The Game God Won’t Play
One of my favorite questions to ask someone is ‘what is God teaching you these days?’ My other is ‘what was the best part of your day?’ For me….the answer is actually the same! The best part of my day yesterday is what God is teaching me. It should be that way every day but hey..I’m human. I get distracted as well.
So as you saw in my last post there are JUST a few things going on in my life..weighing me down….absorbing any spare ounce of mental and emotional energy. And sadly…spiritual. BUT GOD…as usual….has been working – not behind the scenes because it was right in front of me. But He was working. And last night I saw it come to fruition in a VERY sweet spiritual experience.
Over the last few weeks I have had similar themed messages come my way from various sources. “God loves me.” “I came to set you free.” “God is working it all for good – even when I don’t like the ingredients in the mix.” But what’s crazy….what’s sad….is in my humanness I ‘knew’ but didn’t KNOW. I ‘knew’ in my head but didn’t KNOW in my heart. Or didn’t want to know….because to KNOW meant being open to the changes He is bringing. And while I give a lot of lip service to being flexible and a chameleon, truth be told….I don’t like change any more than the next person. Especially when it involves a long standing friendship….one that has had immeasurable influence on my life.
But last night that entire situation changed. I had the night off so I went to my friend’s church for their Saturday evening service. Indescribable. Beyond words. I knew I needed time away to clear my head. I was tired of living in the fog of the last couple weeks since I got the news she was moving. All day long as I contemplated what I wanted to do I just came feeling drawn toward her church. It was attractive….felt very calm…safe…comfortable….and away from my norm…which is just what I needed.
Now remember….one of the verses that God had brought to my life just 24 hours before was Romans 8:28. So when I saw the text for the teaching was Romans 8:26-28, and I saw which pastor was doing the teaching, my heart started pounding. I KNEW God was going to make sure I heard Him. He WANTED me to listen. And I quickly found myself praying ‘God let them open the altars for prayer….because I’m going forward.” I’ve only been to this church one other time so I have no idea how they do things. But God…
The worship music was great and I just let myself get lost in it. As it concluded I looked over my shoulder and saw my friend waving at me from the next section over. Cool. Good to see her and her family. As the teaching started….and progressed….I found myself getting drawn in….leaning forward….soaking in every word. Or as I said at retreat, wanting to catch every morsel that fell from the table. And as the teaching hit closer and closer to my heart I found myself shaking. I KNEW God was up to something. It was time to quit fighting. To still myself. To listen. To let go. To surrender. To trust.
It seemed every point of the teaching hit home. As if he knew my story and was telling it for me without telling it, if that makes sense. Telling the themes without the details. But the cool part came at the end. He offered hope! HOPE! Hope means a heartbeat. Hope means a 2nd chance…and 3rd…and 4th. Hope means life! So when he said he was going to pray and open the altars I was poised and in position…..just waiting for the human cue…I already had the spiritual cue. And then I remembered he figures if God is moving there’s no need to wait, so he started to pray and that was the cue to move. And move I did. Me..a 2nd time visitor….a virtual stranger to most….was the first one to hit my knees at the altar. And pray. And cry. And sob. And just pour it out. Let it out. To just let go.
I felt a hand on my shoulder and wasn’t sure if it was my friend or not. I didn’t care who it was. I was there doing business with God. It didn’t matter who it was. She prayed a little and then introduced herself, asked how she could pray more specifically, and I shared. And she prayed some more….all the while my head was buried and the tears were a gushing waterfall..as if the dam had finally broken. I sobbed. Hard. I just let go. And then I felt another hand on shoulder from the other side. No idea who it was. I was still crying. And praying. And doing the only thing I know to do when life is throwing me a curve ball and I feel like I’m going off the cliff. I just clung to Him. Cried out. Cried it out. And just held on. For dear life.
And as I settled I lifted my tear stained swollen eyes and just felt such love and support….my friend had come from her seat to be with me. The other woman left so we could just talk. We chatted a bit and then the pastor came over and said “What’s God doing here ladies?” And my friend summed it up best: “that was written just for her.” The three of us chatted and it was just such a tender spiritually bonding time….to acknowledge and share the hurt and sadness of my friend leaving…and ask God to direct the uncertainty that comes on the heels of it. It was a tender moment and one I will not forget. It was an Ebenezer moment….just like retreat.
And today I was on the worship team at my church and it was just too sweet for words. The tears like a waterfall continued to flow. And I did not care. Tears of His goodness. Tears of thankfulness. Tears of surrender. And trust. Tears of peace.
There is no other way to describe it but that: surrender and peace. The situation hasn’t changed at all. The same uncertainty that was there Saturday at 5p is there Sunday at 5p. But what has changed is my heart. I KNOW that God has a plan…and He is working it all for good. Because I know that I know that I know that He loves me.
Before the service at my friend’s church I had a little time to write and pray and journal and my mind turned to Jeremiah 29:11-13. Look it up. I’ll wait.
Did you catch it? Did you catch the cool sense of humor God has? Did you see the childhood game God will NOT play?! I did. And I told my friend last night at the altar that I had not been praying about certain aspects of the situation because I didn’t want to face them. “You will find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you declares the Lord.” GOD WILL NOT PLAY HIDE AND SEEK. We are to seek…with ALL our heart. NO holding back. NO keeping a reserve. NO half job. When we let go, He will be found, because what’s blocking our path to Him is quite frankly…ourselves. So when we surrender….when we let go….when we come to the end of us…we find Him. And He WANTS to be found!
So last night I let go and I found God. I still don’t know what the plan is. I don’t have any more answers today than I had yesterday. But I do KNOW this….He DOES have a plan. And that plan is for good and not to harm me….to give me a future and a hope. And I KNOW He wants me to find Him. He WANTS me to seek Him. And today I am just crawled up in His lap letting Him hold me, having let go of the emotions and fears and everything else. And I’m just saying ‘”I trust You.”
What about you? What do YOU need to let go of? What are YOU holding onto that keeps you from finding God in the midst of it all? Fear? Tears? Anger? Uncertainty? Whatever it is….let go. I let go for the first time at the retreat last October. I let go for the 2nd time last night. Hopefully I’ll start figuring this out a little better and become quick to let go and slow to hold on. Because God doesn’t want to play hide and seek. He wants to say “Olly Olly in’s free!”He’s already saying that. Will you listen?