Wilderness and Oceans

by - June 12, 2014

Tonight I stood before a group of junior high and high school youth group girls, and I saw myself and my own churchy youth circles looking back at me. I had the opportunity to tell them how I was at one time them: in love with Jesus. “Come to Falls Creek.” “Come to our youth group party, there will be pizza.” Come and be saved. Come and know Jesus. And then I had to confess to those girls that I had walked away from Him. I didn't listen for His voice, I didn't see myself as He sees me. I didn't know how to seek him for the path of my life, by giving my life totally to Him. Until life got so far off path it was obvious something had gone wrong. And then I got to tell them how He came for me. He brought me back. He redeemed me. Just like He tells us He will. He took me to the wilderness and spoke tenderly to me, and how I now answer Him as in the days of my youth. Hosea 2. I have shared this here before, but last night was the first time I got to share it there. With them. The them who are where I was, and could go where I have been. I pray the Lord will sink it into their hearts and minds to seek Him now, trust Him now, follow Him now and know the peace that comes with knowing that God has a plan for your life, worth waiting for, trusting in and following.

That peace doesn't sort all of life’s details out though. It is a weird feeling to know I’m where I’m supposed to be, but still not be able to see clearly (code for “know the future”). I guess this is a confession that I must have thought that as I align my life and surrender my will that things would maybe start to make a little sense (code for “finally have everything figured out”). Nope. I didn't really realize I thought that, but the feelings of surprise when things go in directions I didn't anticipate, (and all the way back again), would lead me to believe I am still trying to figure things out on my own. To know in advance. To get my bearings so I can somehow feel sufficient in my own strength and abilities, and know where the royal “we” are headed. Old habits die hard friends. I would be so much more comfortable if I could see the ending. So much more free to trust, if I only knew for certain where I was going and that it is good…which, PS, is the opposite of faith. Faith = the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen. I still know (can see) so very little. But, I believe, because I can see backwards. I will keep stepping out, while my stomach leaps to my throat trying to look ahead, because I can see where He brought me from. And every difficult step has been worth it beyond words able to speak.  Sometimes where we think we are going, is not where we are going at all. Sometimes we fall in love a little bit, and instead of settling in we have to climb back out. Sometimes we pray for security and immediately we are called to step out on the water. Sometimes only then do we realize we were secure all along.  In the things unseen.  The things that neither moth nor rust can destroy.  Our security has nothing to do with where we are or what we have. It has everything to do with the One in whom we find our security.

It’s been a very surprising year. The plans the Lord has made clear, the steps He reveals, continue to be such a mystery. It’s funny to me that He would have me travel the world. Some people He could send He maybe wouldn't have to hold their hand the entire time. Tightly. I’m so thankful my earthly father modeled that holding your Father’s hand is trustworthy and safe. It’s that experience that helps me go so far away. I constantly have opportunity to fall back on what I know for certain: God is good. Whatever He’s doing is good. Whatever He wants me to do, is for good. Sometimes it hurts because I only know what I know; I can’t see the big picture. But, I trust. Even when my flesh is whispering that I should take back control and do something that has some sort of resemblance to normal; that trusting is dumb. Or, when I think others may see me and think I’m a fool. I know you can read my weaknesses in that, I knew it as I typed it. I choose to believe. No matter who, what, when, where or how. We will not be put to shame when our hope is in Him. When I’m stepping onto the waves, He is there, and he has my hand and He says I’m worth it to Him to not let go. And He tells me “this is the way…walk in it.” So I do. Blind and weak; bold and certain. I will keep stepping out on faith, hope and love. Faith is what makes my step on the waves solid, Hope is what lifted me to the side of the boat, and Love is why I got in the boat in the first place.

Below are the lyrics and then a link to a song 2 girls sang last night at the event. I've heard it before, but last night these words were mine. I’m grateful for every opportunity that makes me have to believe this 

The girls stayed at the church for an all night camp out in the wilderness where there were cute teepees. 

Oceans - Hillsong United

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep, my faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed, and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours, and You are mine”

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