While reflecting back across the past 7 months, I have realised how God has quietly been helping and providing what I needed to keep going.
For instance, in early September I wrote about the “6-month block” that I had faced and that just as it was becoming almost too difficult, I “came across” a post about this being normal in crisis or warfare situations. The post said that by just keeping going this block resolves by around the 8th month – and it seems to have!
Then there were the times when I found praying to be like speaking to closed brass doors, and someone would share a story of a remarkable answer to prayer that would encourage me to go back to God. When I have persevered with seeking God’s face, the brass doors have “opened” and I have known His presence again. I recently saw a gardening program that talked about not providing lots of good compost around some plants – especially trees. By not providing compost, the roots seek out both water and nutrients and as they do, the plant becomes stable because its foundations grow. It finds new sources of sustenance within its new context and putting down deeper roots that enable it to grow. This is a season that is pushing us to seek God more than ever.
And then again there have been the times when it has felt like I have simply been going “through the motions”. Dryly reading scripture, passively watching a service, or being disengaged in zoomed fellowship meetings. In Psalm 57:8 the psalmist speaks to his soul “Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn”. Often the Holy Spirit has reminded me of this attitude. When I have chosen to open my mouth and sing worship songs or pray in tongues in a persistent way, I have found that something in my soul does wake up and often later in the day I catch myself joining in with the song in my spirit as I have been watered by the Spirit again.
Ephesians was written to churches that were facing spiritual opposition often expressed in physical ways. The early church had an understanding that they were living in the “last days” that period between Jesus’ ascension and His return. In this context, Paul tells the Ephesians about their warfare. It is all about standing in Christ, standing their ground, and standing firm.
I believe we are all being challenged to do this at the moment. When we worship, we stand in Christ reminding ourselves what God has done for us and who we are in Him. In persevering, we stand our ground as we are pushed deeper into God and recognise our dependence on Him. We stand firm by putting one foot in front of another as we continue to live as those who are in Christ. And we do this together as much as we can. As John Ansell vividly showed us a few weeks ago when our roots spread out, they become intertwined with the roots of others. This further strengthens our ability to stand together in the face of whatever opposition or difficulty comes our way be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. We are able to meet in small groups, so let’s do so as we are able.
God is providing what we need to stand in this season. Can I encourage you to make the decision to awaken your soul to worship! Can I encourage you to persevere in prayer? Can I encourage you to keep putting one foot in front of the other until you breakthrough? Can I encourage you to meet in whatever groups you can, so that the life each one has flows between us helping us all to stand? And God will continue to provide what we need to keep going with hope and in peace.