I had a different post planned today, but that can wait until next week. Instead, I thought I'd share a few impromptu thoughts given the present events. We're watching wide-eyed as the US election plays out, and then across the Atlantic many Europeans are entering their second lockdown. It's all pretty intense.
However, many believers - friends of God -- across the world will be sitting in their living rooms asking, “What does this mean, Lord? What do you want us to know?”
Sitting … waiting … watching … seeking Him.
"I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected."
(Habakkuk 2:1, NKJV)
We hear in part, and we put the pieces together as a body. So, in that spirit I thought I might share what I've been hearing from God these past few months. And when I say 'hearing', I can say He has spoken this particular thing to me quite a few times this past year (even before COVID began), and quite clearly. The hard part is believing it (because it feels abstract) and knowing what to do with it. It's along these lines:
The Church is crossing over to a new era like the Israelites crossed the Jordan.
This crossing over involves moving from one era to another. From one way of being, to another. From old routines, old ways of doing church, and old mindsets to a brand new 'thing'.
Specifically, the Lord has led me repeatedly to the story of Joshua and the Israelites who crossed the Jordan river collectively. They crossed over from the wilderness to the promised land (Joshua 1:1-3:17) and this involved them completely leaving their old place. Even though it was the dysfunctional wilderness, it was what they knew so there was comfort there. The wilderness had a certain set of routines: They ate manna, for example, and they were led by Moses. In the new land, the manna stopped and Moses died just before they crossed. Their main focus was now to follow the 'new' -- Joshua -- into new battles. The whole package was completely different. And the process of crossing over took months, the river being only a small part of it.
The good part was that once they had crossed over, they experienced victory - Well, as long as they were obedient and listened to God's voice.
I believe what God is saying is that we are moving, and we need to be prepared for the same magnitude of change as the Israelites had, unbelievable as that might sound. When we emerge from this pandemic, things will be different in our faith lives and perhaps in the Church. I have no idea how, but I do believe God is asking us to prepare our hearts for that. He is asking us to be open-hearted to change, be prepared to embrace something new, be prepared to be obedient, and hold on tight to him.
Right now, the year 2020 is an experience that feels something like walking through the riverbed of the Jordan. It's hard to be straddling this in-between place, this 'no-man's land'. But in that story of the crossing over, the Ark of the Covenant went ahead to show God's people where to put their footing, for they had not been that way before (Joshua 3:3-4). In the same way, God will be leading us through this. We just need to keep talking to him -- And listening.
Here is the key scripture God has been giving me for this time, and I love it. It fills me with hope!
"But the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year."
(Deuteronomy 11:11-12, NKJV)
SUM family, let's be strong and of good courage, for God is doing something new in our midst. Hold on tight, he has us buckled in and safe!
In the meantime, how are you doing? I'd love to hear, even if you are finding it tough. Let's pull together as a community.
Love to you all,