In 1988, three friends and I climbed Mount Lyell, the highest peak in Yosemite National Park. Our base camp was less than 2,000 feet from the peak, but the clinb to the top and back was to take the better part of a day, due in large part to the difficulty of the glacier we had to cross to get to the top. The morning of the climb we started out chattering and cracking jokes.
As the hours passed, the two more experienced mountaineers opened up a wide gap between me and my less-experienced companion. Being competitive by nature, I began to look for shortcuts to beat them to the top, I thought I saw one to the right of an outcropping of rock- so I went, deaf to the protests of my companion.
Perhaps it was the effect of the high altitude, but the significance of the two experienced climbers not choosing this path did not register in my consciousness. It should have, for thirty minutes later I was trapped in a cul-de-sac of rock atop Lyell Glacier, looking down several hundred feet of a sheer slope of ice, pitched at about a fourty-five degree angle… I was only about ten feet from the safety of a rock, but one little slip and I wouldn’t stop sliding until I landed in the valley floor some fifty miles away! It was nearly noon, and the warm sun had the glacier glistening with slippery ice. I was stuck, and I was scared.
It took an hour for my experienced climbing friends to find me. Standing on the rock I wanted to reach, one of them leaned out and used an ice axe to chip two little footsteps in the glacier. Then he gave me the following instructions: “Ben, you must step out from where you are and put your foot where the first foothold is. When your foot touches it, without a moment’s hesitation swing your other foot across and land it on the next step. When you do that, reach out and I will take your hand and pull you to safety.”
That sounded real good to me. It was the next thing he said that made me more frightened than ever. “But listen carefully: As you step across, lean out a bit. Otherwise, your feet may fly out from under you, and you will start sliding down.”
I don’t like precipicies. When I am on the edge of a cliff, my instincts are to lie down and hug the mountain, to become one with it, not to lean away from it! But that was what my good friend was telling me to do. For a moment, based solely on what I beleived to be the good will and good sense of my friend, I decided to say no to what I felt, to stifle my impulse to cling to the security of the mountain, to lean out, step out, and traverse the ice to safety. It took less than two seconds to find out if my faith was well founded.
To save us, God often tells us to do things that are the opposite of our natural inclination. Is God loving and faithful? Can we trust him?
He is. We can.
Is it time for you to step out from where you are? (from the safety of where you have been or from the danger of your ill-advised short cut?)
It is for me and I will share with you my new venture in a few days.
Let’s take the step and lean out!
1, Fresh Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching from Leadership Journal – Edward K. Rowell; Faith, pg. 62
What good is one person, one voice, one idea? Can one person really make any difference in the world today? One is outnumbered in every field, demeaned among ruling class, and considered impossible odds for any victory. As the song goes, “one is the lonliest number.” (1)
But one is also uniquely powerful and necessary. Consider if you will, the number 1 in mathematics. It is:
the only number that is the same in binary, base 10 and Roman Numerals
the only positive whole number which is neither prime nor composite
the first odd number, the first triangular, square, pentagonal and hexagonal number
the first tetrahedral, cube and Fibonacci number
used to make up all other whole numbers (2)
The number one, shall we say, is the building block of all other numbers. Oh, the power of one!
Furthermore, where would we be without these singular men of history and their contributions?
Alexander the Great
Martin Luther King
Oh, the power of one!
I can hear some of you thinking, ok, but, but I’m not a DaVinci, Socrates, Alex. Albert, or Jesus. There’s no way lil’ ole me is gonna make any meaningful impact on the world. It is to you and every reader, I would ask to continue reading, to the end of this blog, and see if, in fact YOU, really can make a difference. Oh, the power of one.
As I was seeking the Lord on January 1, of this new year (2022), I was drawn to this chapter of Isaiah, chapter 51. In it, I believe lie strong words for us in this coming year. Here’s how it starts:
” Listen to me, all you who are serious about right living and committed to seeking God. Ponder the rock from which you were cut, the quarry from which you were dug. Yes, ponder Abraham, your father, and Sarah, who bore you. Think of it! One solitary man when I called him, but once I blessed him, he multiplied. Likewise, I, God, will comfort Zion, comfort all her mounds of ruins. I’ll transform her dead ground into Eden, her moonscape into the garden of God, a place filled with exuberance and laughter, thankful voices and melodic songs.”
Isaiah 51:1-3 The Message
IF you are serious about living the right way and committed to seeking God’s way, then this word tells us to consider Abraham and his barren wife, Sarah. Think about him and reflect on his life. As believers, those who have been called to the faith, Abraham is considered our father – for scripture declares him to be the father of the faith. Genesis 17, Romans 4. (for Jews, Christians and Muslims)
Here was one man who was going about his life, tending his flocks, loving his barren wife and believing in Yahweh to meet his every need. Here was one man alone with his faith in something bigger and better than what his eyes observed. Here was “one solitary man, when I called him, but once I blessed him, he multiplied.”
God, taking note of the faith of this one man Abram, told him that he would indeed be blessed and have a son and he would be the father of a great mutitude. Then God told him to look into the night sky and count the stars; for his offspring would be more numerous than those stars. Later he spoke again and told Abraham (his name got changed too) that his long-time barren wife would bear him a son and they would call him Isaac.
That’s a heartwarming and compassionate story – a couple will be blessed and have a baby. Yay, God. But let’s not forget, they were both very OLD – and having a baby at their age was impossible. Geesh! Abraham was nearly 100 years old and Sarah nearly 90. That baby-making ship had sailed a loooooong time ago.
After Abraham and Sarah laughed at the impossibility before them, we are told this about their faith:
Abraham believed against hope- that means that even when it seemed hopeless, Abe believed Yahweh
He did not weaken in his faith, considering Sarah’s barren womb
No unbelief made him waver in God’s promises
He grew stronger in his faith
He was fully convinced God could do what He promised
Romans 4:18-21 ESV
(Just a side note, on the human side, imagine a 99 year old man and his 89 year old barren wife acting on this promise for a pregnancy and baby boy. THAT took some faith!!)
No wonder we are encouraged to consider, think about and remember Abraham (in 2022). Why? Because, just like our father Abraham, we face impossibilities. We face years of endless barreness and hopeless situations. We face old desires unfulfilled and we need comfort in our wasteplaces and wildernesses.
We too, when all hope seems gone, must believe in Yahweh. We too, must remember that there is no barren womb, when God plants the seed of promise, vision and dreams there. We too, will grow stronger in our faith when we lean fully on God’s promises.
Because Abraham, one man, choose to believe in God, do the right thing and seek God’s ways, God built from that 1, all other people of faith through the generations! Through Abraham, every nation on earth has been blessed. Oh, the power of one.
My friend, you are but one small voice of the 107 billion that have ever lived here, but oh the power of that one.
Noah, Abram, Joseph, Moses, Deborah, David, Rahab, Esther, Isaiah, Peter and YOU- one voice, one man or woman – yielded in unwavering faith, fully convinced that God is able to do what He says, no matter the impossible circumstances. The twelve disciples were singular individuals as well, who determined to join with others and follow one man – Jesus. Of these it was said, “They (Paul and Silas) have turned the world upside down.” Acts 17:6
Our world needs to be turned right side up, because it is awfully upside down right now. Wrong is considered right. Injustice is considered justice. Lawbreakers are considered innocent. Innocent are considered guilty. Men are considered women and vice versa. Isolation is considered freedom. Our world is upside down and it seems impossible to change.
Not, however, for the ONE who remembers Abraham and reminds him or herself that we serve a God of the impossible and we will not waver in our trust of Him.
No one else sees through your eyes, hears through your ears, feels deeply like you do, senses intuitively like you do. No one else has your vast experiences of pain, joy, victories and failures, no one else is you. You are ONE of a kind and you have influence and opportunity where no one else does.
God sees you this new year, 2022. May He see in you the unwavering confidence in Him that chooses to turn this world right side up, one conversation, one idea, one person at at time. If you see only impossibilities, remember Abraham our father and Sarah our mother…. there’s nothing impossible with God.
You can and will make a difference in 2022.
Oh, the power of one.
Go with God,
“One is the Lonliest Number”, Three Dog Night, 1969
What if you were promised everything you could ever need would be given to you?
Add to that the promise of always being productive and useful.
But wait, that’s not all, top it off with you will never fall away.
I was struck this week with these three superlatives.
And my thoughts went something like, “ I am being promised everything I could ever need, in a useful and productive life, that will last forever… what kind of fool would say no to this offer?” Fully realizing there were countless numbers doing just that and I too have refused the offer or at least parts of it at times.
Here’s the context.
Peter, the walker on water, cutting off the ear, denier, disciple wrote these promises in his second letter, and first chapter.
There, in verse 3 he says,
“Everything we could ever need in life and godliness has been given to us.”
2 Pet. 1:3
Wait, whaaat? I already have everything I could ever need???
Peter says yes!
How is that so?
Pete tells us that when we come to know Jesus, in Him, we find and have everything we will ever need for life and godliness.
Why do we fight so hard against living a spiritual life? Why do we think we know better and God’s way isn’t enough? Why do we think living for Jesus is hard and boring and not for us?
Getting to know Jesus, spending time with Him, talking to Him, listening to Him, reading His word IS everything we could ever need. In HIM, knowing Him, is where we find all we need. In Him is where we find all we need for our life and living godly.
Peter calls this, “the rich experience of knowing Him.” This is the foundation for everything; our needs, hopes, questions, desires… the experience of knowing Him is vast, deep, precious, enlightening, puzzling, amazing, fearful and beautiful all at the same time. All we need is found in Him.
What kind of fool would say no to this offer?
Peter goes on to say,
“If you possess these qualities they will keep you from being inactive and unproductive”
2 Pet. 1:8
What qualities? Are they something unrealistic, hard to do, out of reach?
These are the qualities he lists: faith, goodness, understanding, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mercy and love.
Are they unrealistic? Are they impossible and out of our reach to display and practice in your life?
The promise is if we possess these qualities, they will keep us from being inactive and unproductive.
They are not unrealistic qualities if we are enjoying the experience of knowing Him. If we are in touch with Him, His Word and voice, these qualities should be abounding in our life. If we are out of step with Him, chances are pretty good these qualities will be lacking and so too our productiveness.
Check it, though. If we possess these qualities, we will not be inactive or unproductive. Wow.
What kind of fool would say no to this offer?
The final trifecta promise is you will never fall away. Never! Think of that. Never stumble. This of course is speaking spiritually. Stumbling spiritually is falling down, tripping up.
What’s the prerequisite for this NEVER stumble promise?
“If you do these things you will never stumble.”
2 Pet. 1:10
What things? So, what things, exactly do I need to do?
The things listed above-
Possess those 8 qualities
If we are in relationship knowing Him and those 8 qualities are springing from our life, we will never stumble. We will be secure.
Isn’t that so true? Haven’t you found that when you are NOT in relationship with Him and some or all of these 8 qualities are absent from your life, you trip up all over the place?
Why do we fight so hard against living a spiritual life? In it we have all we need, we are active and productive and we won’t trip up!??
In our relationship with Jesus, we have everything we could ever need.
I used to have this picture of faith as being like a pair of glasses that we put on to see things differently, from God’s perspective, but that’s not really accurate. Faith is more like the default of our personal hard drive that has been intentionally built and added to.
Faith is the CORE processor of our heart and thereby directs every issue of our life. Every.
We are told in Luke 1:37:
“Nothing will be impossible with God…”
Luke, the doctor
I believe that word, don’t you?
I am struck however, that although nothing is impossible with God, pleasing God without faith is impossible.
Let that sink in. It is absolutely impossible to please God without faith. No way ever, in anything that we do, will we ever please God if we do not have faith. Ever. Faith is the CORE processor of our heart and directs every issue of our life – or it should.
Faith is an active trust in God and His Word. There is no such thing as “blind faith” because faith is anchored to trust in something (someOne) that we cannot see and an unwavering confidence in the promise of His presence and promise. It is all the evidence we need to prove what is still unseen. (TPT Heb. 11:1)
Faith is an issue of the heart and not an external thing we “put on” to see things differently. If that were so, then when I take off, those “faith glasses”, I no longer see clearly what I should. But with the heart core tethered to the Word, then it matters little the external issues, because my heart is set on Him and His Word and I shall not be moved.
There is much seeking to destroy our faith, but stated another way, there is great opportunity these days to confidently display the faith that keeps us, and in doing so we are pleasing God. By adhering to faith in all we do, say, think we are really, truly pleasing God.
To muddle through life’s encounters and daily routines without faith, is not pleasing to God. In fact, we are not pleasing Him. How many days have been wasted like that? How much power and encouragement, answers and wisdom has been lost, because our CORE was not set in faith?
We know that Hebrews 11 in the Bible is known as the faith chapter and in it are listed “heroes of faith”. It is from this chapter we read about the impossibility of pleasing God…
“Without faith it is impossible to please God.”
In this chapter over 18 people are mentioned as having faith, their exploits are listed, the prophets are listed, “people” are credited with faith, as are women. In fact there are at least 50 incidents of faith listed that cover every spectrum of life from basic assurances to jeers, to family blessings, imprisonment, to discovery, to justice, to wisdom and revelation, and more.
I want to present what I call FAITH’S 50 to you, for you to see just how far reaching faith is and how it touches every imaginable situation. It truly is the CORE processor of our heart and directs every issue of our life.
Hebrews 11:1-40, FAITH’S 50(what faith provides and in what situations you will find it)
moves us to better places (Abel)
keeps instructing beyond death (Abel)
takes us to the next life (Enoch)
pleases God (Enoch)
opens up revelation (Noah)
motivates obedience (Abraham)
unleashes discovery “
strengthens immigrants “
enables God’s miracle (Sarah)
offers God everything (Abraham)
blesses children (Isaac)
prophecies over grandkids (Jacob)
opens eyes to the future (Joseph)
prompts hope (Moses’ parents)
guides choices (Moses)
helps us keep sacraments (Moses)
opens up impossible situations (people)
pulls down walls (Joshua)
provides escape (Rahab)
quenches firey flames
strengthens the weak
empowers for battle
routes the enemy
sawed in half
killed with sword
we are invited to join these “heroes”
to live in something better (for us)
and better than “they” experienced
together with them our faith is perfected!
I realize that this is a long list, but it is my hope that in it you will find instances that you can relate to that will reset your faith CORE, so that you too, will please God with your faith.
We are all journeying in our faith walk and find ourselves in differing situations needing our faith. Let your faith muscle be exercised in these situations, let that tiny mustard seed of faith be watered and grow into a mighty tree. Let your voice be joined with the disciples as they said, “Increase our faith.” Luke 17:5
With greater use comes greater faith and greater confidence. In the hard times, in the happy times, when pressed and emptied and when full and overflowing – may the CORE of our heart be pleasing to God as we walk in faith, in all situtations.
These are exciting times to be alive! We stand on the brink of a tremendous visitation and outpouring of God, and those who live by faith will not just be on the front row but be used by God, because they please Him with their faith.
My husband, the President, and Justin Turner, to name a few. Who do you know that’s been tested? Who do you know that has tested positive?
Of the three I listed above, two tested positive, one tested negative. One failed the test.
The Bible is always relevant, check out this passage about testing positive, in 2 Corinthians 13:5.
” Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular check ups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.“
Paul, the writer here, urges the people of the churches in Corinth to test themselves and see if they test positive for Jesus. And if they test negative, to do something about it.
How simple is that? What a clear challenge.
Using the original language, a transliteration of that verse would more accurately read, “Test, scrutinize and prove yourselves. Could your convictions relating to God and your convictions relating to Jesus Christ be approved or rejected?”
I love the fact here that the testing is done as a self assessment. We look at ourselves seeking proof, or evidence that Jesus Christ resides in us. No one else is judging us, we get the first look, the first cut as it were.
How do we know if Jesus is in us? How can you tell? What evidence or proofs are there?
We can tell if Jesus is in us by what comes out of us. The evidence is our actions, words, habits – our fruit.
There are all sorts of things that are tested and done so with the sole intent as to prove its quality and what lies within.
Athletes are tested.
Coach Bear Bryant said, “If a man is a quitter I’d rather find out in practice than in a game.” He therefore designed grueling practices for his teams all intended to show the quitters. He said, “Championships are won when the stages are empty.” He knew if an athlete could survive the practice runs and plays, they proved themselves worthy and passed the test for the big game.
Swords are tested.
Taken from the sheath long before war, swords are tested in peace, under stress, fire and disaster drills when there is no real danger. They are tried, scrutinized, and approved for battle.
Gold and silver are tested.
Gold is put in a crucible and heated to 1100 degrees Celsius allowing the dross (impurities) to rise to the surface, where it is then skimmed off. The process is repeated until there are no impurities left.
Silver goes through “fire assaying”, which is the process of separating all of its impurities. Again, the goal is to test what is inside as pure, to at least 92.5% silver. Thus silver 925.
We, people, believers are tested, too.
We are told in 1 Peter 4:12, to not be surprised or think that it is strange that we are being tested.
1 Peter 1:7 says that the test is to prove the genuineness of our faith and remove the impurities. When the heat is up, the impurities come out until all that’s left is Jesus. So that one day, when the heat comes up, all that comes out of us is Jesus, no more impurities.
Psalm 66:10 – “For you, God tested us; you refined us like silver.”
James 1:2-4 is a classic passage, reminding us that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. Very much like the practice runs and plays by Coach Bryant, the practice sessions for us in the heat of life will reveal what we’re made of and whether or not we are quitters.
Those who persevere, do not quit. With each test, they are proven solid in their faith and test positive for Jesus emanating from their life.
If in the test, they test negative for Jesus, they do something about it. They check the symptoms and do what is needed to correct the evidence.
Testing negative for Jesus is no reason to quit. The testing is meant to produce perseverance in you. Get back up, get right, and keep on walking. “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” Proverbs 24:16
THAT is perseverance. Doing something about the negative test and getting ready for the next test. Cuz you know, it’s coming.
The tests will continue until there are no impurities left. Until only Jesus is left. Only his reactions, words, mind, attitude, feelings, emotions, ways, and thoughts.
So we will have ample opportunities for testing positive for Jesus.
And there is even a promise –
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
One other thought in closing.
The heat of life, the tests of life come to us to reveal to us what lies within our heart. To give us firsthand evidence or proof of what we’re made of. God already knows whether we test positive or negative for him – he wants us to know. So he has designed these practice runs to reveal what is in us. Deuteronomy 8:2; Job 23:10
Returning to and reviewing our starting text, the charge is – give yourselves regular check ups – check for firsthand evidence of Jesus in your life and seek to test positive, but if you fail, do something about it.
Because we are living in days of testing, and we need to test positive.
When you receive “a bad report”, when you are feeling the walls closing in on you, when circumstances go from bad to worse – how big is your God?
When you see no way possible, when funds are low and stressors are high – how big is your God?
When you have prayed and see no “answer”, when you read and see “no answer”, when your faith is all but gone – how big is your God?
How big is your God? Does your God even care? Is He listening?
Is He bigger than your situation? Bigger than your problem? Is He bigger than you can imagine? What are His limitations? How big is your God?
Is your God made by man? Ideas prescribed by human thinking? Is your God based on the philosophies of man and man’s wisdom?
What God is it that receives your praise? Your strength? Your time? How big is your God?
This is a simple call to all who will listen, how big is your God? Because in these days, the god you lean upon, should be the One you trust in, invest in and be the One who saves, strengthens and uses you. So, how big is He?
Who has scooped up the ocean in his two hands, or measured the sky between his thumb and little finger…
Think of it, visualize it… God, holding up his thumb and little finger in front of him and using it to measure the expanse of the skies, from one end of the universe to the other. On my hand, that span barely measures 7 inches. The God of the universe measures that very universe as a master navigator or chief contractor with his thumb and little finger.
That’s a big God!
That is a God who’s power is limitless. Who’s attention to detail never misses even the slightest change or move. That is a God who not only cares about every detail in his creation’s life but is big and powerful enough to provide the very answer to every need that his creation has.
That’s a big God. That’s our God.
“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: who created all these? He who brings out all the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”
That is the very God who cares for you; is able to provide for you all you need. That is the God who has the answers, wisdom, strength, and is always listening to prayers. He will never, ever leave you on your own to figure it out by yourself.
That is a big God, yet that is a personal, loving and all sufficient God, who simply asks for your devotion. That’s a deal I’ll take any day!
Our God is limitless, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and best of all loving. He will not be confined, limited, shut down, or locked up. He is the Great “I AM”, who will be there for you in every situation.
Years ago there was a show our family loved to watch – Fear Factor. Joe Rogan, now famous podcaster was the host and he had individuals do the scariest and most fearful things. It was creepy, scary, and fun to watch.
I wish I could say the same about the fear factor in each of our lives. Watching how we handle fear in our life, what we do with it, how we manage it is not nearly as much fun as watching Joe Rogan. But regardless, we are faced with our own fears and how we handle them is vital.
We all have fears. Fears of one kind or another. And even though we were born with just two fears, there are six basic fears we all must deal with.
The two fears we are born with
fear of falling
fear of loud noises
Six basic fears
loss of love from someone
Most of us deal with multiple fears. Hey, welcome to humanity. So check out the list, identify yours.
Here’s the deal though, each of those 6 fears have multiple symptoms that demonstrate in our life. And that is where it becomes very complicated and tangled.
Let me list symptoms and you associate each with the fear you think it is a symptom of:
lack of ambition
keeping up with the Jones’
lack of exercise or over exercise
fear of failure
I actually have a book with lists beside me with dozens of symptoms for each of those fears, not just these listed. So, if we are living and breathing, there’s quite a pile of tangled strings for us to undo.
But that is the key – we each have to manage that ball of twisted symptoms and fears. Denial doesn’t work, it just pushes fear below the surface. But denial also makes personal growth and progress impossible. When the symptoms aren’t heeded and dealt with our life becomes stressed, overwhelmed, depressed, out of balance, and eventually we are being managed by the fear, rather than us managing the fear.
We make excuses, procrastinate, have diversions, avoid, find fault, etc., etc., etc. when fear is ruling our life. I know, I do it.
So what’s the answer?
Anthony Robins, in Awaken the Giant Within, has a 6 step plan that I have whittled down to 3 steps: (sorry Anthony, it works better for me.)
ONE – Identify your fear
TWO – Redirect your fear
THREE – Act on your fear
Identify your fear – call it out, unmask it. Don’t deny it. My personal fear project for nearly a year has been the fear of failure. That belongs to the fear of criticism from the list above.
Redirect your fear – Science tells us you get what you focus on. So if I want failure, I should focus on it. But I don’t want failure, so I must redirect my focus. I choose to focus on success, God’s ability to help me through, and placing my trust in Him and His ability. I redirect my focus on trusting God who is with me, and not on my debilitating fear.
Act on it – it’s pretty easy to say I trust Him, but I must act on it. Faith without works is dead, empty, void, a lie. Taking action on my fear is fearful! No lie. But each time I do, and by repeated practice, my strength becomes greater, my trust in Him becomes greater and that fear diminishes. Without action, nothing would change. I must be brave and step into action.
Just a note here. Most of my blogs are intentionally not overtly or overwhelmingly biblical. That is by design. However, with this particular theme today, I must say, that the only way to overcome your fears that will last is by learning to trust Jesus as your focus, rather than your fears. Practice redirecting your focus on Him. Take your eyes off of your fear and step toward Him. You will never be disappointed.
“You have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
The most frequent command in the Bible is DO NOT BE AFRAID.
There’s a reason for that.
We humans are so fearful. But our God cares and will unravel our sorted mess of fears and symptoms if we focus on Him and place our trust in Him, thereby conquering The Fear Factor.
It would be easy to say “Prayer changed (es) nothing”, or “I see no change”. We had a National Day of Prayer, so what? Big deal! No change.
Let’s be real. Your state has probably amped up it’s restrictions and guidelines. You most likely have family members and loved ones affected in some way. The places you frequent may be closed and your vacation plans are pending major change. Shoot, my son’s wedding, in Hawaii in May is in jeopardy! AND, this what we found at the store today!
But prayer is not an Amazon order. Place your order and have it delivered in one or two days.
The results of prayer are sometimes obvious and other times not. Sometimes immediate other times delayed. Additionally, the results of prayer are not always outcome driven, results orientated. They often have much more have to do with the process, development, personal growth and increase.
That process is most often linked to growing in faith and reliance upon Someone bigger than me, more powerful, trustworthy and really in charge. Because, even though I am driven to be in charge, I really am not. I do not control it all. I must therefore learn to yield my perceived “in charge” to the One who really is.
I believe we will see results, obvious ones, outcome driven ones as a result of the National Day of Prayer. I will share more about that in a moment.
In the “inbetween” time, what do we do?
“Ask and keep on asking. Seek and keep on seeking. Knock and keep on knocking.”
Matthew the disciple, chapter 7 verse 7
Again, prayer isn’t a one time shot – like the famed “hail Mary pass”. It’s a process of trusting in Someone bigger than myself and learning to lean on that strength and understanding. It is having faith in something I don’t see. (Like results). It’s trusting His process in and through me.
With all that being said, I do want to share a personal experience or result that came to me yesterday, on our prayer day.
I was impressed to go the beach and stand on the shoreline and pray. So, guess where I went? On the way, I was reminded of Job’s encounter with God in chapter 38, when God basically blasts Job for his know it all attitude and pelts Job with question after question about creation, nature, weather, and affairs of the man. It is in verse 10 & 11 where God says,
“… I fixed limits for the sea, I said this far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.”
And in that moment, I knew, those words were God’s words to us. In this time. This season. His promise was, that just as the ocean has been appointed limits and boundaries set, so too this virus had set limits and boundaries. AND, as we unite in prayer, those boundaries could be affected and even reduced. Therefore, I was to pray at the beach, on the boundary where sea meets land, “This far and no farther o’ virus. You are under the control of the creator and His limits.”
So what happened? Did the virus miraculously dry up and die? Did it physically leave the bodies it had entered? Did those we lost because of it return to their families? Did the panic and fear disappear?
I dunno. I didn’t see those results. But what I did see (hear and read actually) was increased measures being taken to CONTAIN the virus. Calls for a 15 day containment plan/period. Calls to 65 and older community, to restaurants, movie theatres, libraries. All with the purpose of tightening the lasso on the virus. Enforcing it’s boundaries. Limiting exposure.
“This far and no farther.” Containment. No further infections.
This is again where that whole results thing comes in. I cannot control the results. But I trust and keep on asking the One who does control them. Stop this virus, reel it in, arrest it. I don’t stop or quit. The results are His, but in the process my own life benefits and I grow personally.
So, just maybe there are some pretty miraculous things growing in you, in our nation, in the world as a result of prayer. Let’s keep on asking and trusting Him for the results.