I woke up today refreshed after a very long time. Snow falling outside my window and a thin blanket of white covered the ground. The same stillness and hushed gentleness that echoes over Christmas day lingers well into this morning, and today I am able to pause, breathe, and reflect.
Since my last post, our family has experienced challenges and transitions within all of our lives that none of us could have anticipated the actual magnitude of energy taken from us. Plenty of joys walk side by side with a handful of hardships. But, I wake up today able to breathe deep and taste goodness.
One beautiful moment during this time was the pursuit of long-term work in India. Aside from working full-time, emails and meetings consumed my hours with determining the organization to join and be sent by. This past week, I received the official yes to join a group of hard-working, Holy Spirit led people who work around the world to advance the gospel and to join God’s work through them in India.
And throughout this process, I realized that I (maybe we) have spent so much of my life pursing my future and my dreams the wrong way. Though wrong stands more as a generic description.
Backward. Lazy. Flesh enhancing. Faith lacking.
Whenever I or others would ask God to open doors or to tell us what to do, when we would say, “God, I just want to do what’s right,” my stomach would do a slight flip. Those prayers, though most likely with sincere intentions, are limited prayers. They are prayers that place all of the energy and emphasis and effort on God, then justify us to sit and wait and do nothing. These prayers are one way conversations of old covenant thinking because they highlight that we have no authority, no power, no freedom to do that, which in contrary, the Holy Spirit has actually imparted to us.
I have known far too many people who pray for God to open the closed doors ahead of them, and reveal to them the right door to walk through. I’m not negating the verses in Matthew in which Jesus says, “…keep on knocking reverently and the door will be opened to you.” However, we miss out that Jesus prefaces the open door concept with, “Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find…”
You see, we have work to do before He will consider opening the door. He wants to see that we’re responsible enough to take the keys of the family business and build something. As any healthy relationship goes, we are to carry on a two way conversation with God that entails continual asking and receiving, continual seeking and finding, and then continual knocking and opening. And I think that the knocking is something that continues as the asking and seeking occurs.
I’m reminded of Isaiah 30:21, which reads, “And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.’” It’s the voice of God behind us that trusts our directions and His presence comes with, whether we choose the right or the left.
As carriers of God’s Spirit, it is our responsibility to walk in the Spirit. I’ve learned that when I remember my responsibility, I also remember the authority, power, and freedom I have because of Christ in me. My prayers these days are looking more like, “Ok, God. You trust me. I am going to keep walking in this direction. The doors are open and peace reigns in my spirit. Would you shut the doors and give me anxiety if it’s not the path You are walking?”
Forward. Hard working. Spirit magnifying. Faith inducing.
God really does want to give us good things, one of which is the Holy Spirit. And if we walk in step with the Spirit and in such unity and accordance with who He is, then God entrusts mighty Kingdom advances into our hands, and the world will know His everlasting love.
So, may we be people who pray forward, who work hard, who magnify the Spirit, and who live in an ever so dependent faith. It’s quite the adventure, and I ask you to join the angels and cloud of witnesses before us who lived in such a way. You’re in good company.