I have shared on here my latest journey of discovery with God. My last blog recaps the steps in this journey thus far so I will not repeat them here. I also shared that I am studying a published Bible study, “Faithful, Abundant, True”. The authors are Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer, and Beth Moore. God has used this text, as He so uses so many things, to speak to me, to stir my spirit, to urge me into listening to what is going on within myself, and to let Him minister there. It was a day’s study by Priscilla Shirer that He initially used to reveal to me this source of tension within myself, this fear, and to expose it for what it does to me.
He has continued to use that study, as recounted in the last blog, but this unit’s author is Beth Moore, and she is primarily addressing spiritual discernment. I shared how God powerfully spoke to me, using passages in Ezekiel and in I Kings, to allow me to see how He has been guarding my mind and heart since I was a very young girl. He stirred my heart all those years ago and impressed upon me a need to pray two specific ways: keep my heart tender and give me wisdom. A tender heart is the preventative for a calloused heart (Mark 4 – those who cannot hear) and wisdom enables us to discern right from wrong, good from evil. To navigate the dangerous currents of life, we must have an ever-deepening sense of these, for evil is often subtle and even disguised. It was as if God pulled back the curtain of time and showed me, from His perspective, how He had been preparing me and preserving me from this thing that I fear most: being unable to see Him, hear Him and respond to Him. I have loved Him since I was four, believed in Him since I was four, and offered Him myself over and over since I was four. More than anything, I have always wanted to be His.
In the next day’s study, the day after He revealed to me how He had taught me what to pray as a little girl, Beth had us turn to Psalm 71. The lesson had been on times we have been deceived by people around us, and how to respond to the deceptive people around us. So far, it had seemed completely separate from everything else God was doing within me. Until I came to the very last assignment: Psalm 71. Let me show it to you:
“O Lord, You alone are my hope. I’ve trusted You since childhood. Yes, You have been with me from birth, from my mother’s womb You have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising You. My life is an example to many, because You have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising You, I declare Your glory all day long.
O God, You have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the things you do. Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim Your power to the next generation, Your mighty miracles to all who come after me.” (Psalm 71: 5-8, 17-18 NLT)
It took my breath away. I felt Him confirming, as directly and specifically as He could, that yes, I was hearing Him correctly. Yes, I was understanding His message to me. And because He knows how uncertain I am until He confirms it a number of ways, ways which I cannot manipulate, He made sure I saw it clearly. Plainly. Specifically. Two things I take away from this, and it has now been over a week since He gave me this Scriptures so I have had time to continue to confirm this with Him. First, He asked me to open up my very private walk with Him, to stand before an audience of sorts in this blogging world, and let others watch as He works within me. I have been afraid, mostly of somehow failing to express it in a way that allows others to see Him clearly, and afraid of being misunderstood. It’s a bit like having a physical with all your friends and family in an observation bay above you. God works in deep places within me. It is soul surgery that He performs on me, and I am the better for it. I trust Him in this process and follow Him into all the scary places within me that He knows, but I do not yet know. But taking you there, while they are raw and vulnerable, perhaps still diseased and not yet healed, well, that’s a different thing. Yet, He has so faithfully confirmed this is exactly the purpose of this blog: to let the readers see how He works intimately, deeply and powerfully within my life, so that they may better recognize how He is working in their own. This Psalm is just another way He powerfully shows up to put His signature on the assignments He gives me. No matter how I fail Him, He never fails me. If I obey, if I will follow in those hard places, He will NEVER fail to increase my life in Him.
Secondly, and most importantly in my own present journey, He really has been teaching me since my earliest childhood. I’ve heard Him correctly. He has loved me since before I took my first breath. Every day of my life was written in His book before one day came to be (Psalm 139:16). He charts the path before me and tells me where to stop and rest and He goes before and behind me (Psalm 139:1-6). My God is with me. He loves me. He has been with me through every moment of every heartache and every moment of every joy. Nothing comes to me that has not first come through Him. He has been calling to me, leading me, teaching me and speaking to me in ways that my heart could understand decades before I knew it was Him speaking. He faithfully guarded my heart while I was a tiny girl and He never left me as I have walked through the valleys of torment. My God has asked of me tremendous things, unspeakable sacrifices. Yet what have I to give but that which He gave to me? The life I now live was His design, His resource, His empowerment. How could I not love and trust a God who has been so powerfully loving me since before I could offer Him anything? What more do I need? He loves me. He loves me. He loves me. I can trust Him.