I know I promised a post about “One Thousand Gifts”, but I’m still chewing on that one. So…here is a little revelation I pulled from one of last month’s entries in my journal….
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:13-14
“Ask and it will be given to you…” Matthew 7:7
“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
All these promises. So true and so powerful! But I have always thought that these meant that whatever I claimed “in Jesus name” would happen. Then when things didn’t happen, my response was doubt. Unbelief. Anger. And finally, fear. Where was God? I needed a miracle. I needed an answer. I needed a powerful manifestation of these promises. Why. Wasn’t. He. Listening!? Why did I read stories of people being healed, restored, delivered, set free all over the world, but nothing changed for me? I knew that it was written that Jesus “bore our sicknesses, and carried our diseases.” (Matthew 8:17), that “…By His wounds we are healed.” I claimed, I plead, I commanded, I casted out, I called forth. Nothing. Nada. My circumstances not only remained, but intensified. Until one day…
Revelation comes in so many different ways. Our Father knows the language of our heart. He is the one that designed “the love languages”. He knew what it would take to make me hear him. Facebook. 🙂 A friend posted a link to a song. One I had never heard before. Ironic, because it was by my favorite band? But that day, I heard it and it wrecked me…
“I’m laying down my life.
I’m giving up control.
I’m never looking back,
I surrender all.
I’m living for your glory on the earth.
For the sake of the world, burn like a fire in me…
For every tongue to confess that you alone are the king.
You are the hope of the earth.”
What!? You mean this (day, life, blessing, healing, miracle) isn’t about me? But God, I had been praying “in Jesus name” all along, is John 14 not applicable to me? Why doesn’t “my healing quickly appear”?? (Isaiah 58:8) “For the sake of the world”?? This made me ask: Why have I been petitioning the throne over this? What is my motive? If what I asked for happened right this second, would I be any different than I was 2 years ago? Ugh…
“Whatever you ask in MY name…” Lightbulb! All this time, I had been saying “in the name of Jesus” but I had been asking in my own name. For my sake. To make my life easier, more comfortable, happier. If being in Christ makes me a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), then it changes my motive, my cause, my purpose to His motive, His cause, His purpose. So also does my request change. When I pray in Jesus name, it is for His cause, His glory.
So here I am, no longer waiting for my miracle. Do I have any doubt that one day I will walk in complete freedom from sickness? None at all. That miracle happened over two thousand years ago. It’s done. So how do I explain these circumstances? Healing is easy. In Matthew 8, Jesus healed the servant of the Centurian without even going to his home. He said the words, “Go, and it will be done” and it was done. Heart transformation? That takes time, effort, surrender, casting of crowns, trust.
A.W. Tozer said, “When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it resolves a great deal of anxiety.”
Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not saying that God ever does anything “evil”. It just isn’t in His character. But I can say with confidence that sometimes our perspective, our feelings, our circumstances lie. Sometimes, if we feel under attack, this may just be the heat of the refiner’s fire (Malachi 3:2). The spin and smash of the potter’s wheel (Isaiah 64:8).
“The degree to which I allow God to keep breaking me, is the degree to which He will pour out His miracle.” -Christine Caine
My circumstances cannot change who I am. My identity is sealed. I have already been ransomed, redeemed restored, set free, healed, made new. This means that I may have days of doubt, days of anger and frustration at my circumstances. Days where I just want to go back to my “comfortable” existence. Days where I take my eyes off of Jesus and all I see are the waves and the wind. But then He rescues me and reminds me whose I am and that He will be faithful to complete what he began. (Philippians 1:6)
John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. (not comfort, not security, not wealth, not health, not happiness….peace.) In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
My prayer now is this: Thank you God for who you are. Thank you for your goodness and your mercy, your love and your healing, your peace and the transforming work of the cross. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me….grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” Burn in me for the sake of the world. May my life reflect your love. Holy Spirit move in me as a display of YOUR goodness, not mine. In Jesus name.
I heard a sermon recently by my hero of faith, Christine Caine about when Jesus fed the 5,000. I want to point out in Mark 6:41, Jesus “gave thanks and broke the loaves”. The theme: thankfulness and brokenness preceded the miracle. But that’s getting into my “One Thousand Gifts” post…. 😉