I’m not a fan of waiting for things. We live in a culture of expecting things immediately, and so when it comes to having to wait for something, we don’t always have the patience required to see it through.
I remember as a kid growing up, the pain of having to wait for Christmas Day to come, or for the summer holidays to finally arrive, wishing the time would speed up just a little.
But there’s something that happens during the waiting. The Bible is full of stories of people having to wait, and it’s during the waiting where God equips and readies the people for what is to come. We see it with Joesph in Genesis, where he spent years in prison before he finally stepped in to what God had for him. But, without the time spent waiting, Joseph would not have been prepared for what was to come, the waiting was necessary. Painful at times, I’m sure, but necessary nonetheless. It’s in the waiting where we are sharpened and prepared for the coming season ahead.
Last year was one of waiting for us, one of constant anxiety and strain as we endured 9 long months of pregnancy before the safe arrival of our boy. After what had happened the previous year, every minute of this pregnancy was a battle. Waiting was not fun. There is a song which I listened to a lot during this time, called Take Courage, by Bethel music. The song has the lyrics,
Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul, He’s in the waiting, He’s in the waiting. Hold on to your hope, as your triumph unfolds, He’s never failing, He’s never failing.
These words really resonated with me, as we held on to the hope of a successful pregnancy, and the promise God gave to me in the days after losing Elias. The promise that within a year, we would have another child. God’s word and His promises will not fail. We don’t always know why some things happen the way they do, why we must endure such pain or trauma, but can we hold on to the hope that God has good things in store? If your situation is not currently good, Then take courage, for He is still at work.
And so, as I look forward to the new year and all that it may bring, as I wait for His lead on things within my life, it’s a choice I must make daily to hold on to the hope that He knows what He is doing, that He is bringing us to a place of fulfilled promises, joy and life. And it’s my prayer for you, too, that as you may be in a time of waiting and discerning, that the God of fulfilled promises will sustain you and guide you through all the decisions you need to make. It’s often only when we take the first step out that we see God at work.
I love how God doesn’t waste a thing. He literally makes all things work together for our good, so, as I heard Kris Vallotton once say, if it’s not good right now, then God is not finished with what He is doing in your situation. He is always shaping us, always preparing us for the next season.
I spent six years living in America, where I felt God was preparing me and shaping me, breaking off old habits, mind sets and hurts, and bringing me into a place where I could receive from Him, and where I could have an impact on others around me.
Something God has been teaching me a lot recently is that once we have been in a season of preparation, we are then equipped with all we need to thrive through the next season we are coming in to. Whatever comes our way, God has given us the answer, the tools needed to succeeded through the situation. Sometimes we spend so much time looking at our problem and asking God to help us, when God has already helped us in the previous season, and has given us what we need to work through whatever has come our way.
The Bible says that God never puts us in a situation we cant get out of. If we believe that as truth, then that means whatever we are faced with, God has a strategy for us to get through. What keeps us from moving forward can be a mixture of fear, doubt, lack of trust or lack of fully understanding who we are in Christ. If we become focused on our lack, we will never move forward. If we instead focus on what is already in our hands, then nothing can hold us back. It’s like when a you are teaching a kid to ride a bike. For a time they require stabilizers and guidance to be able to ride the bike without falling over and hurting themselves. Once they have mastered that, its then time for the stabilizers to come off. There can then be a moment of doubt before they head off, but if they learn to put into practice what they have just learnt, they will soon be riding their bike. Yeah, they may fall once or twice, but the key is to get back on and get moving again.
Too often we put ourselves in a self imposed wilderness season, because we wait for the Lord to do something in our life, when He has already given us what we need to walk over into the “Promised Land”. We wonder where God is, when He is wondering what we’re doing hanging out in the desert! Let’s not be like the Israelites and spend more time then we need to out in the desert. God has a Promised Land ready for you, all you need to do is move forward. God wants to give us the wisdom we need to thrive through our circumstance, rather than us sitting back expecting Him to provide for us. Of course, God can and does bring in provision when we need it, but He also invites us to partner with Him to bring about the solution.
Yesterday I returned to Redding after a six day trip to the Vancouver area in Canada. What an amazing trip, such a beautiful country filled with beautiful people. My life will never be the same again from the trip. I had the privilege of traveling with the director of the healing rooms at Bethel, and really learned so much from watching how he operated and listening to him preach 4 days in a row! God is on the move up in Canada, and it was exciting to be a part of what is happening up there.
We started the trip by talking at a school of ministry on Thursday morning, where the interns I was traveling with shared with the room before calling the four of us second year students up to prophesy over some of the students. During the whole service, I had been feeling like God wanted me to sing a prophetic song over a lady! I had never done anything like that before, and the thought of singing down a microphone in front of a room full of people was not exactly something that excited me. But, as I stood at the front, I kept hearing words of a song God was putting into my mind to sing over the unsuspecting lady. I knew I had to sing, it was one of those moments where you know God is talking to you, and you know you have to be obedient to what He says. So, this time, I obeyed…
It was incredible to speak to the woman afterwards and hear how the words in the song I had sung to her meant so much to what she was going through in her own life. On a personal level, it meant so much to me, as I have always remembered what a primary teacher once said to me about my singing voice and how bad she thought it was. It’s funny how things you pick up when you are young can stick to you and have such an effect on you through life, whether positive or negative. Thursday was a day of breakthrough not only for the lady, but also for me, as I pushed past the fear of singing in public and took a step out in faith. God is faithful to us, when we step out, He doesn’t leave us on our own, He is with us every step of the way.
It’s interesting as the night before I sang, I woke up with a real sense of an evil spirit in the room with me, holding me down in my bed. After rebuking it, I fell back asleep, but awoke in the morning with a sense of anticipation for what the day held. The devil only bothers us if he is trying to prevent us from moving out into what God has for us. So, I began to get excited about what God was going to do in me and through me that day. My God is bigger then any threats or attacks from the devil. When we are hit with fear or doubt, it’s usually because there is breakthrough on the other side of that fear if we would just push through and deny the devil a victory.
The trip was also full of many incredible healings, from eye sight being restored to a 75 year old man’s leg growing out to the same length as his other one. For 60 years, he had been walking with a limp before God grew his leg out right in front of the church. God is just really good at His job. God is healer, it is always His will to heal those who come to Him.
I returned home yesterday full of renewed passion and love for God, full of hope for healing within my own life, and full of hope for the lives that are continuing to be touched by the awesome presence of God.
Stay classy, Canada.
Since Christmas I have been very much aware that my time here at Bethel is coming to an end, with just over 3 more months left of second year. My time in the States is drawing to a close after living over here for six years, and in June I’ll be heading back to Scotland before getting married in November. So, what’s next for me after Bethel? When I moved to Colorado in 2007, I had no real intention of returning to Scotland, until I came to Bethel almost two years ago. Since then, God has really put Scotland on my heart and I have such a desire and longing to see the country transformed and revived with a powerful move of God. I will miss this country, and will try to visit regularly, and maybe one day God will have me back over here. But for this next season of life, Scotland will be my focus.
Many people have been asking me what I plan on doing when returning to Scotland, and so far my answers have been a little hazy, with me being uncertain of what exactly I will do upon arriving back to the homeland. And then the other day, while having some time with Jesus, I felt prompted to write down exactly what I want to do when I move back. Psalm 37:4 tells us to take delight in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our hearts. God was telling me to be specific. For God to give us the desires of our hearts, perhaps we need to be a little more specific.
I heard a story of a fellow student who wanted a specific white car, and while at home for Christmas she continued to believe God would provide her with the car. She had no ticket and no way of returning to class, but had faith that God would give her the desires of her heart. She announced to her family that she would leave on a certain day, and the day before her scheduled departure, she began to pack her bags, still with no car and no way of getting back to California. The next day the door bell rang, and as she opened the door she was greeted by a group of friends who were busy holding cameras to capture her reaction as they gave her their car. The white car she had specifically asked God for. God wants to give us the desires of our hearts, so what are your desires?
If we fully trust in the Lord, take delight in Him and have relationship with Him, why wouldn’t He want to give us all we ask for? He is a God of abundance who wants to lavishly give us all our hearts desires. I am believing for the exact type of church position I wrote down the other day. What are the desires of your heart? Why not tell God. See what happens.
I finished reading a book a couple weeks ago by one of the leaders at Bethel, Steve Backlund, where he talks about the power of words and that with them we can literally bring life or death into situations. If I had heard that a few years ago, I might not have believed him, but over the last couple years, I have begun to see the power in the spoken word. Afterall, God spoke all of creation into existance. He spoke us into existance. We are made in His image, and, as believers in Jesus, we have been given power and authority over things here on earth. In the book of James, the writer warns us of the power of the spoken word, and the ability words have to speak things into being.
This past year especially I have seen a number of occasions where I have made a declaration, and either later on in the day or later that week, that declaration has been fulfilled. For example, last Monday I was driving back to my apartment in the morning after spending some quality time in the DMV, and as I was driving I began to think about my upcoming trip to Jamaica. I was thinking about the money I still owe for the trip, and as I was thinking this I spoke out loud “Someone right now is putting money into my trip account”. I stopped off to get a couple things at the store, then headed home to find an email waiting for me. Someone had put $300 into my account, around about the time I made that declaration. There is power in the tongue.
Last Friday night we were preparing to take to the streets for some ministry outreach, and before we did we spent some time in prayer. As we were praying, I said out loud, “Tonight is going to be easy, people are going to come up to us for prayer.” We finished praying, went outside, and literally 1 minute after leaving the building, a man pushing a bike came up to us. He asked us to pray for his friend over in the prayer house by the church. We said we would after we prayed for him. Turned out that as we were praying for him, his back got completely healed and he left with a big smile on his face. People came to us for prayer. There is power in the tongue.
There is a danger that as we look at situations in our life, we look at them negatively, and begin to speak negative words over the particular situation. Doing this could result in shutting down the work of the Holy Spirit. There is power in the tongue, and we must be aware of that. James 5:16 says that the prayers of the righteous man are powerful and effective. Our prayers, our words, carry more weight to them then we may realise.
I am setting a declaration for 2013 that I will only speak words of encouragement, life and hope to situations and people.
I had the opportunity to look after a friends 2 year son this morning, which was both a lot of fun and exhausting at the same time. I don’t know how people have the energy to raise children. After a mere 2 hours of guitar playing, fish feeding, balloon catching, wrestling, and mindless running around the back yard, I was ready to climb back into bed. Unfortunately though, I did not have that luxury, and so I readied myself and headed for class.
It was a lot of fun looking after wee Eli. I was actually looking forward to his arrival all day yesterday and this morning before he came over. I was sad when it was time for him to head off home and for me to set out for class.
I began to think about our relationship with God, our heavenly Father, and what it must be like for Him to want to spend time with His children. Eli isn’t even my son, but I have known him all his life and was so much looking forward to having fun with him today. How much more so does God eagerly anticipate time with us? It blows my mind to think of just how much God wants to spend time with each of us, not only that but He wants to have fun with us, like any loving father would.
John 3:16 says that because of the great love God had for the world, He sent in His only son, Jesus, so that we might not die but spend eternity with our heavenly dad! It’s because of God’s love for us that Jesus came into the world, so that sin may no longer separate us from God spending time with us.
I used to have an image of God being far off on a cloud and there being a big separation between us and Him. It felt like we had to work hard in order to get His attention, and that through working hard and watching what we did, we might just be able to draw near to Him. This couldn’t be further from the truth though. God is actually desperate to spend time with us, to feed fish, chase balloons, run around like a wild man in the back yard.
God being radically in love with us is something that I have heard a lot over the last year, and yet I feel like today was the first time I was able to visible see and feel what it is like for God when He gets to spend time with His children. God loves us, wants to spend time with us, thinks about us all the time, and He even trusts us more than we trust ourselves.