35. Obedience = release = favour
I’d only ever experienced it a handful of occasions in my lifetime – times when the presence of God had descended so heavily upon me, it left me almost unable to move. These were times when the heavy weight of His love and power were so awe-inspiringly tangible that in my spirit, I knew God was pressing something profound into my awareness. For 2 straight days now, this had been my reality. Then came the dream. In it, someone approached me to say an unknown person was going to knock on my door – and that I was to trust what they said. The following morning, as I awoke, the atmosphere seemed lighter and I knew something significant was taking place. It didn’t take long for the mystery to unfold, for the same morning I received an intriguing phone call from a stranger that started to unlock the meaning of these wonders…
‘God has told me 3 times to come to your house, to knock on your door and to pray for you’, was the essence of the message. This unknown person then explained how she had tried to bargain away the instruction, but that eventually, having received too many signs to disobey the command, had plucked up the courage to be faithful to what she’d heard. A few days later, here she was in our living room, having taken 2 long train rides and a taxi into the unknown, to an area, a house and a person she did not know. The round trip would amount to around 16 hours of travel and goodness knows what expense and inconvenience.
Within seconds it felt as though we had known each other a lifetime and the cloud of God’s mighty presence immediately fell once again. He had things to say, business to do and power to release. For a couple of hours, we shared the most sacred and intimate spiritual encounters I think I have ever known. The whole experience was an incredible, incomprehensible gift of unmerited favour, poured into the deepest part of my being . For both of us, a journey into unchartered spiritual waters, with only a trust and faith in God to lead us through the unknown. Even now, I’m still processing the depths of it - God’s yet to reveal the full reach of its purpose. But one thing that was made exceptionally clear is this: No-one plays with God.
So what was it that compelled this beautiful, young, quietly spoken Brazilian to spend her first ever time away from her little boy, purely to honour and follow this calling? … An abandoned heart sold out for God and an obedience to do precisely what He had requested… Without agenda, expectation, want or understanding. It both blessed and challenged me to my core…
How often do we get caught in the hamster wheel of our circumstances and the pressing issues of the day? How open can we ever truly be when we allow this to dictate our focus? When all our attention is projected inwards on ourselves, can we ever hear the instructions God can bring? Is our life predominantly pre-occupied by what we need, as opposed to what we can give? And even when we surrender long enough to make way for our instructions, how quickly does the enemy try to prick our conscience with doubts and insecurities?
Typically we hold so tightly onto our needs, our situations, our fears, our future and even our ministry. In a world that is so insular and self-absorbed, I wonder; if we just let go of our own ‘stuff’, what might happen?. When instead, we hold on, we’re effectively saying we don’t trust God. Alternatively, if we did trust that our maker has our back, what would we be inspired to bring to this world? What difference could we make? What impact would that have? We search for meaning; we search for purpose. Maybe this fulfilment comes from something so very simple. To let go, to submit and to then obey…without needing to know all the answers, the rationale and the ‘how’. There’s one thing I know for sure – this weekend one precious lady did precisley this for me and my challenge now, is to go on to do the same.
Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.”
A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.
1 Kings 19: 11-12 MSG