"Station yourselves and see the deliverance of the Lord which He will work for you today. The Lord Himself will work for you, you have only to be still (silent, quiet, at peace, do nothing, remain at rest)." Exodus 14:13-14
"It will not be you that fights this battle. Take up your station, hold your position, then stand still and watch the Lord's victory on your behalf. Do not be dismayed or discouraged for the Word of the Lord shall be your help." 2 Chronicles 20:17
The Word of the Lord indeed is our help! Just when all strength is gone and you fall on your face, spent, and say, God... I can't. He says, "You're not supposed to." And I cry. Because once again, I've lost sight of how this works. "Obedience is work right? You told us to get ready. That's work, lots of work... we've done it... but nothing else makes sense!" The beautiful way He reveals Himself and His purposes in the tapestry only after the maze of threads and colors have crossed and criss crossed the warp and weft more times than we can count. We look at the individual threads, seeing only one color being worked in at a time, but the master weaver knows what He is about.
And then, suddenly, out of the confusion of threads you see figures and forms taking shape. You see how the seemingly unrelated threads have come together to create a unified visual. And when you see it your heart leaps for the beauty that is taking shape in one corner, believing that the same is happening across the loom and will be revealed in its myriad of intricacies in time.
I had one of those peeks into the developing image just throughout the course of last evening and this morning and it was beautiful in my eyes. We have come to a point in our journey where we have done what we were asked to do. The house is ready, we have eliminated the excess from our lives, we are ready for whatever He asks of us. And in the process we have reached the end of ourselves. We have laid our hearts, home, security, future, rights and any inkling of common sense from a human standpoint down, and stand here emotionally naked and completely dependent.
I have to make a confession that I have been believing (and verbalizing) a lie over the past few months, and it only became apparent to me today when I took a moment to pause and look back, and see today in light of the past. On March 28th I sent out our last ministry update newsletter. Since then I have stated numerous times that we have been set back to square one, or beyond square one into the realm of negative numbers on the process scale. In that letter I outlined how God had shut the door with OM Italy and how we were requesting prayer for two things. The first thing to be wisdom in knowing what agency God would have us partner with, and the second to give us a clear direction on ministry calling. At the time I don't think we had a clear picture of how the second request was the crucial need. You can't settle on a good partnership fit if you don't know exactly what God is calling you to, and be able to evaluate who is going to be able to best equip and enable you to live it out.
As I read over the "secondary" request for clarity on vision and calling and God's purposes for us in Italy, that is when I saw how much has come together in the tapestry. I felt we were making no progress at all, but the reality is that in two months time God has completely revealed and solidified His calling and purposes to us without a shadow of doubt. We see it clearly, we own it fully, we desire it passionately. Above and beyond that He has shown us that He has been preparing to equip us for this all along, not through discipleship training in Zambia, not through on the ground training with OM Italy, but through the structures of leadership already at place in our lives in our home church.
Last week we attended the first of 12 classes in a course called Real-Life Discipleship: equipping disciples who make disciples. We listened to our pastor share his heart for practical discipleship and seeing this become a standard of health and growth in our church. This course, his heart, the tools and the mentor we have been praying for God to put in our hands and in our lives to give us the practical foundation to live out the passionate call he has placed in our hearts. To encourage and excite the Italian church to be and make real life disciples of Jesus Christ.
So the core issue is clear. Everything else is a matter of time. And just when we thought we couldn't take one more step, we realize once again that this journey is not about getting there. It's about each step along the way. And we continue to be on a here and now step. Excited to grow in the ministry of discipleship, excited to be part of what God is awakening in our church right here, right now. Excited to one day be an extension of that work in carrying it beyond our walls to another nation that desperately needs those tools and encouragement. But excited to "be still" and watch the Lord bring it about. In His time and His ways.
Excited, not exhausted. Exhilarated to tell the truth.