We gathered last night with a group of pastors and leaders that have come from 16 countries from all over Africa. It moves me to hear people worship God in their native tongue. It gives some small glimpse of what I imagine eternity to be...people from every nation and tribe and tongue gathered around Almighty God...my finite mind cannot even begin to comprehend the majesty of my Father.
This week has been a whirlwind of emotion...really the past four months have been that way for me. Something within me shifted the last time we were here. It has been a season of my faith and trust being stretched further than I ever thought possible. However, the result has been a deepening in my relationship with my Father and a level of trust and intimacy I would not have known otherwise. I am overwhelmed with gratitude at His unending faithfulness and provision. Through my own fear and doubt and confusion and questions His love and faithfulness have been unrelenting. "Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?"
I have known the Lord was asking something of me that within my own strength and ability I am completely incapable of. I have wrestled and struggled and pleaded. God spoke truth and peace into my heart yesterday. I have been consumed with asking God to speak clarity and guidance and direction. In many ways just in His sovereignty He already has, but I continued to question. He pierced me with this statement yesterday..."Stop asking me to tell you what I am going to do and start asking me who I AM...I may not tell you what I am doing, but I will always tell you who I AM." God then used a pastor last night to reinforce that truth to me. He asked the question, "Do you live for God or do you allow God to live through you?" With all my heart I desire for God to live through me. I know apart from Him I am nothing and only with Him living through me do I truly find life. But when I sat with that statement, I realized that there is still so much within me that just tries to live for God. I have a deep gratitude for what the Lord has done for me and the bondage He has delivered me from. My gratitude makes me want to live for Him. I want to serve Him. I want my life to bring glory to Him. Those are all great things, but the most important thing and what God really wants most is my heart. And when I start focusing on living for God, my focus begins to shift away from the heart and toward obedience and it leads me toward bondage...just give me a list of things to do and let me get busy doing them. I realize that is why the last couple of months have been so hard for me. God knows my heart and He knows this about me. He isn't interested in giving me a plan or a list and allowing me to start moving toward it. Plain and simple, what He wants most is my heart. He wants me hanging onto Him with everything I have and allowing Him to press His life through me. That's all that matters...that's the only thing of value and worth...God doesn't need my works or my gifts. He is the Giver of every good gift. It all belongs to Him in the first place. The world doesn't need my gifts or works either. What the world needs is the Giver of every good gift. May my obedience come in the form of resting in my Father..in allowing Him to change me and align my heart with His, in laying down my own life so that His life through me may be seen.
May we be a people that hang onto Christ with everything within us...that allow Him to press His life and glory through us to the people around us...Then, I believe we really could change the world.
"You are the light of the world...let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16