Every day we see new evidence that people are praying for us!
If you know me, you know that I’m very confident but my confidence borders on pride and arrogance many times. In the early morning of April 8th, I went into my home office to spent some time connecting with Jesus. I just got back from a church planter’s assessment and was tired. The tasks ahead seem daunting. Between pastoring the current church, planning for the new church, going to trainings, reading, being concerned about Chrysty’s health (MS) and how stress affects it… The “to do” list piled high.
That morning I got a very clear idea that I needed to just “pursue God”. This internal whisper couldn’t be set aside, it was very clear that God wants me to pursue him with everything I am and then He’ll take care of the rest. (Matt 6:33) So my Bible reading for that morning was Psalm 34:1-3. Those verses underscored the “pursuing God” concept as I meditated on them off and on that Friday.
I don’t always do this but that night I spent some additional time in prayer and reflection on the week and the future. While doing this, I got an overwhelming impression. Now, just to be clear, I’m certainly not the type that hears audible voices and plain outward expressions from God on a regular basis. I don’t even look for them on a regular basis.
It’s hard for me to explain this unless you’ve been practicing being in the presence of the Lord and hearing his voice but as I was praying and reflecting, in my spirit I distinctly heard the Lord say, “You’re afraid.”
I was slightly offended…and surprised. It seems to me that most people either struggle with anger or fear. I struggle with anger…but never fear. So I said out loud, “No way, I’m not afraid of anything.” (Yes really!) The impression of my being afraid was pressed again.
So, I asked the question… what then, am I afraid of?
With journal in hand I wrote the thoughts that came to mind. “You’re afraid of success. You’re afraid that if this church really takes off you’ll have to hand it over to someone else to take to the next level. You’re afraid you’ll have too many people in the beginning and your lack of administrative skills will cause it to crash. You’re afraid that you’ll reach hundreds but then bring it back down to the 150 people that you’ve been comfortable leading in the past.”
I was crushed…devastated. I wept. The truth of these words cut to my very heart and soul. In that moment, I wanted to walk away. How can I cast vision for something that I’m afraid of?
As I cried out to the Lord, I said… “Lord, I don’t know what the answer is to this, but you know all things. I can only take this new found fear and give it to you.” I just went to bed after that, broken and wondering what my next step was.
In the morning, when I got up and went to my office. I saw my journal notes from the night before. The idea of my fears was all I could think about. I said a quick prayer asking the Lord to give me something I needed for the day. I asked, what should I do about this new “fear” problem?
I opened my Bible to the same place where I ended the day before. I read the next verse: Psalm 34:4
Ps 34:4 “I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.”