Friday, August 31, 2012

"...but go on..."



Earlier this week I was facing a little crisis of sorts.


It's funny how so many things can be swirling around us on the outside, but it's those inner struggles that are actually the hardest.
I tweeted a while back, "Prepare NOW for battle-time decisions, or else when the battle rages you will be frozen and unable to do what needs to be done."
At first read, that can easily mean that when the battle is raging around us, we will have prepared and made up our minds what to do.
When someone does something less than honoring of me, I've already prepared my response.
When something in my life comes crashing down, I've already prepared my response.
But, what about when the battle is raging inside us?
At second read, we realize it's often the inner battle we need to be prepared in advance to fight.
What about when those thoughts sneak in?
What about when the questioning comes?
What about when we're tired of the resistance and we wonder, "Is this worth it? Is it really worth all this? Ugh."


I know God has called me to speak truth.
Well, He calls ALL of us to speak truth, so it's really not that great of a revelation.


...except that He really has. He has called me to speak truth that He shows me, boldly and without fear, yet wrapped in grace and love and peace... walking each step so intentionally at His direction.
In the last few months I have done that in various places in the world. 
Wales. Swaziland. Uganda.
In the past year(s) I've stood in front of numerous people... large groups, small groups, individually... and called out the truth that God has laid on my heart, wrapped in the reality of His loving grace.


But interestingly enough, the battle always rises... especially on the inside.
Because there is an enemy who does not want us speaking truth.
(Or sometimes he's fine with us speaking it, as long as it's not wrapped in grace and love, because that does even more damage than if we never spoke it in the first place.)


Earlier this week I was preparing to reenter some areas (because the fall season is here, and that's what we do in fall: reenter) where I know God has called me to speak truth.
So, why is it often easier to travel and proclaim it than to do it on your home soil?
(I could expound on that here, but it's meant to be a thought provoking and somewhat rhetorical question.)


And the inner battle rises.
Funny how, when we seek His thoughts and His heart, He is so quick to affirm and confirm and build us up in what He has called us to.


"Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you..."


Do you know who God said that to? Paul. He said it to Paul in Acts 18.
Paul the greatest apostle of all time.
Paul who stood before people who both loved him and hated him and he spoke the truth, wrapped in grace and love, no matter the audience.
PAUL!!!!!
"Do not be afraid any longer..."
Ummm... why would God say that to Paul
Paul wasn't afraid. Right? Paul never had second thoughts. Right? 
He was the Einstein of the Apostles. 
The Abraham Lincoln of the whole group.
The Montana in the heyday of the 49ers.


Or maybe Paul was human, like the rest of us.
And maybe thoughts and questions rose in his head like the rest of us.
And maybe when he got shut down and turned on and shunned, maybe sitting there at his desk, reflecting in the candle light, up too late...
maybe he had the same thoughts as the rest of us.
"Is it really worth it? Is it really worth all this? It's so exhausting. Maybe I should just stay here and study. The other guys can speak truth. Silas, Timothy. They got this. I'm tired. I'll stay here and..."
Yet God, so quick to affirm and confirm and build up, says, "Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you..."


Earlier this week I was facing a little crisis of sorts...
wondering if it was really worth it. Thinking maybe I should throw in the towel in this certain area. There are others that have it. I could just retreat and it would be fine. Reasoning in a way with my own self, knowing what God has called me to do, yet weary of the doing it in certain places that are just... so... hard.


"Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you..."


Yet God is so quick to affirm and confirm and build up. I just love so much His sweet and tender way of reassuring us while dolling out a kick in the rear.
We seek His heart, we go to His word, and then a passage jumps off the page. It hangs in front of our eyes while at the same time hugging us so tightly and literally causing a physical surge of strength in our bodies, causing us to stand up, pace the room and exclaim, "Yes! Okay, Lord! I'll do it!" 
The passage is written as a message straight to us, exactly in this moment... nearly two thousand years ago.
Because His word is living and active, sharp as a two-edged sword.


And no one on the outside would know that Paul even needed to hear from the Lord, "Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you..."
But it was recorded so we would know that these are real people, dealing with the same inner battles.


And no one would ever know I've struggled with any of this, except that I'm recording it, because I'm a real person who deals with the same inner battles we all do.
But, I've made up my mind in advance and prepared myself NOW, so when it rages I will trust God's word and what HE says.


"...but go on..."


And I will continue walking out what He has called me to do, in the very areas He has called me to do it.


And so will you.


"...for I am with you..."








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