You Make Me Brave

 

I had an update prepared to post next. And maybe it will soon follow with some info about what’s been going on in the past month.

But I need to pause right there because something made today exceptional.

Now I remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you –unless you believed in vain.

Two, almost three, months ago, I came to Africa. And my deepest underlying hope, packed way down in my most secret thoughts, was that God would meet me here undeniably. I knew God was the highest authority, the most powerful force, the most sovereign being, the most wise and final judge. I doubted His intentions to be close to me. I doubted that he actually cared about my fears, my joys, my hopes, about me. And in the midst of that steady, constant doubt, I wondered what that means about who I really am. If Christianity stands apart because of the access we have to a holy God, and the personal relationship we can have with Deity, I don’t have part in the most important thing. Do I actually have part in any of it?

I kept thinking, God –please –I believe, help my unbelief.. Help my unbelief.. Help me… because I don’t know if I believe. God, where are you? Can you see me? Do you want to?

And I asked my supporters, “Please pray that God would increase my faith.” But then I tried to carry my burden alone. I tried to live in a sea of people under the cold shadow of a god-like image of Sovereign Dis-interested Authority who looks past me.

In God’s patient grace, he let me wear myself out in West Africa where I couldn’t lean on anything to buffer my struggle. It only took about a month. And I found a safe place to drop my pretense and face it all honestly in plain sight with a friend. I remember the first time she said God delights in her and that He is her greatest delight. I had to ask –do you believe that? Ok, yes, but now answer me honestly do you really believe it? ..why?

We met often, almost daily, over the past couple of months. In our time together, I didn’t let any dishonest conclusion settle. Any doubt was uncovered. Any distrust of God. We searched out lies that kept me from seeing clearly. So much scripture. So much searching. So much frustration that I didn’t get it –the personal relationship. Is it really possible? But I refused to give up to a forced “love” of God – if it could be real and personal, I want the love to well up inside me just like it does when I think of my brother Joshua, who I have absolutely adored my whole life.

God’s love is mysterious. I don’t know how it works. I don’t know how to connect the previous paragraph to the next one. But what I can say is, today May 18, 2017, the flood gates opened and rivers of water washed away all the stubborn lies that tied my hands and my hopes behind my back. All I can say is that now, I am His forever –and I laugh with joy as I type these words.

He is for me, not against me. No matter how far I run, God will chase me down. No matter how dark it gets on a raging ocean, in wave after wave His love crashes over me. No matter how much my new trust might be shaken in what comes tomorrow, his strong steady arms will wrap around me and hold me. No fear can hinder now the love that made a way. No matter how insecure my unpredictable life and unknown future can make me, the lover of my soul looks right at me, face to face, with his big gorgeous caring eyes and unconditional immovable love, and he says “be still” then he smiles and continues, “and know that I am God”.

And it delights him. And it delights me.