Saturday, August 22, 2009

Facing Your Personal Giants

God will not stay in the box of out theology or methodology. He will move to make us seek Him. At least that's what He did with me. God was destroying my "little box," working to rip things out of my life that didn't look like Jesus. I thought God was a Southern Baptist from he deep South. I learned a lot about who He really is and how He works...

Without the intercessory prayers offered up for me and for others in our congregation, I don't think we could have had the courage to step out and face some of our giants. But God was awakening us to prayer.

This chapter was about Michael Catt's personal trials, and some of the personal trials of the congregation. I don't have to share what he went through - we are all familiar to trials. What's important is what he learned about trials, because it's a biblical truth we all need to hold on to. Trials force us to stop relying on ourselves and start turning to Him. Trials show us that God alone is All-powerful and we don't have Him figured out. Trials teach us to pray. And trials strip us of our fleshly ego, allowing God to mold us into His image. It's not pretty, but it's necessary.

I had read a book during a very dark time in my life called, "When God remains silent". I think. I can't even remember the author now. But the author pointed out how sometimes it feels like Jesus has just turned His face away from us. And on our end, we feel like He's abandoned us, or He doesn't care, because He's not coming to meet our need like we expect Him to. But in reality it's the love of a Father, who knows He needs to put us through the fire - and knows how much it hurts us - and He can't bear to see our pain... But in love He needs to hold us to it.

Like when God the Father turned His face away from Jesus when He was on the cross. We hear it sung all the time, and what scripture says is that Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?" Jesus (God in the flesh) felt it just like we do. And it broke God's heart! But He had to turn His face to allow Jesus' crucifixion and death to continue - He could not let His compassion and love for His One and Only Son to move Him to intervene in the plan of salvation.

In my most recent trials I was un-trusting and unbelieving in God... even though I said I was... my actions and the condition of my heart was proving otherwise. I didn't feel that God cared specially for me, and I had to feel this way long enough until it hurt too much to live that way and I began to seek God for a change. I began to really seek His heart, and I found Him, and He met with me. And I learned that I need to open my heart to Him every day.

I can't spell out all my trials right here... Maybe one day I'll write a book... but I know of a few people who have criticized me for being open with my wounds and I prefer not to hinder the point of this blog and this awesome story. But I can look back and see that Paul and I are closer to being people He could use for His glory than we were before as a result of what these trials have done in our hearts - we are more compassionate, less legalistic, more sensitive and loving towards others. Not that we weren't before, but specially now! We are more prepared to answer His call and see the importance of it from God's heart and not on the surface. Because we've learned that above all else we can do for Him, the only thing He cares about are the hearts of the people that we "minister" to or work with. He could care less how "good" something looks if I've offended someone else to accomplish it. He won't honor my "great talents" if they are my excuse to treat others as if they are less than me. Paul and I have been on the burnt end of these sticks and we are not willing to put anyone else there!

So how do we face our personal giants? In 2 ways. As a group, we unite and pray for each other... really pray for the needs of those around us that are going through the giants of their own, and we are humble enough to ask for and receive prayer for ourselves. It may be tough, but we are not supposed to be in it all alone. As Christians, we really need to develop a heart that hurts with others enough for us to invest time in interceding for them. As individuals, we follow scripture... or to summarize, I'll quote Pastor Catt:

"We can't take the visible as the last word. We must prepare to simply receive what God has for us. he wants us to understand how great His plans are for us, how mighty His hand is on our behalf and how awesome His power is. He is just waiting for us to step out in faith and prove Him right."

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