Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Kicking it up a little

"Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we're in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing—you're at least decent to your own children. And don't you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?"  
(Luke 11:10-13 MSG)

Storms in life are tests that prepare us for what comes behind them - sometimes the storms get pretty scary even when we know there is about to come a clearing that will bring us some relief.  Without the storm, we'd never be prepared for the growth that comes as a result of the storm.  It may seem like we have been in the storm a while - what we need is for God to intervene and get us to the end of our storm a little quicker - right?  Luke tells us that we are not to bargain with God - he doesn't need our negotiations - he needs our obedience.  The delay in the ending of the storm may be the direct result of God needing our obedience in an area of our life - an area in which we still haven't bent our knee.  In the storm, God expects that we will "be direct and ask for what we need" - God already knows our needs, but in expressing them to God, our faith grows and our will is exposed. It is the will that we often struggle with the most - needing the greatest exposure of all!

The storm (or test) in our lives demonstrates the reality of who he is and what he is working to bring forth from our lives.  In this same chapter of Luke, a man that had been mute for many years is totally healed.  It says of him that he started talking up a blue streak, taking the crowd by complete surprise.  That is how it is God when God intervenes in the storm of our lives - he takes us (and those that are looking on) by complete surprise sometimes.  God moves in ways that get the attention of those who need most to see and experience the evidence of his grace. We often don't fully understand the storm until God reveals the end of that storm.

The storm is a time of intensity in our lives - hopefully moving us out of areas of only so-so commitment and drive into places where we are challenged and focused intently on his purposes.  The storm stirs, the Spirit speaks, the believer is made strong - it is his method or mode of helping us to grow.  We experience monsoon type storms in the Arizona desert each summer season with a  tremendous build up of wind, thunder, lightening, and if we are very, very lucky, a downpour of rain that drops huge amounts of water in a short period of time.  Those strong winds kick up quite a bit of dust - sometimes manifest in rolling dust storms that seem to just come at you across the desert in slow motion. The sky becomes red with dust and the hue cast gives the scenery an odd yellow orange appearance. What is 'kicked up' in the storm can be very evident, but there are times when the winds will blow and you just don't see what is getting 'kicked up' in your life.

The purpose of the wind is to expose and spread the seeds.  The springtime produced quick growth in the desert that has gone to seed in the hot summer sun.  Those seeds lay covered by layers of shed leaves, dropped petals, and shifting dirt.  The winds of the monsoon sweep across the desert, exposing what lays just hidden beneath the surface - things previously unseen get 'kicked up'.  In turn, the winds pick up what has been exposed and scatter those seeds into parts of the earth where growth may occur when the conditions are right.  Nothing may happen to that seed for quite sometime, but when the rains finally come, the seed is given that which it needs to begin the germination process - water.  As the rains move on and the hot Arizona sun comes out again, the seed is now free to take root, send up its growth and reveal evidence of its true character - even that which is concealed in the seed is now exposed.

That is how it is with us in the midst of life's storms - we have the character of Christ within us in seed-form, just waiting to take root in areas of barrenness in our lives.  The storms expose the seed, carrying it into those areas where we need to experience the growth of God's grace, and then provide for that seed to take root and grow.  Next time you are in a storm, ask God what seed he is trying to plant in an area of barrenness in your life.  Ask him what "soil" of your heart he is trying to expose so it can be yielded to his touch.  Let God kick things up a little in order bring the germination of his new life within that area. Just sayin!

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