I feel it. I can feel the shift.
It’s as though I can hear God saying to me, “OK kid, you ready for this? It’s almost go time. You’re almost there. I’ve given you everything you’re going to need. Don’t worry. I’m right here. We’ve got this.”
White flag blazing, I’m ready to surrender to His plan and His timing.
I'm waving that damn flag like my life depends on it.
I’m laying all my skubalon down at His feet. It’s the only way.
In a weird, miraculous way only God could make this happen. This empty place in my life where I am missing someone so fiercely? It’s rapidly filling up with Him, and He’s the only one that could fill that spot. I don’t think I would have ever realized He was the one I’d needed there the whole time, and that I was letting someone else take that place.
And it’s so clever of God, the way He’s planned this whole thing.
He waited, oh boy did He wait, until I had something precious enough that I gave my whole self to before He swept in and made me realize that what I thought I wanted all my life was not at all what I needed. He waited until I loved something more than Him to make His move.
Curiously, I can remember a family trip to Murphy, California as a kid. We stayed at a little bed & breakfast and in between running around the property with the owner’s three sons and two black labs, I occasionally found myself at the breakfast table.
One morning over eggs and toast, a young couple on their honeymoon joined us at the big community dining table. I don’t remember much about them other than the wife said something about how she had just recently given her life to Jesus and while I remember also being a little confused ((having grown up with Jesus always in the picture, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around someone just now meeting Him, but again, I was little)), the memory of how happy she was at following Christ so wholly stands out among everything else from that trip.
Right then I decided I wanted that for my life, but being so young I didn’t get it yet. I knew I didn’t have that kind of burning desire or love for Him in me ((though I suppose it was always there, He was just waiting until conditions were perfect to fan the flame)), but whatever it was she had, I wanted it. So I made a mental bookmark to come back to that when it felt right. Of course when I told my dad this he reminded me that we have no guarantee of tomorrow so you know, the sooner the better and all that rot. But there was some goofy part of me that knew God wouldn’t let me go before I got it.
I was always waiting for that moment of clarity. That a-ha. The moment many Christians speak of when they decided with their whole heart to follow Jesus.
Mine was not one moment in particular. Mine has been a slow, determined, tedious, exhausting, exhilarating and wonderful process.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I wouldn’t have appreciated any of it the way I do now had it not gone down the way it did. If I had not been so in love with and so wrapped up in someone else that I happily, and without it ever feeling like any sacrifice was made, gave my whole life to I would not have been so perfectly primed for what was to come.
Because what God saw was that I was at risk of essentially worshipping something that wasn’t Him. And He knew now, now that I knew what it meant to have something so precious to me and see it as the most wonderful thing that had ever happened in my life, He knew I was ready.
Before the end of that relationship there was nothing you could have taken away from me that I would have felt so deeply. If that makes me sound cold to every other relationship in my life, that’s not the case at all, but if you’ve ever been in love you know what I mean.
Nothing else had ever been so dear to me. He was waiting until I had something worth losing; something that once lost would quite literally bring me to my knees and finally force me to look up and fully realize that it wasn’t any love on this earth that my heart needed.
Let me tell you: it worked.
And it sucked.
It stills sucks, and hurts more than I could ever tell you. It’s something I could not in my right mind wish on anyone but… I would wish it if it meant bringing you closer to God. Because without this ongoing, two-year heartbreak I would not know God the way I’d always hoped I would.
Mari and I, as we often do, found ourselves curled into the corner of her couch the other night as an impromptu dinner part rivaling something out of Kinfolk wound down, talking about our God. Bless her heart, she has been there for me every step of the way through this saga and she has been one of my most trusted friends, offering hope and love and advice and keeping me on track to what God is doing in my life.
She reminded me of something I was starting to stop thinking about. Not forget, but just starting to brush past. She said that when gold is refined in fire, the goldsmith knows the gold is ready when it reflects his face.
God is a master goldsmith.
And He knows that by holding that piece of raw gold in the fire He can bend it and mold it and shape it and shine it, only knowing it's finally "done" when it reflects His face. That's how goldsmiths know they've purified that gold in their hands. The gold reflects all the beauty around it.
But it takes fire. Lots of it.
And I know I’m not the only one in the thick of it here. You and I are being held in these flames not because He hasn't heard out pleas for mercy. Not because He is deaf to our cries, our breaking hearts. He holds us there because He knows we can take it - we were MADE for this. And if we hold on, just trust that the works of His hands are purifying us into the people we are meant to be, we will reflect His face and all the beauty around us ((and really, can you even believe the beauty around us?))
Not everyone could withstand this kind of pressure and fire.
And I don’t want Him to stop until I reflect His face.
Lucky for me, that’s a prayer He’s been pretty good about answering.
So… Armor on.
Sword and shield ready.
He's calling me out
I’m joining the ranks.
I will fight for this kingdom because I am part of it.
I was made for this.