Reflecting on Week 2 of the P31OBS : What Happens When Women Walk in Faith.
Last week we moved into what Lysa TerKeurst calls the “famine”.
I call it the “in-between”.
As a follower of Christ, my starting point was the day I submitted myself to Him, His death and resurrection. My end point is when I am with Him in heaven. Everything else is the in-between. I’ll have lots of little mini-stops on the way. Some are rest stops, some are exciting stops, and each have their own “in-betweens”.
When I’m in the car on a road trip, my legs can hurt from sitting too long. I may need a pee break. But we’re stuck in traffic. Or we’re on that long stretch of road with no bathrooms. Things happen in the in-between that trip us up. Hurt us. Test us and stretch us and sometimes it feels so over-powering we forget how amazing the destination is going to be.
I remember once we decided to keep pushing to see how far we could get. Traveling had been great and we were in great spirits. As night approached, traffic picked up. Then out of no where, four lanes of traffic went from 75mph to 0. I can still remember the car vibrating as the tires screamed to come to a stop, my husband desperately trying to keep us from slamming into the car in front of us, while also trying to prevent us from being slammed into by the car behind us. Praise the Lord He kept all on the road safe that day, and no one hit anyone. I burst into tears. Sometimes during the in-between, unexpected hard things happen.
Romans 5:3-5 (ESV)
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
2 Corinthians 6:10 (ESV)
10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
We must remember God uses the in-between to prepare us. He could be preparing us for a new job, a new place to live, a new ministry to enter into, or for us to be His hands and feet to someone who will come into our lives with specific needs. He knows the good work He has planned for us, and He is faithful to prepare us for it as we are faithful to leave what He calls us to leave.
We need endurance. To have endurance, I think we need joy. Lysa writes in Chapter Five
“The point is that we must get to the place where we pay more attention to God at work in our daily lives. If we live our lives unaware of God in the small things, we’re probably living unaware of His presence in the big things as well.“
She later writes in Chapter Six
“But this life is not about me. It’s about joining hands with Jesus to fulfill whatever tasks He sets before me and to share His love with all He brings my way. Don’t miss this point – though the famine phase is hard, it does not have to be void of joy. Look for the joy. It is there. Answered prayers, treasures of wisdom, and the peace of God’s provision are waiting for you in this phase. Depending on God brings such joy as I would never know any other way.”
Last week as I went through this study of famine, I found myself praying Matthew 6:21-27. You see, I have this “desire” in my heart, however, I’m uncertain if it’s God’s Will. I want my treasure, and my heart’s desire, to be in God. To Be God.
I shared with someone I love about this desire several weeks ago when it seemed God was answering my prayer but I couldn’t be sure. I didn’t want to get excited just to be let down, and that person advised me to read Psalm 37:4. So I’ve been honest with God. “God, this is what I want. Please make it happen. If not, ultimately, I want to Trust You. Keep me from depression, fear, and frustration. If you don’t give me this desire, I still want to be fulfilled in You. To Desire You More.” Some days it’s a hard prayer to pray.
Little pieces have been happening the last few weeks. I start to think “ok, maybe this is God answering that desire of my heart” and I allow myself to get excited. Then I think “maybe I’m reading too much into it. I see these little pieces because it’s what I’m focused on, I should be focused on God and not this” and discouragement begins creeping in.
During one of those moments where I was feeling discouraged, God spoke.
He ANSWERED my prayer.
Not the prayer I thought I was praying. He answered the prayer underneath, the one that was my heart whispering “are you there, do you care, can I really trust You regardless of the outcome?“
He answered with a huge YES that literally shot goosebumps all up and down my arms. I was breathless telling a friend about it, and laughing with joy by the time I told my husband.
JOY. Joy I’m searching out with hungry eyes. I want to endure, and I want that to produce my character, and I want my character to produce hope because God’s love has been poured out on me. I want to live the joy of that hope because even when it might look like I have nothing, I possess everything in Jesus. EVERYTHING. Because His answer is “Yes”.
Not just for me, for you too.
Yes He is there. Yes He cares.
Yes You really can trust Him regardless of the outcome.
You can trust him in the in-between.