I attended the Going Beyond event in Lynchburg, Virginia this past weekend. This was my first time hearing Priscilla Shirer teach and I was excited about what word God may have for me.
I walked into Thomas Road Baptist Church on Friday night feeling energized. I just knew that God had something He wanted me to hear and I was on pins and needles to hear from him in that place.
We had a special time of worshipping God unrestrained. Then Priscilla led us into a time of prayer, encouraging us to pray specifically for our reason for being there and anything else the Holy Spirit may reveal to us that we needed to talk to God about. We were given some really great booklets with areas for notes and some devotions written by Priscilla. I found the page titled “Prayer Experience” and began to write out what I needed to talk to God about that evening. I prayed for a release from a stronghold of fear, for God’s continued provision as I am in seminary, and for God’s specific leading – where he wants me and what he wants me to do. I know he has called me to ministry, but my impatient side has struggled with not seeing a clear path yet. We prayed, the Spirit fell, and Priscilla began.
She guided us to Judges 6:1-14 and talked about Gideon.
(I need to interject here that I am in the midst of a Biblical Models of Leadership course. Several weeks ago we were asked to talk about which Biblical leader we identified with most and why. I chose Gideon. Isn’t God amazing? I love how he weaves things together in our lives!)
Before I knew it I had taken three pages of notes in my journal. I cannot remember the last time I soaked up a message like a sponge as I did that Friday night. It’s like God was saying, “I hear and I’m here. This is what you need to know.”
Every time the Israelites would get on their feet again the Midianites would show up and oppress them. (Do you ever feel like things are finally starting to look up when suddenly the enemy knocks your legs out from under you?)
But Priscilla emphasized that although God does not cause all things to happen in our lives that everything must filter through his hands before it gets to us. We must trust that he sees the big picture as well as us. And know that despite our circumstances God can work a miracle within us. We may be waiting to see the miracle occur in our circumstances when the miracle God wants to do is in our hearts and minds. Priscilla continued by talking about Gideon’s insecurity and fear – but that God found him there…God went looking for Gideon in the midst of his circumstances. (Isn’t it a good and encouraging word to know that God knows what we’re going through and that he comes to us and is with us in the midst of those times?!)
The part of Priscilla’s message that seemed to be just for me was when she began to talk about being faithful during a difficult season. Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress – not the way wheat should be threshed! The Israelites were so fearful that the Midianites would come and take or destroy their harvest that they had begun to thresh their wheat in a hidden place – in winepresses – instead of in the open air as was the proper way. Yet Gideon was continuing to gather the harvest even in the midst of impending oppression. He was faithful to what needed to be done. Priscilla gave a great description by using the movie “The Karate Kid”. Daniel went to Mr. Miyagi to learn karate so that he could defend himself. He would visit Mr. Miyagi expecting a karate lesson and Mr. Miyagi would have Daniel sand the floor or paint the fence. And when Daniel would get sloppy with his work Mr. Miyagi would should him how to do it properly. Finally, Daniel gets fed up with doing Mr. Miyagi’s housework. It is then that Mr. Miyagi begins to throw some moves Daniel’s way and Daniel has to defend himself against the blows. Mr. Miyagi shouts out “sand the floor” and Daniel uses those same moves to block blows from Mr. Miyagi. This lesson continues with Mr. Miyagi going through all of the different chores Daniel had been doing around Mr. Miyagi’s house and yard. It is then that Daniel realizes that Mr. Miyagi was teaching him all along – by Daniel being faithful in the seemingly small, unimportant details. This drove right to my heart because I get frustrated in the little because I desire to do so much. Yet I fail to see how God uses the little, the faithfulness in the little, to work in my life and the lives of those around me. Oh that I will be faithful to continue to “sand the floor” and “paint the fence” – embracing what God has for my life now.
Priscilla also emphasized verse 12 of Joshua 6. God called Gideon “mighty warrior”. At the moment he was far from it. Yet God saw in Gideon what he could be, what Gideon could not even see within himself, his potential. Sometimes we feel like we are doing nothing productive for the kingdom and for ministry. We cannot begin to see the potential within ourselves. But God sees and knows. As Priscilla said, “If your feelings don’t line up with God’s word you have to let go of your feelings and trust God”.
I would be starting a book if I told you how many ways God spoke to me on Friday night and how I left so still and full of God’s peace. I am so ready to be faithful to the tasks he has set before now and trust his call on my life.