Monday, October 4, 2010

Of Pits and Power

I've been thinking a lot about standing in strength and power recently. Last Tuesday I found myself in a practice room on my knees and in tears, wrestling with God. What it comes down to is that He was calling me to stand. And I wanted nothing to do with it. But our God is relentless.

Here's the best way I can describe it. There's a story in II Samuel where a man chases a lion into a pit on a snowy day and kills it. It's really very exciting stuff. Now, another pit story. In Judges, Gideon is hiding in a pit from his enemies. It is at this of all moments that God calls Him "mighty warrior" and tells him to rise and that he will rescue Israel. Of course Gideon thinks it's all crazy. Given the choice between the two stories, I would definitely have to say I prefer Gideon's. I would much rather hide in a pit than fight a lion in one. And yet, I know that hiding will not fulfill my soul. Hence, the tears and the wrestling match with God.

Let's be honest for a second. We've all been there, haven't we? We've all faced God's calling and wanted to run the other way. We've all looked at the women God wants us to be - standing strong, clothed in dignity, heads held high - and we've all at some point or another wanted nothing more than to hide. I discovered as I cowered in my pit that I was afraid of my potential. I could hear God calling me mighty, and I couldn't wrap my mind around it. I couldn't for the life of me see what He saw. And quite frankly, I was a little resentful that God would call me to such an impossible task. I didn't ask for the chance to go fight lions! I wanted to stay hidden in the pit like Gideon! And then God stopped me and gently reminded me that Gideon did eventually rise. He stood up and God fulfilled His plan, leading Gideon to victory. God made Gideon a mighty warrior once Gideon was willing to stand in faith and stop cowering and hiding... after Gideon was willing to be vulnerable. God was calling me to do the same thing. He calls all of us to do the same thing. And the truth is, as much as we may want to fight it, in our hearts we know that our desire is not to cower, but to stand in strength and dignity. So right there in a practice room, on my knees I found myself submitting to God, handing my heart and will over to Him, and begging Him for the courage to stand in the strength He desires for me.

It's kind of ironic, isn't it? Here I am bowing before God, surrendering to His desire to fill me with His power so that I could stand strong. I was surrendering to His empowerment. Yesterday (because the sermon at church was about POWER of all things!) I learned a lot more about this idea of surrender to empowerment. We were in Ephesians 3 where Paul talks about being rooted and established in love and having power to grasp the depths of God's love for us and being filled with the fullness of God. So here's the deal. If Christ lives in me, and if His glory is going to be reflected in me, I'm going to stand strong. I'm going to stand in power, because the all-surpassing power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in me. If I refuse to do that, if I choose to cower in the pit, I'm living in rebellion. If I refuse to stand, I refuse to allow God's power to be reflected me. If I say "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" but then refuse to live in that strength, I do nothing to prove that true. I do not glorify Him, and I do not enjoy Him. Hear me on this. I firmly believe that God's desire is for us to live EMPOWERED to use and develop the gifts that He's given us TO THE FULLEST. We are NOT weak! We do NOT need to hide! We can stand strong and firm, rooted and established in His Love. We bow so that God can fill us, and than we stand strong that He might glorify Himself in us.

One last thought and I am done preaching. Life drives us into the pit. It happens. But our Beloved is faithful. He meets us right there in the pit, and He calls us mighty warrior. When we choose to stand and walk, even though our circumstances aren't changing, even though we feel weak and like all we want to do is hide, He fulfills His plans for us. He makes us mighty warriors. That is what faith is. God doesn't call us to things we can imagine. He calls us to adventures beyond our wildest dreams (check out Ephesians 3:20-21)! So let's all stand in Him. Let's spit in the face of fear and defy our human nature that causes us to desire safety over the fullness of God. Let's believe God. May we all walk clothed in strength and dignity. All God's promises are "yes" in Jesus. May our lives resonate with a bold and confident "amen!"

Surrendered to empowerment,

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