Tonight, during worship, I just couldn't help but keep thinking how I have truly been 'faking it 'till I make it'. Pressing on, singing the songs, praying the words and yet not feeling it in the least (I'm sorry to say).
So, tonight, as I continued on through my stacks of books... I was drawn to what Beth Moore has to say in "Believing God" , as I am beginning to realize just how poorly I actually am right now.
And yet, as those words of unbelief came out of my mouth tonight, in confessing to my dear friend at work... a sense of relief almost over-rode my feeling of shame. Like God saying to me "Well, it's about time! Now we're getting somewhere! Tell me how you really feel! ...You feel like I've left you? I can take it. ...You feel like giving up the fight? I already know that. ...You feel like hope has actually become more of a burden than a blessing? I understand. But, you've got to admit all that to Me - as well as yourself - if you intend to move on out of this wilderness."
So, in the spirit of doing just that and trying to find that sense of belief once again, here's what sweet Beth has to share in her study "Believing God".
(pg. 2) "...some of us are working pretty hard at something that is hardly working."
(pg 3) "We want to be the best of what we see, but frankly what we see is far removed from God's best."
(pg 9) "Our callings remain a hope until we allow the eyes of our hearts to be enlightened and choose to accept them."
"Our Promised Lands are characterized by the presence of victory, not the absence of opposition."
(pg 15) "All that will matter about our earthly lives ... is whether we fulfilled our callings and allowed God to fulfill His promises. ... I want to finish my race in the Promised Land, not in the wilderness. You too? Then we have to cash in our fear and complacency and spend all we have on the only ticket out: BELIEF."
(pg 16) "Both God and the devil are targeting our faith because the stakes are so high."
(pg 19) "...faith is not just something you have. It's something you do."
(pg 22) "Nothing on earth compares to the strength God is willing to interject into lives caught in the act of believing."
(pg 23) "You don't have the need that exceeds His power. Faith is God's favorite invitation to RSVP with proof."
(pg 41) "If God said it, I want to believe it. If God gives it, I want to receive it. If God shows it, I want to perceive it. If satan stole it, I want to retrieve it."
Now, it seems that tonight, I was also reminded of an image Beth spoke of several weeks ago in our "Stepping Up" study. That of the spreading of seeds. Tonight, we were presented with the image of casting good seeds over a hardened ground as compared to spreading the good seeds over ground that's been 'worked over', if you will. Of course, the seeds will produce a much greater harvest in the second environment... where the ground has been tended and prepared first.
BUT~ the image from "Stepping Up" is such a great addition to this image.
Continuing on with the theme of a seed, Beth speaks of a trip "to war-torn Angola to do relief work and draw attention to tens of thousands of malnourished and famished people." She goes on to say that amidst all "the sights and smells of living death, (their) new friend Isak Pretorius said 'One of the most frustrating things is that in villages where they receive seed, they often eat the seed rather than planting it and bringing forth the harvest.' And she kept wondering 'God: why do some people see the results of the Word and others don't? Why do some study the Word of God yet remain in their captivity?' ...Some just eat the seed and never sow it for a harvest. ...Sometimes, we don't even realize the difference. We'll think we accepted the teaching because we were so moved by it. But, you see, the seed of God's Word can fill our stomachs and give us immediate satisfaction and still not produce a harvest - that's when we eat it but don't sow it. ...God's Word is meant to be applied to our reality. We can 'Amen!' the pastor as he preaches sacrificial love. We can walk to the car and comment on the great sermon he gave, drive home, and march in as mean and cold as the person who pulled out of the driveway. We decide surely God did not mean us to apply His truth to our reality because He knows how difficult this or that person is to love. What just happened? We ate the seed instead of sowing it."
Father, please continue to prepare my 'ground'. As hard as it may be, I know that it serves a greater purpose if I would only allow you to tend to me. I don't want to be satisfied with just the seeds, but would so much rather see the fruits of harvest. So, I come to You now... hungry for Your seed and broken ...ready for that seed to be planted deep inside of me. Ready for Your light to nourish and Your living water to sustain. ... Please, 'help me with my unbelief'. Amen.