I am thankful for my struggle because without it, I would not have stumbled across my strength. – Alex Elle
For the first time in several years, I woke up lacking the desire to face the workday that was before me. I prayed for the strength to do it, dragged myself out of bed, and headed into the office. My entire drive in, I questioned His melodious subtle voice that kept saying, “Do this for Me.” As I entered the lobby area of my building, I noticed a colleague walking towards me. She had a look on her face that seemed devoid of hope. I mustered up a smile, called her by name, and opened my arms wide. She looked up, walked towards me, buried her head in my chest as I hugged her, and began to cry. We embraced for a moment as she regained her composure. She said, “Oh my God! Thank you. I needed that hug more than I realize. It has been a hard day already. I have been through so much lately. Thank you!” She wiped her eyes, kissed my cheek and went on her way.
As I continued through the lobby, He said, “I urged you to get out of bed for the very moment you just experienced. I sent you to show Me to her. She was at the end of her rope and needed to see a ray of hope so she could regain the strength required to do her part in My kingdom. She has a special role in my vineyard but has been feeling too discouraged lately. That hug answered her prayer asking Me to show her that I care by making her feel better. Your obedience illuminated My face to one of my children. Never underestimate how I may use you and the impact that your faithfulness can have. I have used the two sibling traits, stability and a smile, to accomplish many things throughout time.” I was reminded of Psalms 90:2,4 (ERV) – 2 You were God before the mountains were born, before the earth and the world were made. You have always been and will always be God! 4To you, a thousand years is like yesterday, like a few hours in the night.
As I continued through my day dealing with budget issues, briefings, meetings, personnel matters, and the like, God’s whispered words stuck with me. The song that came to my mind over and over throughout the day was Mark Shultz’ I Am. I am the maker of the heavens. I am the bright and morning star. I am the breath of all Creation who always was and is to come. I am the One who walked on water. I am the One who calmed the seas. I am the miracles and wonders. So come and see and follow me. You will know I am the spirit deep inside you. I am the word upon your heart. I am the One who even knew you before your birth; before you were.
The struggles continued to build throughout the week to a crescendo as each day presented greater challenges than the one before. Each sunrise was his wake up call to put my feet on the floor to go about doing His business. Every morning, I praised His name for the chance to serve Him again yet simultaneously asked Him what these challenges were all about. With each question, I felt the warmth of His smile and gentle purr as He nudged me through the uncertain moments. Alas, the week’s end of zenith power and intensity transitioned to an auditory petal-breathe space, like delicate fingers tickling ivory keys, whispering “Affettuoso. Ssshhhhh!” Romans 8:27-30 tells us, “27 Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God? 28 We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. 29-30 From the distant past, His eternal love reached into the future. You see, He knew those who would be His one day, and He chose them beforehand to be conformed to the image of His Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of a new family of believers, all brothers and sisters. As for those He chose beforehand, He called them to a different destiny so that they would experience what it means to be made right with God and share in His glory. (The VOICE)
The week ended with an unobtrusive evening with an old friend who reached out with an eager petition to connect. Over dinner, we talked about our journeys since our last heart to heart. We laughed about the silliness that life brings, mused about our dreams for the future, and smiled about the good favor God has extended our way. Although my original preference was to just go home, spending time with another one of His children enriched my life. Her parting words were, “Thanks, I really needed that. Let’s connect more often.” Our souls are fed and our minds are guided in community with one another to take care of each other’s needs. Acts 2:42
On my slow ride home on a cool drizzly night after an excruciatingly long week, the Lord began to softly speak to me again. He said, “Yes, I know it was a long week. Testing the limits of your spirit of courage grows and humbles you. I am not a sadist. I am your loving father who encourages you towards your purpose. You have told me you want to follow my son. Doing so is not a sprint. Taking up your cross daily is a marathon. Likewise, at certain points along the way you will get very tired or hit a wall and want to quit. My desire was for you to never give up. You play like you practice. I want you to train hard so you finish strong. I am always with you and will never forsake you or tempt you beyond what you can bear. Hang in there. I love you! Oh, and thanks for listening to my voice when I called you to hug your colleague and break bread with your old friend. These are the things that let you see My purpose for you.”
Before the Earth (I am); the universe (I am); in every heart (I am); oh, where you are (I am); the Lord of love (I am); the King of Kings (I am); the Holy lamb (I am); above all things…Yes, I am almighty God your father; the risen son of man; the healer of the broken and when you cry, I am your savior and redeemer who bore the sins of man; the author and perfecter; beginning and the end, I am. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Be the love! He is in you.