So God spoke to me again today. It’s nothing new, not really. He’s been talking to me for a long, long time. Only, I haven’t always been listening. Today, I listened. Good, and hard. And what He told me came as a pretty big surprise. Though He’s been trying to tell me this for a while, what surprised me isn’t so much what He told me. What truly surprised me was the question I asked Him that elicited this response.
And it wasn’t so very long into hearing His response to my question that I realized, once again, that the message He was giving me (with the exception of a small piece I have edited out because of its nature) was likely for a far wider audience than it was for me. My question to you, as you read what He told me, is this: Is it possible God is also speaking to YOU?
So what exactly did I ask the Lord this morning? I asked Him this:
If I could do ANYTHING for you, Lord, like the book I’m reading (ANYTHING by Jennie Allen), what would it be?
I could only imagine, right? You could only imagine, right? The book, like other books I am reading these days, is about living a truly radical life for Christ. Living in a way that my life is not about me, but about the Lord. Living in a way that I choose to throw away my crutches, leave the safety zone, leave the comforts of the world behind, and grab hold of God – and His will for my life. The book, ANYTHING is eliciting in me a strong desire to really ask myself, am I truly, really, absolutely living the life God intended me to live?
So, inspired by the testimonies of so many others, I have been wondering if there is more to my life than what I see, what I know, what I have been living. Though some might say I have given up quite a bit, left lots behind, and am living a simpler, holier, more pure life than I was before (and perhaps than some other people), I wonder if it is enough. Have I truly given up enough, have I truly surrendered enough, simplified enough, given enough of me to Him?
Have I given all, much, I mean, how much of my life have I really given Him? Am I really doing what He put me on this earth to do? Am I being prepared, is there more I could be doing, you know the questions, or do you? Have you asked yourself any of them, all of them, or has it not even crossed your mind? And, most importantly, as I did this morning, have you asked HIM? The big HIM? The chief commander, the head honcho, the Creator of the Universe. Good questions, yes. God questions. One God question above all else, at least in my mind on this particular day.
If I could do ANYTHING for you, Lord, what would it be? His answer? Have I kept you in suspense long enough? Maybe. Maybe not. So here goes.
God told me to start visiting widows and orphans, right? Actually, He does in the Bible. But He didn’t tell me that today. So He told me to adopt a child, like I’ve dreamed on and off about doing for several decades. No, actually He did not. Not today anyway. Not yet anyway. He told me to go help set prisoners free – maybe not from prison, but from their imprisoned hearts, from their bondages and strongholds. Nope, not quite. Not at all, in fact. Yes, the Bible calls us to visit prisoners, doesn’t it? Okay, but that’s not what He told me today. He told me to stop helping dogs and help more people. Nope. Surely, He talked to me about when I would start preaching again since I recently was called to stop preaching to whom I was preaching. No. Okay, you get the point. He said none of this. Nor did He tell me to move to Africa, buy an RV and start a book tour for the book I never really promoted, start a singles ministry like I considered doing, help plant a new church, no, none of this. None of this at all, not to say the least. So what exactly did the Lord tell me He wanted when I asked Him my big question? Surely God would want me to do something BIG for HIM, right?
Surprise of all surprises, the Lord didn’t respond to my question by telling me what HE wanted me to DO for HIM, not in the context I expected anyway. I had imagined in my mind something big, something exciting, something challenging, something that certainly would involve sacrifice, hard labor, you know, the whole nine yards. Isn’t life all about ministry anyway when it comes to the life surrendered to the Lord? Not. So, before I keep you in any further suspense, this is what the Lord told me in response to my BIG question.
IF I COULD DO ANYTHING FOR YOU, LORD, LIKE THE BOOK I’M READING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
“It would be to accept me, all that I am, all that I have, all that I will do.
It would be for you to know that you know that you know I AM.
It would be to rest.
It would be to wait.
It would be to receive me.
It would be to let me love you the way that I desire.
It would be to not turn your back on what I offer you, my mercy, my grace that is more than sufficient, my approval, my willingness to love you even when you do not do as I ask, my desire for you to let me reign in you where I desire to live – do you see?
I want you.
I want you the way you wanted the world to long for you. I long for you. You have spent so long craving me without knowing that it is me you crave. And yet when I offered you myself, you stood at a distance.
Your tears fell in your heart because you sought what nobody could give you. All along I stood before you with a smile, knowing I have what you need. You need me, sweet one. But what could I do when you continued to seek for your needs to be met by man?
We have spoken of this before, but you were not willing to forsake the longing in your heart for the world to acknowledge, accept and approve you, to put its stamp on you, to seal your desire to be acknowledged by man.
Today you saw when I sent one of the people you sought to love you that the best gift he could give you was to listen to your hurt, to your heart, to you. He did not try to fix you as the world has, nor how you have tried to fix the world.
Only I can give you the love you seek. Believe that the words I am speaking to you are True.
I am Holy.
You desire to be free; you have sought me but not as the Healer. Though you know I am God, you still have wanted the world to answer your call. You have called me but turned to the world for the answer.
This life is not about what you have thought, nor about what you have believed. This is what I need for you to do now. Wait. Your rest will come as soon as you make a decision in that I cannot, nor will I, force you to seek me.
Your rest will come when you seek me above everything and everyone. Is this your desire?
Begin by confessing to me what you have done to keep me away. And let me now become your love.
This is all, sweet child.”
Isn’t it interesting how I automatically assumed when I asked God what He would ask of me if would do ANYTHING for HIM that He would give me a list of BIG stuff to DO for HIM? Big, exciting, ministry-related, things – activities, adventures, lots of stuff, really? Isn’t it interesting how it didn’t even cross my mind that the LORD would ask me to RECEIVE from HIM what He desires to give to me – BEFORE He gives me something to do for Him as I had imagined? Isn’t it interesting how my small human mind still falls so far short of imagining how phenomenal God’s love is for me, and for us – that God would want to GIVE before HE even asks me, and us, to GIVE to Him and to others? We live in a world, and a nation in particular, that is so focused on ME, ME, ME – and GREED, GREED, GREED – that sometimes I just assume someone will want something from me without even considering GIVING? But not God. Not God at all.
First, before God ever asks anything of us, first He gives. First, He gives. Yes, first He gives. And before He wants me to take a single further step forward in trying to give to others, and even to Him, He wants me to understand, to believe, to accept, to know, and to RECEIVE His love and everything that goes with it – FROM HIM.
If you ask God today if you were to do ANYTHING for Him, what would it be, what would He say? Is it possible that like myself, it is time for you to stop in your tracks and to ask yourself this question: Have you received from God what He wants to give to you?
What a loving, loving, loving, God would want first to give unto us………..
Loving God, merciful God, forgiving God, awesome and amazing God, you never cease to amaze you. I am still falling short so much of the time, daily, hourly sometimes, and often it seems, breath by breath. Yet there you are, arms open wide, merciful heart waiting always to forgive, waiting for me to come in confession, waiting to give who you are, to give what you have, to give, to give, to give. So giving you are.
Thank you, God, for today, once again, setting me straight. Thank you for stopping me before I go another step to let me know that FIRST, yes, FIRST, you want to love me. What an amazing, amazing God you are! Even as far short as I fall, there you are, waiting, waiting, waiting, always waiting, for me to come running into your arms. Even now, as I fall, there you are, reminding me, you love me, you love me, YOU LOVE ME. Oh God!
Thank you for being God! And thank you, that instead of asking me to do more, to DO MORE, to DO MORE AND MORE AND MORE, you want me to RECEIVE from you, to RECEIVE YOU. And THANK YOU, God, for showing me this message isn’t just for me. PLEASE GOD HELP OTHERS to see this is also for them, and help them to receive, to receive you, all that you are, all that you have, all that you will do. And please, God, may this ALL be for YOUR GLORY! Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that ANYTHING must ALWAYS begin and end with YOU! Amen.
Jer 31:3 “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”