Paul indicated that the best any one of us sees is like looking through a dimmed mirror (I Corinthians 13:12-13. We get glimpses of his work and heart, seeing in part but never the complete picture. The Church, on the other hand, “is the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” (Ephesians 1:23) When we add our glimpses alongside those of others, we’ll have a fuller picture of his work in us.
Of course, by “the Church,” Paul wasn’t talking about our institutions, denominations, or even religious leaders, but those children who are in touch with his heart and who follow the voice of the Shepherd. I love listening alongside the many others I’m related to worldwide.
After posting my latest blog, I received three emails within two days with a similar theme—recognizing his work and embracing it rather than getting him to bless ours.
Looking forward to all that Abba has in store for us this day…year and as I was feeling a bit overwhelmed one day through all that is happening, I asked, “How do we move forward, what is it we’re to do, how do we live in this time?” I heard Him say, “stay calm, and carry on, and stand back and see the salvation of the Lord”.
Your blog post, Joyfully Sober, resonated so deeply with me. We first met over a decade ago in Alaska. Since then, my husband and I have lived in Denmark for 5 years, and now in Colorado. We bought a home where shortly after a wildfire roared through, devastating over one-third of our neighborhood. It surrounded our house, coming within only a few feet of destroying it, but our home was preserved. Daily, as I meet with the Lord, I look out charred trees on the mountainside, wondering what new life might be growing under the blackened earth. What are those seeds… and how are they like the kingdom God is revealing in his sons and daughters?
So, today I’ve read and re-read your message. It has stirred up a new sense of joy within me, seeing that this is the work of glory that God is revealing across the Body of Christ. The “whatever-it-takes” prayers. I also admit that since this pandemic began, I’ve felt a sense of disturbed exasperation with church leaders who just want things to “return to normal”… as soon as possible. Can’t they see in this the wonderful cleansing, subterranean work of the Spirit?!
“Be patient, Sylvia, hold space for the coming of the Lord, for he is indeed coming.”
And you are right to say there’s no hurry. The wilderness experience creates within us a new, slower sense of time. A quietness and indifference. A spacious place where we’ve made room to be able to receive God’s seeds.
I want to give you a warning before sharing this last one. Do not try this at home. Robin is the man who wrote me the original question I posted in my previous blog. As God was leading Robin through this process he describes, this was not Robin presuming to do something outlandish by his reasoning. It is the opposite of that, and it turned out disastrous when others tried to follow his insight without the same leading. Here’s the story he told me:
We live and farm in South Australia on 400mm (15 inches) of rainfall; our summers are dry and hot. We grow one crop per year—cereals, canola, and pulses.
About eight years ago, soon after we stepped out of the institutional church, Father clearly told me while I was harvesting canola to plant all our canola stubble to sorghum. Sorghum is never grown in our area; it is a crop of high rainfall areas.
Obediently we sowed on one paddock, though not all we were supposed to. Our farm advisor thought we were crazy, but he let us buy the seed with convincing. We only received a small amount of rainfall that summer, yet the sorghum flourished (see picture above). Cars, farm advisors, and photographers regularly stopped and walked out into our field.
After several months, it was getting close to harvest, and we were impatient because we wanted to prepare the ground before the opening rains to plant wheat. When we thought it was ready to harvest, we took the combine to the paddock, where we heard Father say, “No, it’s not time.” Thinking I knew better, I reaped about a ton anyway. In Australia, our grain moisture has to be 12% or under but this measured 25%. So, we bagged it and left the combine. The next day, the grain was filled with worms and was useless, even to feed the cattle.
We left it for a week and tried again, only to hear Father say, “No, it’s not time.” The grain measured 20%. A couple of days later, I jumped in the combine to harvest when I got a phone call from a brother. He felt Father telling him to ring me and say, “No, it’s not time.”
By this time, we were getting anxious because winter rains were forecast, and it was getting close to the time to sow wheat. To hurry up the process, we sprayed the sorghum with a chemical to hurry the drying process. After a week, we tried again, again Fathers spoke, “No, it’s not time.” By this time, the moisture had gone to 30%, the highest it had ever read.
The very next day, Father spoke again, “It’s time.” It would have been impossible for the moisture to come down in that time, but when we measured it, it was under 12%. We harvested the paddock on the last acre, the opening rains started, and it has been wet from then on.
So that’s my story. I think Father is showing me that there is a great harvest coming, but he alone will do it. It will not be as before; it will be done through intimacy with Him in obedience, faith, and trust.
The time of us doing it with our own agendas needs to be over. It doesn’t produce the Father’s harvest and is often counterproductive. Perhaps this will be the harvest of the last times, where our certainty is Jesus. He alone will build His church. He has and is preparing her for the days to come
By the way, many farmers in our area and beyond tried planting sorghum in the following years, they all failed.
Hence you can see my interest when you heard “It is time.”
I love that story on so many levels—God speaking, the risk in following, the amazement of others, the attempts to take control in his own strength, and in the end, God having his way. I even like that it didn’t work when others tried the same thing in their own strength. And for what purpose was all this? Would God go to such lengths to help someone learn that listening to God is the way to live? I think so, and he does it so playfully, too.
The hardest thing for us to do in our painful circumstances is to “stand by and see the salvation of God.” We are too busy trying to fix things on our own or getting God to fix them our way. Instead, he wants us to listen, see his way forward, and trust him in the unfolding.
And trusting is not just waiting or presuming; trusting is believing what we’ve heard from him.