My friends, I’m amazed this series is continuing (I changed the main title to Transforming the Mind, because that is truly what it’s about, Romans 12:2!) So far we’ve covered Feasting on God’s Word, Claiming and Praying God’s Promises, Giving the Holy Spirit Authority, and last week, Pleading the Blood of Jesus.
When I started this series I suspected thankfulness and praise would be part of it, but up until a couple days ago I wasn't sure if this series had more. I kept asking Abba for what was next. Part of the answer arrived on Saturday, during of all places, a yard sale my family and I were doing to clean out some extra stuff in the form of a humble, older man.
Let me tell you a story about a man named Frank.
He stood by my the boxes of Christian fiction and nonfiction that I'd decided it was time to part with and the conversation began about his own writing and his wife's love of Christian fiction. Soon I would learn more about Frank that would stir my faith and hunger for more of God.
He shared a story of hearing God's voice tell him to go to a neighbor's house—a neighbor he barely knew. In obedience he went and found out a year of unemployment would leave the couple destitute if they didn't get work. Moved by Frank's belief in God's Word, they prayed with him and in less than a month, both were employed.
Frank then told us of how God placed him in such a time and place to pray for another unbeliever for terminal cancer, who is now cancer free. And yet another story of a woman desperate for work and ready to settle for part time, who after praying with Frank wound up with a full time job.
My daughter Leslie, who has been searching for a job for over a year, stood nearby with a big smile on her face. I could tell she was as touched as I was.
Then the words just blurted out, "Leslie, I think Frank should pray with you for a job. What do you think?"
It was a bold move for me to make. Though I know my daughter believes in God, knows Jesus as her Savior and has witnessed miracles in her own life, she is reticent to do things like this, to allow others to pray with her.
But I had nothing to lose and neither did she. I expected the usual look of discomfort and shake of the head, but what I witnesses surprised me.
She did a little hop forward and said, "Yes, please!"
There we stood, the three of us (which Frank was quick to point out the strength of two or more praying), hands joined and heads bowed. All while my husband mowed the yard with a rotary mower (no engine, no noise) just a few feet away! (He did later make a comment about introducing Frank to a book about coincidences, but I still believe the spiritual realm touched him.)
Astounding, truly. But I will tell you what stuck with me most. After we prayed, Frank looked at Leslie and told her not to ask for a job again. It was done. He referred to the Word again, saying that it was finished on the cross. He instructed her to give God thanks every day for her job.
My friends, I believe that job is already in place and that God will reveal it very soon. I can't wait to see what it is! And I'm inspired to make this a new pattern of thought and action by this event and God's Word:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. — Phil. 4:6-7
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. — Phil. 4:19
And my story continues. What happened Saturday kept me thinking all evening and Sunday morning. I went to church and little did I know that my pastor would drop another piece of this truth into place through the story of Job.
In our most trying and challenging times, our natural inclination is to ask for relief, deliverance, for the pain the go away. I know I do, and did, especially in the beginning of this journey God has had me on as He has done spiritual surgery on my heart, mind, soul and spirit. But the surgeon must make an incision and blood must flow in order for healing and restoration to come.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. — 1 Thess. 5:16-18
I know what you're thinking. How do we do this? When the darkness is thick enough to touch and our strength is gone, thankfulness is the last thing we want to practice. Let me point out that this piece of Scripture tells us to be thankful in all circumstances, not for the circumstances. Yes, there are times when we can be but others...perhaps God isn't asking for that. Perhaps He is asking that we be thankful for His presence, purposes and plans in the midst of it, even when the evidence isn't there yet or we just can't see it.
And this is the truth from Job that somehow hit me in a whole new way in this season that I am in. In those times when we think God isn't hearing or answering us, He is.
And His answer is Himself.
This goes beyond the truth that Jesus is the answer. This is literal and rooted deeply in the Father's love for us. Greater than the solution we have asked, begged and pleaded for, Abba literally gives us Himself. His presence, His comfort, His reassurance.
Perhaps the clouds of doubt, worry, fear and anxiety are hiding Him. This is where knowing God is good, knowing Who He is and believing Him, and trusting Him and His promises becomes so crucial to our faith journey. For this is the Light in us that parts those clouds to reveal the Son, Jesus who is in us and Who has been all along.
He is always there, closer than we realize, especially when He feels the furthest away. My friends, this is our truth and reality. Anything else is a lie that needs to go and be replaced with this truth. And it's one of the most transformative truths that changes not only our minds, but our hearts, feelings, emotions and reactions that I know of.
It's a daily choice, filled with the strength and love of Jesus, and it's ours to make. My love and prayers are always with you, my friends! Dineen