"Whatever Comes Through That Door..."
Is it necessary to go to a place of total brokeness?
Do the layers have to be stripped away before my self is revealed?
Are the scars marks of failure...or success?
Can the hope within outshine a world without?
God is doing a new thing in me. I can't say I'm surprised. The old thing was pretty stinky and wrinkled and dead. Plus, He did warn me. (Isaiah 43:19-See I am doing a new thing!) Anti-climactic, I know. Kind of takes away any suspense...but still...I sometimes get surprised when God does the things He says He's going to do. I can't help but to get amazed that the Creator of the Universe chooses to bend down and whisper in my ear, "I haven't forgotten about you".
The good news? I, like the economy, am in a place where at least I have nowhere to go but up. But I'm fed up. I'm tired. I'm weak. But that happens when you put your faith in man. Some trust in horses, some trust in chariots...I put my trust in the name of the Lord. My spirit is rising. I'm standing up. I'm pulling the arrows out of my chest, wiping the blood off my face, picking up my helmet and putting it back on my head. I'm taking my sword, I'm taking my shield and I'm coming out to fight.
And, ironically, in the midst of all this I'm asking God to break my heart.
I've been brought to a place where everything has been stripped away. I'm left with nothing but layers of garbage at my feet. Thorns, weeds, Dixie cups full of tears, malcontent, roots, several years, disease, loose change, flesh, trash, a couple of people, bitterness, bones, songs, blame, rage, confusion, hurt, banana peels...it's all laying in a nice neat pile here for me to come back to whenever I want. Some of it's even organized and alphabetized, pressed, ironed and filed. (yeah...like you don't do it...)
I had a vision tonight while praying. A vision for our church, in particular, but in light of the body of Christ as a whole. The worship team was singing. The church was worshiping, hands up in the air and it was packed. All of a sudden, waves of water were pouring off the platform, into the seating area and the congregation. The church was getting filled with water, people were standing there with their nice, neat little piles of trash, similar to mine, at their feet. Which hardly seems unreasonable or strange. I mean, that's what we're supposed to do...lay it down during worship...right? So these waves began to carry this stuff, this trash, out and the people began to panic. They started chasing, wading through the water trying to stop their precious cargo from going overboard, never to be seen from again.
My heart broke. People were running out of the church, chasing these piles of trash being carried away by the water, trying to catch them. They were so neatly bundled, folded, some were even pressed and on hangers. Meanwhile the church is filling up with water and no one is there to just swim and float and surf and do the things you do with water in a church. I believe these people were the "unchurched", coming in to examine and give their inspection of the church. Why do I believe that?
God is taking away our toys. Everyone. He is stripping us down and it's not comfortable. It's not supposed to be. It's supposed to hurt. Pain is a tool. It's a learning tool. But God is, if nothing else, a God of process. He is not a 2am infomercial on how you can work from home and make $17,000 a month. He does not have a "POPCORN" button or a come in a "COMBO MEAL" and He doesn't have a battery back-up or require anti virus updates. The unchurched are going to be filling churches all across the country. The thing is, they don't know where to go. Baptists? Methodists? Muslim? Do I go to synagogue, mass, prayer or nirvana? Well...how will they know? By our fruits?
Please...bear with me. God spoke to me at the end of last year. As the number "8" represents new beginnings, my family and I certainly had a new beginning. (I won't go into detail here.) I was praying in Dec. of 2008 about the new year. He brought several things to my attention. 1) Nine is the number of harvest (Matthew 27:46-50) 2) There are nine spiritual gifts (Galatians 5:22-23) and 3) There are nine fruits of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:4-11) While I thought it was specific to my life and me and myself and me and only me and what's mine and my stuff and how it affects me, cause that's the caring, unselfish person I am...I don't think it is for me. Not really, no. The nine spiritual gifts are in three categories: Power, Miracles, and Revelation. We need those to bring in the unsaved. The nine fruits are issues of character. We need to exemplify those. These times are going to bring a harvest of lost, wandering, bleary eyed people, I truly believe. Every knee will bow. If we think things are hard now...well, let's just say we should count our blessings while they still are.
So in the meantime, I'm going to get my sword and my shield, lace up my shoes, gird up, strap up, get up and go out, and fight, and get some unchurched people inside the doors where it's safe and there's plenty of shoulders for crying, supporting, carrying, leaning, working, etc. There's a scene in "Gladiator" when the "good guys" are waiting for some terrifying animal or 12 foot tall enemy gladiators to come running out and eat them. The good guys formed together with their shields and their swords and General Maximus says, "Whatever it is that comes through that door, we stand a better chance if we stick together."