Recently, I have been studying through the Old Testament and am enjoying some of the details of the stories of the faith heroes I’ve known about my whole life. In particular, I am noticing the differences in how God interacted with different people. For example, with Joshua God is consistently steady and encouraging – “be strong and courageous!” With Moses, however, God sometimes seems… harsh.
We are human, and to put it simply, we like to be recognized for our efforts and roles. Ironically, we would often much prefer for others to say, “Look at what God did through her” rather simply than “Look at what God did.” I respect these priests who were more interested in who God was and what he did than how they were able to participate. Leaders have to learn to fade back into the background in order to emphasize who is behind any of the successes that we might have. This is truly the most significant thing we can do with our positions.
While I understand the language of “it’s a season,” I think it can actually be damaging. I know too many women who lived in “it’s a season” for so long that they lost their ability to follow their passions, pursue their callings, and invest in what God had for them outside of their families. That is tragic.
Yes, after we walk through the fire with God, after we experience a season in the darkness and loneliness of the desert, God eventually reveals Himself again. But no, we will never again encounter the God that we knew before we entered the wilderness because the whole point of the desert experience is to burn away the idol that we made Him into and reveal this wild, unsafe, uncontrollable, awesome God who actually IS. And there is grief in that death that is very, very real.
Do you know that the Maker well knows that all you have to offer Him is sand falling through open fingers, yet He laughs with delight and receives it with pleasure? Do you know that the longings in your heart He put there Himself for the very purpose of fulfilling them to show His great love and mercy toward His beloved?
As I’ve begun sharing what it is that God has placed on my heart with other believers, most of the reaction I’ve received is neutral, “Oh, that’s nice. I’m glad someone is doing something about that.” Some reaction has been sadly negative, “I could never do that.” or worse, “I wouldn’t want to endanger my reputation by being involved with that kind of ministry.” I’ve waffled between joyful hope that God would use me to make a difference in a dirty reality and frustration over the feelings of isolation my pursuit has brought me to.
“Sometimes, when we stare at pain day after day, we become numb to it. It hurts too much to care, so we stop caring.” I didn’t know how prophetic those words would be in my life.
What is most humbling and beautiful about the training ground of the desert season is that it is designed to take us to a much deeper place of neediness in our relationship with God. We come to realize that we are shortsighted, powerless, and selfish. Against that backdrop, we experience the kindness of Christ that leads us to repentance and holy clingy-ness.
It wasn’t that I wanted to be famous, but it was deeply ingrained in me from childhood to shoot for excellence. Nothing less than the best was worth doing, and all the better if people could see you doing it. I was so scared to not be a valuable asset to God, and at that time, I was pretty sure He needed my help.
It’s not that I am not interested in that any more, or that I think God has no use for me. It’s just that I am lifting my eyes up and realizing that I just want Him. I am way more excited about the fact that He is holding my hand than that my feet are standing where they have no business being.