Hiding Place

    Psalm 32:7 “You are a hiding place for me…”

    Insecurity is a bully. It picks on the weak link. It preys on vulnerability. It stalks the hurt ones. It minimizes your worth and most of all Gods glory. I read something a few weeks ago, an article that someone had shared on Facebook. The point was for women to stop telling each other “you are a daughter of the king” and to “look to the king.” The idea was that upon pronouncing and encouraging each other with the truth, that somehow we are being selfish-taking the glory from God. I immediately hit the “like”button but as the weeks have flown by, I couldn’t stop pondering over it. I would go back and forth over the subject, usually settling somewhere in the middle.Then God clarified the chaotic debate within my mind; “to know who you truly are , you must know who I truly am. To truly worship me ,you must know who and what I have declared over you to be true. If one questions their identity, they will question Me, for your identity is lost in Mine.”
    Shallow. That’s the point the writer of the article was making. They were making the assumption that those who focus on their identity lack spiritual depth. 
    I had the honor and the privilege to speak to a group of girls last week. As I searched the Lords heart for a lesson through prayer, the single word insecurity kept rising up in my spirit. For I knew that if they realized who they are in Christ at such a young age their lives would be different. As I stood on the platform my eyes surveyed the room, there were ladies from around 8 years old all the way up into 50/60’s. As I taught what God had taught me, I saw a thread that ties all women of all ages together; we had all been struck down by the blows of insecurity. 

    Insecurity is simply the emotion we feel when we are vulnerable. The threat of uncertainty (whether outward or inward) makes us crave a hiding place. Somewhere or something that makes us feel safe. 
    The woman at the well in John 4, was marked by insecurity. She would go fetch water at noon, when no one else was around. She isolated herself so no one would see. She came that day to exchange her empty water jar for a full one.  But instead a divine exchange took place; one where temporal satisfaction was traded for eternal security. She had been seeking temporal worldly solutions to a eternal spiritual problem. She was trying to satisfy the craving for truth with lies. Trying to justify her hunger for security,she went from man to man, seeking something she could not find. She was looking for something, anything, that would bail her out of the turmoil from within. Something in the depths of her soul screamed for a safe place to land….

    Insecurity oozes out of our hearts and into our actions. It’s not long before it takes root in our lifestyle. It effects the way we communicate with other people, the way we make decisions, it can even be a player on how we serve God. 
    Insecurity does not only effect ourselves, it effects the kingdom of God. We each have a personal purpose laid upon our heads. John 15:16 the Word says “you did not choose me, but I chose you and I appointed you that you should go and bear fruit.” We have been saved and called into a personal relationship with Christ and appointed to a purpose on this planet. Vertical-from Gods heart to our own. The word appointed is so interesting, it actually means “to lay horizontal.” So as our personal calling is between ourselves and the Lord Jesus, we have a mission given by Him that will connect the world to God through us-Horizontal purpose meets vertical calling and we have a diagram of personal purpose; the cross. 
    Our personal purpose is found in the cross of Jesus Christ. If we are too scared, too timid, to take hold of that purpose than Gods kingdom is cheated; all because we didn’t truly understand we are a daughter of the king. 

    The greatest threat to your calling is your own insecurity. 
    Identity means “oneness”. Paul uses the phrase “in Christ” 164 times in his epistle writings. The idea insisted upon by the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul was; for believers to realize their identity SO THAT they could act like who they are. 

    America is in turmoil. For some, they believe their identity as a woman is being highjacked. Women’s marches are popping up in cities, large and small, all over our wonderful nation. They march for their rights, when the only march that will define us is the march to the cross! You want to fight for your identity? March to the cross and to the Word! There is your victory. 

    Christ sets the parameters of our identity, not circumstances or choices. 

    You are not limited by your accomplishments and you are more than what you are not- because Christ is more. 
    Eph 2:5-6 “even when we’re dead in our trespasses, (he)made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus..”

    Even though we live in the world our identity and our resources come from a higher plane. Tozer says: “We must avoid the common fault of pushing the “other world” into the future. It is not future but present. It parallels our familiar world, and the doors between the two worlds are open.” The veil has been torn, the cross bridged the gap between the two worlds, as Christ stance of victory swallowed up all who would cling to His name. 

    This could be life changing for us; to operate out of the bounty of Christ instead of depending on our own poverty. 

    Christ is enough
    That’s what the woman at the well figured out that fateful day in Samaria. She found her safe haven in the words of a Jewish Prophet, who happened to be her Messiah. Her thirst was quenched as she drew from the reservoir of Living Water. She couldn’t keep it in, she left her water jar and ran into the city “come see the man who told me everything I had ever done.”
    Strange. She went from avoiding her insecurity to confronting it. She didn’t have to hide behind it’s  mark anymore, what she had done did not define her anymore-Jesus did.  
    Insecurity is a prison. Jer 2:13 says “for my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the spring of living water and they have been out cisterns that can not hold water.” The word cistern or well in ancient times could also be used for pit or prision. (Joseph was familiar with the double meaning, he was stripped and thrown into a dry cistern, which was a make shift prision.)

    Truth is the key to the prison of insecurity.

    John 8:31-32 “if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” 

     As I gazed out on the young faces that filled the room I knew that they weren’t the only ones who are prone to fall for the subtleties   of the enemy. For example after speaking I always get hit with this one: “that was a train wreck, you are hopeless…God gave you the message but you messed it up” Insecurity highlights our faults and limits Gods power. Instead of bowing to that lie I have to train myself to agree with what truth of the word says. In fact we see its not that focusing on who we are in Him is selfish-it’s just the opposite- focusing on who we are without Him is.

    Learning to combat the lies of the enemy with the truth of the word-that’s how to unlock that prision door. 
    What defines you? A job? Your family? Your education? Obessesion is spawn of insecurity. We throw ourselves into whatever it is that offers a little relief. Trouble is it’s temporary at best and has a faulty foundation. So, we try harder, comitt more…and obsession is born. Is it the choices you have made? The circumstances you find yourself in? Or is it Christ? Look at your actions, at your words and habits and you will find the true answer hidden beneath the mask of false security. 

    Many of us are bare the mark of insecurity; Anxiety, helplessness, hopelessness, timidity, fear, lacking confidence and zeal. (indifference and complacency are the evil step sisters of insecurity. It keeps us locked away in our comfort zones and we drown in a sea of casualness.) We say we believe God, we say we trust Him but the evidence of our hearts would prove otherwise. Truth is-we’re too scared to. We hide where we feel the safest. For most of us that would be the place where we have the most control. Rebellion isn’t the only outcome of insecurity; perfectionism, our desire to control the situations around us, can be just as deadly. 
    Ann Voskamp says “at the core of everyone of our issues is the attempt to construct our identity on something besides Christ.”  
    The mark of security is the cross. And the cross says you are chosen, holy, blameless, blessed with every spiritual blessing, redeemed, forgiven, sealed with the Spirit, lavished with grace and wisdom, loved, predestined, foreknew, victorious, justified and glorified, entrusted with Resurrection power and the keys to the kingdom. You are all these things…because Christ is all these things and you my dear are His; the display of His splendor. 
    So, I have to say that from this perspective looking at our identity and claiming the truth of Christ’s words is not shallow but instead throws us into the depth of Christ’s grace. Col 3:3 says that our lives are hidden in Christ, so to find our lives (who we are)we must first go through Christ. He bids us come, lay down our bailing vessels and find what we have been looking for, a safe place. 

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    All is well

    The Shunamite woman. A nameless womans story, that is tucked in the canon of scripture. 2 kings 4 tells the story of this wealthy woman and the man of God, named Elisha.

    She utlitized what was given to her (her wealth) by building the prophet a room above the main house. She fed and housed the prophet as he would go to and fro from mt carmel. Elsiha racked his brain trying to figure out a substantial form of payment for her generousity (for those who refresh other, will they themelves be refreshed) She looked as though she needed nothing. She had all that was necessary and even a little extra, yet there was a hearts plea that remained unanswered for the woman…a son. Her husband was old, she had probably gave up hope. She had more than likely came to terms with the fact that she would never cradle a newborn in her arms. Maybe that’s why she responded like she did…”NO my lord. O man of God; do not lie to your servant.”

    In complete and utter shock…she wouldn’t let herself believe it. Not now, she had accepted that she wouldn’t bare a child. The bleeding of her heart had been tied off by the cord of acceptance. She didn’t expect a child, She didn’t ask for one any longer but the desire never was truly satisfied. Her heart still plead for a baby.

    Acceptance can be a cover up for disappointment. We say we’re ok and we move on with our life but deep down our hearts thud with disappointment.

    “No,my lord…do not lie to your servant.” She was begging not to fall into some sort of holy tease. Where her heart was the ploy in a game.

    I just keep thinking about her saying “no..” no to the very thing that her heart pleaded for. The very thing that her life was lacking. Yet as the prophet held out the prospect of a man child-her response was “no”.

    We all have heard the saying “If its too good to be true it probably is.” Why do we reason this way? Has the world made us this cold and cynical? Or has our own lack of distorted perspective of God warped our reasoning?

    Have you ever felt as though God was holding something out in front of you, something that you desperately wanted but then it was pulled away?

    Like a business deal gone bad, we count our loses and vow that will never happen again. we will never hope for the miraculous or place our trust in the unknown. And so when something we are longing for comes our way again, we act cautiously. Disappointments can cause us to block our hearts, to barricade them off with reason. We do not dare hope for too much and we prepare ourselves for the worst.

    The child would represent the promise of God. Elisha’s prophecy came true,as Gods word always does. The next year the Shunamite women cradled her promise. Yet, one day the child was in the field with his father. All of a sudden the child grabbed his head in agonizing pain. The father did what most fathers do, he rushed him to the arms of the boys mother. She sat with him on her lap as he breathed his last. I cant help but wonder, did she know he was dying? Did she soak up the smell of his hair or stroke his forehead tenderly? We don’t know but we do know she carried his lifeless body up the stairs and laid him on the bed of the man of God.(Elisha was not an ordinary man. He represented the voice and hand of God.)

    The promise died. That’s what you do when a promise dies; you take it back to the one who made it.
    This woman realized something. Something profound- that God alone is responsible for keeping his promises alive. As she laid her child in the bed of Elisha, she was in fact laying the promise of God at the feet of God. She was transferring her promise to the hands of the only One who could awaken it. 
    Her reaction would show us this was indeed her mindset. For instead of running for her husband she called for her donkey to go to the Man of God. Instead of accepting defeat she ran to the feet of God. Maybe the most bazaar part was she told her husband “all is well..” the word well is Shalom, meaning peace and tranquility. Her child was laying inside the house dead! She had lost her most precious possession, yet her response was “….shalom…” all is at peace. 

    All is well. She could utter those words in the pinch of the hardest moment in her life because she had laid the promise of God down. She could do nothing to bring it back to life, it was up to God to do what he had said he would do. It’s so easy for us to try and work out the promises of God, to try and make them come to fruition. We think somehow we can manipulate circumstances and wa-la! It will all work out. But that’s not how it works and we end up tired and frustrated because the promises of God seem to be dying right in front of us. 

    It is well, Springs off the tongue of a woman who realizes it’s up to God to do what He said. She let the weight fall on His shoulders not hers. All is at peace for the one who trusts the character of her God. She didn’t run to anyone else with her dilemma, she ran to the one who turns dilemmas into deliverance. She wasn’t the first one who seemed to be put off by God. The Israelites who left Egypt with great joy and gladness, quickly found themselves backed into a corner. They were sown in by dilemma. One side the wilderness, the other side Pharaoh and his army and in front of them the boastful waves of the Red Sea. They saw a dilemma turned into deliverance that day. For when God speaks a promise, seas part and armies fall. 

    As she arrived at Mt Carmel where Elisha was, he knew something had to be terribly wrong, so he sent his servant to ask her “is all well?? Again she answered “all is well”. 

    Peace despite choas, tranquility in the face of despair. 

    As she approached Elisha, she fell at his feet. 

    “Did I not tell you, do not deceive me???” 

    In other words…”you promised me this was not a joke. That this was not some sort of Holy tease…you promised me”

    God never needs to be reminded of his promises to us. He remembers his vow. Yet, perhaps in the moments like these, When it seems as though He has forgotten his own word, like we have been tricked into believing, he is using these dilemmas not to remind himself, but to remind us that He is a God of His word. There’s something that happens inside of us when we are crying out the promises of God. Something grows within us, courage springs forth and faith ignites a strength we didn’t have before. But when we forget, when we bury the promise of God in the grave of acceptance than Shalom evades our grasp. 

    How could a mother say “all is well” as her child lies lifeless just a few steps away? Normal people would break down, they would have ran to their husband for help. But the Shunamite was not normal because she had a God that defies the barriers of normalcy. She could utter “all is well” with a lump in her throat and a heart that was pounding within her chest because she knew…she knew God was capable of keeping his promises. She knew he has to, it’s part of who he is; a promise keeper. 

    So,she lead the man of God back to her dead promise and she left him there. She left God to His promise. She didn’t try to help, she closed the door and let God do what He does best; awaken promises. 
    “All is well” is not a normal answer to a dilemma. It’s a answer that is given for those who rest in authority of the Word of God. God keeps His word, you can bank on that. And when we lay those promises at His feet, not accepting defeat, then His word is awakened within us. The authority of His word breaths life into our dilemma and rises up out of uncertainty. 

    “Pick up your son…” 

    As New Testament believers, we are called to pick up the promises made to us in Scripture. To sow them into our hearts so they bear fruit in our lives. The word “claim” has become toxic to the Christian community because of the hazardeous teaching of the apostate “name it and claim it” or “prosperity” gospel. This is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about you taking hold of the promises you have been given in scripture! Do not accept defeat. Don’t bury what seems to be dead, lay it out before God. Lay claim to what’s been given to you through Christ (freedom, victory, purpose, forgiveness, wisdom, The abundance of grace, the glory of the Spirit..for some examples.) We accept defeat much too quickly if we are too scared to claim His promises. 

    As this scene rolled through my mind, I keep thinking about the father. Did he ever know? Did he realize that his child had been raised from the dead? I’m not sure. Scripture seems to leave him in the dark. But perhaps there is a lesson there-your promise is just that, it’s yours. God made it to you and hear me when I say He will awaken it for you. That’s a guarantee. It’s not wishful thinking or foolish reason; it’s a promise. A promise that rests on the character of your God and not on your own doings. 

    The promises of God do not die with our circumstances. They are never empty but filled with life

    “So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but shall acompmish that which I purpose and succeed in the thing in which I sent it..” Isaiah 55:11

    Resurrected “cause”

     

    Twelve years. A lot can happen in that time span. The once plump cheeked baby who rocked your world turns into a preteen. A marriage has had enough time to go through the inevitable “ups and downs”. Degrees can be earned, even mastered. Friendships grow deeper. Dreams can come to fruition and new dreams can spring up. Hair can turn grey. A mortgage can shrink considerably. Retirement can set in. Grandbabies can come. Children can start and finish school. Yes, a lot can happen in twelve years. That’s how long the un-named woman in Luke 8 suffered without remedy. She was paraded to the very best doctors in Palestine but to no avail. None could figure out how to stop her suffering. For twelve long years, nothing happened, no cure-just more suffering. She was sick; sick of suffering.

    This suffering had cost this woman everything. “She had spent much…”. It had drained all her resources. She had done all she could to rid herself of this perilous plight she was in. After twelve years, she was spent. And that’s the place where Christs power is best executed; desperation. As the crowd pressed in closer and closer to Christ, she watched as her chance to be healed passed her by. There was a great barrier between her and the One who had the ability to heal her. The crowd kept growing, as people began knocking into each other. It looked impossible for her to get near Him. But she pressed on until finally her weak, pail fingers came in contact with His dusty earthen garment and power surged through her wore out frame. What the doctors could not do in twelve years, Jesus did with a touch. The power of God met this woman’s suffering and all it took was one touch.

      Despair is often what moves us, what causes us to push through the obstacles in front of us and reach out for Jesus.  Without desperation, we would become self-sufficient. We would fix everything ourselves, we wouldn’t seek Jesus and reach out for Him because we had all we needed in our own strength. And because we had nothing to drive us to His feet, we would miss His power being displayed through our weakness. You see desperation is not always bad, it sets the stage for the miraculous.

    Twelve years. Jairus knew all too well how quickly those years can fly by. In the same section of verses we find his story. His daughter, his only  child, was twelve and she was deathly sick. And now it seemed as though her life would end a that twelve-year mark. No more birthday parties. No more baking lessons or shopping for a new dress. No, this seemed to be the end. Yes, a lot can happen in twelve years.

    “Now Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed Him, for they were all waiting on Him.”

    Jairus was waiting. Waiting on this one they called Jesus to come his way. Waiting for his chance to bring him to the deathbed of his twelve-year-old daughter. Waiting can be one of the most demanding aspects of life. We all will find ourselves here, in the sandals of Jairus; anxiously awaiting a miracle. As he waited, his daughter grew sicker still, for he had no resource that could help her. He was helpless.  His hands were tied, so he did the only thing he could; Jairus waited, desperate for this one who could save his daughter.

     Desperation not only pushes us to Jesus but it will also brings with it a realization that we are out of resources, there is nothing we can do in our natural self but wait on Jesus.

     Jesus arrived, just  like He always does, He showed up in the middle of Jairus’s desperation.

    Jairus escorted the Miracle Man to his home, as they pushed through the crowd, a face appeared that Jairus did not want to see, it was a familiar face, someone from his homestead was coming toward them. “Your daughter is dead, do not trouble the teacher anymore.”

    Dead? Then it was too late. Jesus was too late. 

    What happens when a “cause” dies? What happens when the reason you are doing what your doing aburbtly stops? when whatever “cause” you were fighting so hard for shrivels up and stops pulsating with opportunity? Those moments in life when it feels like it’s the end, like Jesus was too late, like the circumstances are too far gone, like there is no hope.

    In that moment Jairus had a choice; his “cause” (his reason for fighting) could die with his daughter OR he could believe and keep going on. He chose to march forward, even though people were telling him it was a lost cause; you can’t heal the dead, they reasoned, but faith declares that while you may not can heal the dead you can resurrect the dead.


     A lot can happen in twelve years. Dreams can die, hope can be drained, the soul can be crushed.  Those things usually start with a death. Not a physical death but one that can be just as devestating; the death of hope. The loss of hope usually starts in the physical realm but the effects weigh in on the inner man. A loss of a job, a rejection letter from a college, a breakup, a prayer unanswered, an opportunity wasted, dreams that just never came true…and somewhere along the way our hope gets beat to a bloody pulp and it turns over and gives up the ghost. The last words hope will whisper before it gives up is: what’s the point if the “cause” is lost?

    Have you ever had a “cause” get lost somewhere along the way? Is your hope dead? Then let this scream to the recesses of your heart….

    It is never too late with Jesus. A “cause” is never really lost when Jesus is involved

    Proverbs 13:12 says that “hope deferred makes the heart sick but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

    Nothing strangles out our hope like unsanctified longings. Longings of the flesh are poisonous, for they are tainted by self and resist the cleansing of Jesus. Jairus’ hope was safe because it rested on the person of Jesus, not on a “cause”.

    Jesus was after something bigger than Jairus could imagine. Instead of a healing the twelve-year-old girl, Jesus would raise her from beyond the grave. So many of our desperate situations go on without any solution. Not because Jesus didn’t show up but because we gave up too soon. What seems to be too late in the natural realm is prime and ready for the miraculous. When a healing doesn’t come, Jesus is setting you up for a resurrection.

    Jesus assuringly kept walking on toward the home of the dead child. “Do not fear, only believe and she will be well.” Jairus followed…because his hope was still alive despite the death of his cause. 

    Desperation will cause us to reach out for help, but even more than that desperation is the place where pure, raw, adulterated faith grows. It’s in the places of ruin, the places where all our self-security is taken, that true faith bubbles to the surface. The wreckage that brings about desperation is a place of self-emptying and humility. It is also the place where Gods power is most greatly demonstrated because we are spent; we have nothing left to give.

    One of Paul’s most famous verses that fell out of his anointed quill was  2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”:

    Paul had a thorn in the flesh, something that emptied himself. This “thorn” was some sort of weakness in the Super Apostle’s life that drained him of all his resources.

    It’s when we are depleted and desperate that God’s power can reach its full effect in our lives.

    Power in the Greek is dunamis. It is where we get our English word dynamite from. This word is used countless times in regard to the miracles Christ performed on earth and is used to demonstrate the kind of influence Christ has in, on, and through the believer’s life through the Holy Spirit. Simply put It is accomplishing power over resistance. Paul speaks of this power in Ephesians 1 as the same power that raised Jesus from the grave. This power that has been bestowed on us through the Spirit has the capacity and the ability to blow down every and any wall of resistance that stands before us. It is limitless in its ability and effect. Nothing holds a crushing blow on humanity like death. Nothing. As Jesus laid cold in the tomb, death had seemed to be victorious. Yet, on the third day, this same power coursed through the lifeless corpse of the Darling of Heaven. His lungs filled up with air, His heart jumped back into rhythm, His cheeks regained their color and He shot up from that burial clothe and life exploded out of that tomb, overcoming the resistance of sin and the grave. Resurrection power. The power that energizes the dead, breathes life into dry bones, sets a heart back in motion…this power…is yours.

    This power is made perfect in weakness, however, it will not be activated apart from faith. The number twelve is not the only thing the woman and Jairus had in common. They were kindred of faith; they believed. The suffering woman was only one among many. Peter even exclaimed how many people were pressing into Jesus when Christ said “Someone touched me….I perceive that power has left me…” Peter said “Master, the crowds are pressing in on you…” Many wanted a miracle. She wasn’t the only one who was desperate, but she was the only one recorded who pressed in WITH FAITH. The power was there for all-yet only one was marked by it. Desperation without faith will leave us hopeless, desperation coupled alongside faith brings a power surge to our weakness.
    So, I’ll leave you with this question; Is there a power shortage in your life? The supply has been given, but it’s only when this power supply is tapped into by faith that the evidence marks you and “causes” start resurrecting. 

    Many of us need this resurrected “cause”. May the “reason” why we fight receive the breath of life and walk out of the tomb of hopelessness and into the land of the living. 

     

    MEANWHILE

    Meanwhile. It’s a term that means there is more to the picture. It identifies that something else is going on that has yet to be revealed. That as one thing is being played out on the main stage, there is something else going on backstage.

    Webster’s defines it as – “at the same time”

    “Meanwhile, the Midianites had sold him (Joseph) in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard.” Genesis 37:36

    To get the weight of this word, “meanwhile” and the effect it has on this storyline, you have to look back at the preceding verses, that tell a story of loss and betrayal. Jacob loved Joseph, he was his fathers most treasured possession and in a moment, that treasured possession was taken from his life. The brothers worked up a clever scheme and told their father his beloved son was consumed by a wild beast. They brought the forged evidence and laid the blood-stained robe in the hands of Jacob. As he examined the article of clothing, he realized nothing would ever be the same again-Joseph was gone. He tore his clothes, to symbolize that his heart had been tore in half by the news. He refused to be comforted. All the well-intentioned pity from his children wasn’t enough to patch up his broken heart. He told them “ I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning…” in other words; this one was going with him to the grave.

     

    Pain so sharp it cuts our souls like a razor blade, Disappointment so daunting that it darkens our outlook, Tears so numerous that they threaten to drown us, an unmet hunger so fierce that it consumes us. This kind of stuff is hard. The loss of someone dear, doors that are slammed shut in your face, the searing pain that the teardrops represent, the unseen brokenness of our very core. The vessels of brokenness take on many different forms but they all have the same effect. The plight of mourning takes on many different facades; it can be found in the doctor’s office, the kitchen table, the bank, the cemetery, the office, the phone, in the mailbox. Brokenness will inevitably find us all. But it is here, in our brokenness, that we are found.

     

    Genesis 37:35 shows a broken man. The Patriarch had suffered tremendous loss that would hang like a dark cloud over the next several years of his aging life. If only he had known, If only he could have seen the story we get to see. If he only knew what the next verse said; Meanwhile…..

     

    While Jacobs heart was hemorrhaging, God was backstage working to bring something substantial from the struggle. God was using the very thing that Jacob thought was the end of his life to actually save his life. The thing that he thought would kill him turned out to be his saving grace.

     

    Genesis 50:20 “As you meant it for evil against me, God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive as they are today.”

     

    In the background of our brokenness God is working, HE has something specific that HE is bringing about THROUGH this thing that has broken us down. The thing that you feel as though you cannot move on from, the circumstance that has thrown you so far down you don’t think you will ever rise again, God is using that very thing to bring about your destiny and His plan.

    I sat in the car as we crossed the heartland of America, with kids chattering, the baby cooing, the music playing, and my mind went silent as this word (meanwhile) shouted out to my own broken places with this thought: What if the things we think we lost, turn out to be used for deliverance? Not just for us. No. God doesn’t limit our brokenness to only affecting us. He uses it for the deliverance of many. What if all the opportunities lost turned into a destiny fulfilled? And more than that, not only my destiny but the destiny of others? What if the things that crush us are the things that actually make us? what if the seemingly fatal blow actually forges a way to fulfillment?

    Jacob couldn’t see what was happening, that his story and the story of his son was a far cry from over. But we can. We have that privilege through the Spirit to perceive that something bigger is happening. That in this tangles mess, God is bringing about results. Corrie Ten Boom used the back side of a quilting project to demonstrate this very thing. She showed the side with all the tangled thread that made no picture, but as she turned it over the tangled mess had made a picture of a beautiful crown. Through eyes of faith we can see that He takes our broken mess and makes it beautiful and most of all useful, that our brokenness is not limited. Maybe we can’t understand what He’s doing but we can understand the why…”for the deliverance of many.” And if that’s not good enough for us than we are not looking through eyes of faith. Jacob didn’t know why this had happened, but we do. Through the eyes of our hearts being enlightened by the Spirit, we know that this isn’t it. That a tombstone isn’t the end, that a pink slip is in fact an open door, that rejection can be acceptance, and brokenness can be turned into abundance, sickness can bring about our wholeness, that disappointments ready us for our destinies and financial ruin will teach us what fulfillment truly is. The “why” of our struggle is told to us right here in the story of Joseph. No, there is no details given for each individual case of brokenness, but here’s the thing…if we insist on God giving us the “details” or “explaining” to us why this has happened to us, then that’s NOT faith. Faith believes when no details are given. “To save the lives of many…” that’s our “why” to suffering. Deliverance rises out of the pit of despair. God is cleverly collecting the shattered pieces of your heart and is delicately putting them back together. The adhesive he uses is our faith. A heart that refuses to be healed, is one that lacks faith. Faith believes God is working, even when there is no evidence.

    GOD IS WORKING.

    Meanwhile we are still here; still battling the same financial struggles, still no baby…no husband, our arms are still empty and our hearts still broken from loss of someone dear, our marriages still a wreck, our child still wayward, still no answer to that prayer…the one that spills out of our hearts every minute of every day for years on end, we are still in the midst of pain but at the same time God is working…. it’s all coming together. What we thought would be the end of us turns out to be the place where God meets us and uses our pain as a platform for deliverance. It is where our wounds are healed by the wounds of Christ. His nail scared hand, the symbol of how God uses brokenness for the deliverance of many, pushes in close to our bleeding heart and by applying pressure the hemorrhage stops and our hearts are whole once again. You do not have to take your brokenness to the grave if you take it to the cross. Your brokenness was designed to work for you, not against you.

    Your pain is never wasted. Your tears are like rain that pours down onto the crops, they are bringing about a harvest you didn’t see coming. Because meanwhile, as you were weeping, God was sowing the seed; the seed of deliverance.

    Rest in the new 

    So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. Hebrews 3:19

    The word of God is powerful enough, strong enough to pry into the secret chambers of the heart. The words sink in like a razor blade to the soul, exposing any lump of disbelief that has taken root.
    Disbelief. It can be as fatal as cancer. So subtle in it’s advancement that the symptoms are not alaways obvious from the surface. All the while, deep within, its devouring us. It grows and spreads at lightening speed. Before long it has effected every area of our lives. The toxic trait of willful disobedience is the all too familiar sign that this spiritual disease has taken over our central belief system.

    “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” Hebrews 3:15

    Rebellion is a ugly word to the Christian, but it’s what our flesh is prone to. The natural response of any one of us is to rebel, rebel against any authority beyond ourselves; especially something that brings change.

    The word of God breathes change, it exhales newness. For newness to come the old must go. That’s hard for us, we want the new to come and co-inhabit with the old. But that’s not how God works. We want Him to make something new when we’re tired, fed up with the old. Not when we are still enjoying the benefits of the old, not while we’re still comfortable and secure. Our natural tendency is not to desire the new until we are done with the old. So, when God sets forth a new plan, a new purpose, one that changes our status quo,  our first response in the flesh would be to buck it,to fight it tooth and nail because by golly we aren’t done. Like a two year old who refuses to leave the play ground, we stomp, kick, swing our fists, and throw ourselves on the ground when the Word tells us it’s time to move on.

    Move on. God told the Israelites, the land He had promised them was ripe for the picking. There they stood, with their toes on the border of Canaan. It was all they dreamed it would be…and maybe more. It had grapes the size of small cantaloupes and the land was vivacious with abundant life. Still, there were the Nephilum; giants filled their promised land. As the voice of El Shaddai committed the land as their possession, they froze.

    And so instead of believing God would fight for them, instead of taking God at his word, they stayed where they were-they hunkered down and settled for the old, handing over the promise of God. He never gave up on His promise to them, yet in a moment  they surrendered that promise to the bully of disbelief.

    “We were as grasshoppers to them” disbelief whispered in their ears. “Would not it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” Disbelief caused the people of Israel to cling to the old instead of embracing the new.

    The new seemed too risky, too dangerous, too out of the ordinary. This “new thing” wasn’t like the “old way”,everything about it was different. Difference is a funny thing, we can miss the greatest awakening of our lives because it’s not the same as we have experienced before, or even hoped it to be. Different is usually what scares us the most about Gods call to “move on”.

    Questioning the difference can throw us into a tidal wave of disbelief. The winds of change are often blown through the fraility of our souls by the unchanging Spirit through the word. When God speaks things change. The world went from void of life and formless to cascading with brilliance and life; all by a word. As God speaks action is envoked; springs fill the wastelands, ways are made in the dessert, the new is created.  It’s the refusal  to act that qualifies as rebellion.

    Willful disobedience-the refusal to take God at His word.

    “…for we who have believed enter that rest…”

    Rest comes with obedience, obedience comes by faith. Faith brings rest to our hearts. As we believe God we find comfort and rest because now, we do not have to figure it out on our own. It’s not up to us, it’s up to God. Faith transfers the burden from our weary shoulders to Christ’s.

    “come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest…”

    Faith is the divine exchange; where the old becomes the new. Where those who were burdened find rest. Where Gods will becomes our own.

    “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.See, I am doing a new thing!Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?I am making a way in the wildernes and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19