." only to end with nothing to show for them other than clocking in and out of my part-time job. Please don't misunderstand. It hasn't all been agony and anguish. I have also enjoyed His Sweet Honey in ways that I have not known before, tasting and seeing His faithful goodness in new things, even grasping the joy of His Sovereignty that has formerly eluded me. So, really the best description of this "strange season" as I've been "affectionately" terming it, is a mixed bag, as my mother and I often call it.
He must have noticed because He decided to show me a corner piece of this puzzle that has been sitting in front of me. This transition now has a date: August 5th, 2016. It's the date I am moving out because by God's grace, wisdom and lovingkindness, He has sold the house I'm living in. I picked up the piece and stared at it for awhile, terrified and excited, mostly the latter because it means He's doing something. Of course, I knew this, but with the reality of the piece now sitting in my hand, it's harder to forget.
The last time the "When" piece was the last one He gave, so my creative God launched a new initiative this time around. How like Him to find the way that will keep me trusting! Of course, I immediately started digging in the sea of pieces to try and find those other corners like "Where," "How," and "What" but he must have hidden them somewhere for now and wants me to be thankful and rejoice that the puzzle will one day be finished so that He can even now receive glory for what He is going to do for His Name's Sake.
If my life were about me, then panic, fear, depression, and paralysis would be winning a lot of my days; that's the question I use as the grip stop for the slippery surface: "Is your life about you?" If my life is about God, then my task now is to praise Him and thank Him for what He is doing, to worship Him for His Sovereignty and celebrate that His plans cannot be thwarted. I know what it is to waste precious time fretting and forgoing peace, and I certainly don't want to look back and regret ungodly behavior during what could have been a beautiful, not just a strange, season.
If you're reading this and the Lord leads you, would you pray for me? Would you pray that I might not get so bogged down and overwhelmed that I am incapacitated? Would you pray that He gently and clearly shepherds this dumb little sheep? Would you pray that under His wings I find refuge? And would you pray against that ferocious lion who is cunningly flinging a barrage of darts at me?
My Goshen is nigh, and I have never needed the Lord God more.
Sweet resurrection. The moment when life is returned where it was once lost, sucked dry, or abandoned. An impossible reversal, humanly speaking. In fact, the very concept of resurrection brings with it ideas of transition, so it seemed timely to process it here in light of the most cherished celebration of our Conquering King.
The sheer volume of change I have encountered in my life is staggering, and I'm sure you could say the same.The other night I wrote out the number of times I've physically relocated in the course of my life and it came to 13 (I think), and that's not even counting the times where I've switched jobs or churches, or the times a relationship of any kind has undergone a season of difficulty looking different on the other side. This begs the question, "Why so MUCH, Lord?" Yes, it is to make us rely and depend on You, to deepen our relationship (THANK YOU for loving us that much!), but what if it is also intended to remind us of the Victory that is synonymous with Your Name? What if every time it is to remind us of his PAST SALVATION that we might gain hope for the IMMINENT DELIVERANCE of our present circumstance? How would transition look different if our thoughts went to His Resurrection every time and STAYED. FIRMLY. FIXED. THERE?
My Lord and my God always know when to appear, when to prove that my faith in Him is worth its weight. One of the coolest things about this facet of His person is that even before He reveals Himself, he encourages faithful perseverance by His Spirit. Even today, I witnessed His divine orchestration and knew His Spirit was affirming His presence in one way, that I might be encouraged to persevere across all the other proverbial boards in my life. What kind of God does that? The kind Whose Power can bring Himself back to life because death has no hold on Him. Look at the uplifting words he utters TO US, His followers: "'Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed'" (John 20:29). Did you see that? BLESSING (literally meaning, well off, experience the highest form of good!) is in NOT seeing yet believing anyway.
That's right. Big news. And maybe something no one has told you before. Because of the faith required in transition, it is RANK with blessing. When that attitude shifts to seeing change as blessing, it becomes the deodorant to our often foul mistrust, making us the once again pleasing aroma to our God.
God's domain is in the seen and in the unseen and probably whatever third, fourth and fifth dimensions of which we are unaware. He is THAT thorough with His authority and dominion. He is our Guide when we are being led in a way that we don't presently know, nor have known before. He is our Light in the darkness of change, our Road Roller for the uneven places in the asphalt of our lives, never once forsaking us or keeping things hidden any longer than absolutely necessary (Isaiah 42:16).
So, if all of this is true, why would we want to forfeit our own "highest good," the blessing His grace longs to bestow by ignoring, sleeping through or trying to rush what our Perfect, Timely and Never-Wasting God is out to accomplish? I don't know that we would--I don't know that I would--want to vainly attempt to thwart His activity.
Oh, may He open our blind eyes to see all that is eternal!
"If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you." Romans 8:11