Strength For Today

A journey of keeping my heart, mind, and body in TODAY

God’s Faithfulness

on April 1, 2014

Matthew 13 (NIV)

The Parable of the Sower

13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

I can still remember the first time I read these words and actually understood what Jesus was saying in this parable!  I recall feeling so elated that day, because I just KNEW that I was the GOOD SOIL!  The seeds of the message of God’s glorious Truth had fallen on my heart and I was prepared to receive it!  I remember how this very message was such an inspiration to my walk. How it made me feel so good to know that my heart was no longer ‘rocky’ soil, or without ‘roots’, or choked by the ‘thorns’ of my past.  I was FREE!  I was READY!  My heart had been turned to flesh, and the words of Christ fell on beautiful, well-tilled, nutrient-rich, GOOD SOIL.  I was never going back to the way I used to be.  Or so I thought.

Those days were the most smooth-sailing days I have ever known.  It was like God literally picked me up, set me on His path, and took my hand to guide me.  It was as though no circumstance was too hard, no mountain too tall, no river too wide, no valley to low!  Absolutely nothing could separate me from the love of Christ – and I felt it.  To the core of my soul, I could feel God moving.  He was so real, so alive, so tangible.  The peace….oh, the peace that surrounded me was like a calm river, gently gliding me along – weightless, without worry, totally in the hands of my Creator!  Yes, those were beautiful, smooth-sailing days.  They were also the infancy stage of my Faith Journey.

People kept telling me the waters would soon get choppy.  They kept telling me that following Christ was difficult.  They kept telling me that I needed to dig deeply into my Faith and be prepared for the storms that lie ahead.  They kept saying that it was hard.  They did.  I just didn’t listen.  I didn’t really believe them.  I guess (and I hate to admit this, but I must be honest) I thought that their Faith was weaker than mine.  I thought that nothing would ever take away the persistent joy that permeated my heart each day when I woke.

Those were the days when getting up at 5AM to have coffee and quiet time with God was easy.  Those were the days when I could raise my hands in worship and feel the instant tingle of the Holy Spirit inside me well up and overwhelm me with peace. Those were the days when I couldn’t wait to sit for HOURS (literally) in quiet solitude with God, just waiting to hear from Him. I couldn’t wait to meet with my Lord each day.  I could pray for hours.  I journaled every single day, I craved my divine appointments more than any other thing in my LIFE. It seemed, during that season of my Faith, that everywhere I looked, I saw clearly.  I saw God’s face in everything.  His handprints were all over the place!  He was constantly connecting the dots for me, placing new people in my path constantly, speaking directly to me through a variety of sources!  We were in sync – and I thought it would forever FEEL that way!

I thought wrong.  Now, before you go and call me a “fair-weather fan” or a “bandwagon Jesus follower”, hear me out.  Yes, those days are no longer as they were before.  My Faith walk has changed dynamically.  And just in case you might think that I am complaining….maybe that I am whining about God not being who I thought He was, please don’t give up on me yet.  I am not complaining.  At least not today.  A couple of days ago?  You bet I was whining!  I was like a 2-year old throwing a fit (yes, again) asking God why He wasn’t listening to me.  Demanding that He speak to me.  Terrified that I was losing my Faith.  Why?  Because I haven’t been feeling it.

God hasn’t been a tangible experience for me lately.   I’m not sailing through my circumstances on the wings of an eagle.  He’s not constantly reassuring me of His presence.  The mountains feel big.  The rivers seem impassable.  The valleys appear impossible to escape.  My circumstances have felt downright overwhelming lately.  And temptation has been running rampant in my daily living.  Temptation to walk apart from God.  Temptation to turn my back to what I know He has called me to do.  Temptation to live Dawn’s way again instead of God’s way.

What is happening?  That, and many other questions have been haunting me recently.  What is happening?  Why am I not feeling God like I used to?  Where is the disconnect?  Why has He turned His face away from me?  Why won’t He deliver me from this darkness?  Yep.  I’ve been whining alright.

Thursday, God put an image of a “mighty oak” in my heart and then brought me to a ranch where I stood face to face with about 20-30 of them.  He had me thinking about strong “roots” and a “sturdy base”.  He revealed that even a “mighty oak” can lose branches from time to time.  It was still a “mighty oak”.  Then, on Saturday morning, God revealed something else to me.  He brought me to Matthew 13 and the parable of the sower.  He showed me that my heart has started to become tangled by thorns of selfish living.  He caused me to consider the sins in my life that I haven’t even been thinking about, and then He led me tonight to Hebrews 12, where He gently reminded me that I am to keep my focus on Christ and not get caught in the “sins that so easily entangle”.  He also reminded me of Romans 8:35-39, where He promises that nothing can or will separate me from the Love of Christ.  As I was writing this blog tonight, He reminded me of a set of verses in Hebrews 5 & 6 which remind me that I could not live on milk as an infant in my Faith forever.  I am called to leave the elementary behind and go on to maturity. I am also reminded that I am not to throw away my confidence, because my perseverance will be richly rewarded on the day that Christ comes again.

Yep, all of this – God did – right smack dab in the middle of a time when I thought He wasn’t moving, just because I couldn’t feel Him.  So, today, I do not complain at the dynamic change in my Faith walk.  I don’t complain because I realize that God is doing a great work inside my heart.  He is maturing me.  He is growing me.  He is stretching me.  He is allowing me to experience a little “separation anxiety” so that I have to dig deeper into my foundation in order to see His face.  He is acting like any good parent; allowing me to stumble along, even fall once in a while, experiencing the journey and learning the ropes along the way.  He is allowing me to discover what works and what doesn’t.  He is allowing me space to choose to walk the path even when I am not feeling it.  He is allowing me the room to struggle, even to fail….so that I learn that I can always count on Him.  Every time I reach out, He is there.  For He is 100% faithful.  It doesn’t matter if I feel it or not.

 

 

 

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2 responses to “God’s Faithfulness

  1. Tracy Stella says:

    What a great piece, Dawn! Your transparency is beautiful.

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