As I close this series I want to do what I said I would do in Part 1. There I spoke of a 25 year journey. This journey began in the summer of 1993 when I stepped out of a leadership role in a church. My friend Bernie had a prophetic dream about me and I knew that it meant I was heading into a season of testing. I thought it would last a few weeks! However, 25 years later I believe I am coming out of that season.
This is not to say that I have had 25 years of barrenness. I have led small groups, taught, preached, and written. Yet I have had 25 years of a sense of something more. Over a decade ago I, along with a few friends, organized a conference on the connection between Israel and the Church. We called it ‘Prepared for His Purpose.’ For me it feels like in spite of what I have accomplished the last 25 years have been a season of preparation for His purpose.
Why do I believe change is coming, and to some extent has arrived? A couple of reasons. The first is my transition out of work. I have had an inner sense for years that retirement from my secular job was actually about a transition more into ministry. The second is something that happened to me recently connected to this transition. A few times while teaching in a church context I have had the experience of sharing something and as it was coming out of my mouth thinking, ‘that is interesting, I never knew that.’ At those moments there is a download from the Holy Spirit where He is clearly the one teaching. In mid-June I was in Edinburgh and praying early in the morning and this happened. I prayed something I had not planned and as the words came out of my mouth I had a further encounter with the Holy Spirit.
At present I have not experienced the full release of what happened. To me this prophetic experience and promise need to be believed and will manifest over time. It is like what I saw the evening before writing this. I was kayaking in some wetlands in the mountains and watching two families of ducks with half grown ducklings. They were both swimming ahead of me when one suddenly and quietly disappeared into the reeds. While I could not see them, they were still there, and had I stayed and waited they would have reappeared in time. The same is true of His promises in our lives. While we may not see the immediate manifestation if we are faithful we will see the fruit of what He promised.
Why am I sharing this? I think we all go through seasons, some are short and some are long. Yet, in them I believe we need to truly embrace Romans 8:28 to walk through whatever season we are in. In fact I have had a great struggle in writing this because a voice has whispered in my ear things like, “You are just being presumptuous.” “What happens if nothing happens? What will you say then?” What is taking place is the testing of His word. Many times in scripture what we see is a prophetic word then the exact opposite in the experience. Think of Abraham, Joseph and David. In fact it happened to Jesus.
10 And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. 11 Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. 13 And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him. Mark 1:10-13 (NKJV)
Jesus was baptized and the audible voice of His Father spoke so the crowd could hear the affirmation. What was the immediate outcome? Wilderness and testing. If we want to see the fruit of His promise we need to continue to believe it. In fact scripture says there are two conditions to seeing His promises revealed.
12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:12 (NKJV)
He requires that we exercise both faith and patience. Yet while we wait there is another promise.
1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” 3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. 4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. Psalm 91:1-4 (NKJV)
If we learn to abide in Him while we wait we can be in a place of safety and rest. I remember many years ago when we lived on an acreage. We had a few different critters over time. One summer I had a couple of Bantam hens and a rooster. One of the hens had 9 or 10 little chicks. One evening they didn’t return to the chicken coop so I went looking for them. I found the hen perched about 4 feet off the ground in a dogwood bush. There was no sign of the chicks. When I reached out to pick her up I found all the chicks were on her, hidden in her feathers. Just so, as we wait in faith and patience we can be found in Him.
In this post I have shared a lot about myself. My purpose is illustrative rather than prescriptive. Whatever season you are in I encourage you to find that place of rest in Him to go through it. Lastly, I encourage you to listen to this encouraging song by Third Day and believe this line – “I will lift my voice to worship you my King and I will find my strength in the shadow of Your wings.”
Your Love Oh Lord by Third Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEF7IoQ3eUk