Rollercoasters and Sharks

I know that this first photo makes us laugh, and it should, but I want to share just how terrifyingly accurate it can feel. Unlike my sons, I loathe roller coasters. And almost any analogy I think of for a faith walk sounds terrible. If it’s walking on water, I can’t swim. If it’s a marathon, running hurts. There are times when I can summon the courage for 15 minutes to write about God’s faithfulness, but much of the rest of the day I feel like that boy on the ride and I’m internally yelling, “Lemmeoff! Lemmeoff! Lemmeoff!” The ride ends, a new day begins, and it happens all over again. Lately I have been feeling the physical effects of a spiritual battle. I have no other explanation for the weight and fatigue and pain. Yesterday, however, I realized more of what is happening. I have felt like this has been a fight for provision, but that’s wrong. It took me arguing with a man about a quarter at a gas station to start to see it. He was upset that I was helping a lady put air in her tire because that was his hustle. He wanted a quarter toward buying a beer. Get outta here. I didn’t want to give up a quarter because I was gripping on to what little I had so tightly and I was tired of giving. Truthfully, we both wanted a quarter so badly because neither of us could see a way to make it otherwise. The question the Apostles asked Jesus about the blind man resurfaced: “Why is this person this way?”

For God’s glory.

That’s it.

I have felt as if I was fighting for provision, but that’s wrong. It has been a spiritual battle for vision – where are my eyes? I have been digging my heels in on the waves saying, “Nonononono…” as the water continues to crash over me. I have heard the cries from the shore of, “Don’t do it! That’s crazy!” And it’s terrifying. Maybe it was because of the people praying for me, maybe it was listening to worship music for 9 hours straight while I worked, but I did not feel the physical effects last night. I felt a bit more like the second image here. Jesus reminded me that he controls the waves. But even still…

I can talk about anything that I write, but it does not work the same way in reverse. I have times when words won’t come out. On Friday morning when I took my oldest son in for x-rays, I didn’t know how my other two sons would get to school. I clammed up. My son reminded me of my uncle’s offer to help from even before the school year. My son called him and he was glad to help. Yesterday I was speaking with my mother over the phone and internally I was trying to form the words that I need help for provision, but I couldn’t. It was Mother’s Day, they have already done so much, maybe I should have…and the words fell into the waves.

The problem with testimonies of faith, with authentic worship, with the Gospel, is that it shows you the truth of what’s possible. It looks terrifying and it by no means feels safe. But it is secure. The battle was for vision, and I’m trying to keep my eyes on Christ and not the waves. God always provides for the work He wants to accomplish. Whether I help someone or not will not end all of the brokenness in this world.

At one time I was the person who saw with spiritual eyes only, “Let me pray for you” and I would move on. I came to understand that there are physical needs as well, and I have given until it hurts. I see a new season for me, and it includes both – able to meet a physical need but also being like the Apostles to the blind man and seeing that there is more than a need for a little change.

I am writing this because of the power of words and the power of testimony. I trust God to accomplish the provision while I focus on maintaining the right vision. I love all that I do when I have helped people; I know it is not wrong to do as I have. It’s an honor to be trusted with someone’s most difficult struggles. I have asked for the Spirit to move in a way beyond my imagination as I stop digging in my heels and jump in the canoe. It may sound silly but I’m going to show you what I saw in just a short amount of time. Last night someone asked me if I could pick up a bag of chips. While I was working, I used my rewards points to purchase some food for myself. When I did that, I was given a coupon for a free bag of chips. When I selected that bag of chips for the person who asked, a quarter fell off from the shelf. I had eaten, the other person would eat, and I gained a quarter. Sounds silly, I know, but I see when God moves. This morning I was starting to make breakfast and I discovered a pan of steak and chicken and potatoes that did not come from this house. Even if there is (and was) a reasonable explanation for it, I didn’t see it coming.

I’m asking for the Spirit to move and I know that He will. I wasn’t in a battle just to reach a timeout, it was for a particular victory. The Spirit will move on my behalf and intercede for me when all I can do is groan. I have imagined some of the possibilities of how the Spirit will move and most of them sound just crazy enough to be possible. I have imagined some of the things that the Spirit may say to you in your life and all I can say is, “Listen.” There are some of you who need to hear that it’s okay to take the next step. If that’s you, I’m saying, “Yes! Do it! Get on this wild ride!” There are many of you who have been testimonies of faith in my life, and to you I say, “Thank you for being in the great cloud of witnesses for me – but seriously a warning would have been nice.” However the Spirit moves, I will submit and obey. If the Spirit is moving for you, please do the same. Fight with vision and trust God to supply all that you need.

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