I have been going back through some personal journal entries from this past year, and I wanted to open my heart and share a couple short excerpts from them. I pray they are an encouragement to you.
Throughout this year, (well, in actuality, all of my life I have felt this, but specifically I am getting deep revelation on this in 2010), God has spoken deeply to my heart about how I am called to declare the “thriving garden of the Lord in the midst of a wilderness desert”. I see this picture all throughout Scripture, especially laced through the books of Jeremiah and Isaiah. This could seem a dream-like analogy, but I mean it in a very practical, down-to-earth, day-to-day way. I feel very much called of God to encourage myself and those around me to discover the truth — that in God you truly can thrive in the most challenging of life circumstances. Those places of deepest grief and desertion, can become the very place of deep and lasting joy and peace in God. It sounds so crazy and we can get so crushed under the burden of discouraging realities that we lose sight of the TRUE reality: God’s life flowing within us. In the midst of the pain and the hurt and the death, God is working His Life in us. This is not just fanciful, wishful thinking. This is truth. And so out of this growing revelation of this truth, came forth the cry of my heart earlier this year when I wrote,
“God, prepare a garden in my heart, in the middle of the desert. May You give me eyes to see as You do. Eyes that see a garden when all others only see a desert. May I be a crazy one, a blazing one, that creates gardens wherever I place my feet.” (Alison Lam).
That is the cry of my heart. And I pray that if you are one such deserted one, in the midst of the dry and weary wilderness, that you will become a garden. God has declared it. The God of the Universe, who knit you together in your mother’s womb and who created the very earth that you dwell on, HE desires to thrive and flourish your heart. Not just when things are lovely and free of conflict or difficulties, but IN THE MIDST of them. God, would You impart this truth to Your children. Plant gardens in hearts today. I came across another journal entry today where I was arguing with God about how I didn’t believe I had the strength to carry the tension of holding as yet unfulfilled promises in my heart in light of the fact that there was no real proof that they would ever come to pass. In my discouragement and weakness, I cried out to God, begging for Him to take this cup from me. The cup of painfully believing that His promises over my life are good and true, yet seeing no proof of this. It’s an interesting thing to experience the Almighty Calm of God while I throw up my fists to Him and throw my accusations His way. He is so ‘Other Than’. He is so unlike me, yet He holds the key to everything I am. It is such a paradox! A beautiful mystery. And it’s in these daily struggles that the Lord so beautifully comes and speaks a word and silences my arguments. Such a time came as I journaled about this months back …and God journaled back:
God, I can’t carry it.
Yes, you can.
No, I can’t. Please take it. I don’t want it anymore.
You must carry it. You were called to hope. You must carry it.
God, I can’t do this without Grace. I must have Grace or I will buckle.
She will be your daily companion. Grace be yours.
The fact that God said I was called to hope really punched me in the gut, when He spoke this. A black-and-white reminder of what I am called to. God has called me to hope. To be ‘The Hoping One’ and that God is most glorified in me when I maintain a hopeful position in my heart, in all areas of life. The moment I stop hoping, even if circumstances seem to agree that I should give up hope, the Lord’s heart is grieved, because one of God’s job descriptions for my life is to faithfully maintain hope against all hope. I am to be a crazy Hoper (if that’s even a word!). Sometimes I think God is more concerned about the position of our heart, than He is in the actual end results. Even if whatever I hoped in does not come to pass before I die, He will be pleased that I continued on in hope.
The same goes for those of you who are believing for healing. I believe He is more delighted when we maintain unwaivering faith and belief that God desires to heal us, than He is concerned about whether we get healed or not. We get so discouraged that we are not getting healed, and somehow condemn our faith as weak and failing, but God is on His throne ecstatic that we have faith, and continue to have faith, day after day! God is the one who can take care of the outcome and the actual healing happening, but we can just do our part and holding fast to faith and hope!
So, to all of us, who are painfully carrying the tension of hoping and believing for something that has not yet come, take courage and continue in it! Hope on! Keep believing by faith! You MUST NOT give up. This is the strong command of God. You must not give up.
May the empowering and strengthening Grace of our God be yours in full measure as you carry the weight of hope, day in and day out. He is faithful. He hears your cries. He sees the hopeful turning of your heart towards Him. Nothing is unseen in the Father’s eyes. Grace be with you.