Becoming Beacons

Often, I find myself craving the days when all the Christians around us knew their faith could cost their life. Many were already forced out of their homes into shacks along the feces-filled grey-watered Ganges river, forced into the lowest rungs of society and unable to move up because their beliefs were discovered by their neighbors. They had a fire to them, they were willing to do anything for Christ. Cross the Pacific, and here we are debating whether Sunday morning worship is worth trading the extra hours of slumber and pancakes for, as we pour over Instagram stories, strive after appearances, aesthetics, and vibes. As if any of it mattered… Yet I’m one of them. We idolize this life more than we realize in the West.

Meanwhile, wisdom cries out in the streets…

“Wisdom calls out in the street; she raises her voice in the public squares. She cries out above the commotion; she speaks at the entrance of the city gates.”
– Proverbs 1:20-21 –

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
– Proverbs 9:10 –

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As a generation, we millennials speak as though we want wisdom, yet as a church, we fail to do those things which she calls for. We choose bagels in the cafe over sitting in service, or to watch service from the comfort of our cozy couches, coffee in hand and fuzzy socks on, over truly attending and fellowshipping. With that, we think we’re good.

“So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall.”
– 1 Corinthians 10:12 –

Please hear, I am one of them. Without fail, each Sunday morning as my husband gets ready for church, I have an extended debate with myself regarding if I want to go or stay home. “I could take an Uber to the 12:30 service,” I argue, telling myself I don’t really need to be there for the first two; I could do homework instead. Now, for some, this is true. They will actually get homework done, and truly have no reason to be there for the other two services my church offers. For some, this is actually the wiser, more responsible choice. Not for me, though, and I know that. I know that if I stay home, I’ll sleep until it’s time to come in for third, if I even make it for that. Chances are I’ll come in just in time to honor the commitment I’ve made which takes place each week after all the services have ended. So I pull myself out of bed, slap on some makeup and clothes in the dark, and stumble into the passenger seat of my husband’s car counting the minutes until I have a coffee in my hand.

This all has to do with the comfort factor, though. What about the cost? What I witnessed in India was just the upper crust of the surface of what goes on there, much less places like Sudan or Afghanistan. The other day, the Lord slapped me across the face with a truth I had never considered. I was spared so much- this I’ve always known. However, I never considered what it cost Him. Without diminishing the reality of what it was, I don’t only mean the Cross here. I mean the spiritual battles afterward, throughout the past twenty years of my life, and even before. The continual battles, because time is different for Him, even if I can’t fully comprehend how or what that means with my human brain. Flooded into my mind like a waterfall of flames were blood-red images of Him fighting brutally on His white horse, amidst the odious smog of sin and death; fighting Lady Babylon (Revelation 17:3-6) to shield me from her immorality, the destruction she brings, and the end she comes to. I saw the beads of sweat on His forehead, the anger in His eyes.

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If I daily saw the war going on for His church, His bride, how would I fight differently? This isn’t about legalism, this is about engaging fully in the purpose for which we were created. I’m not saying that purpose is sitting in a pew on Sunday morning, either; but rather that the fellowship and strength and respite that offers, that of sitting in community at His feet, is what prepares us for the battle we have been called to.

“Furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
– Proverbs 2:3-6 –

“Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”
– Philippians 3:13-14 –

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It’s not about whether or not we’re in church. It’s not about going through the motions. It’s about how much we’re willing to sacrifice for the call He has placed on our lives. Slowly I’ve been coming to the conclusion that when there’s so little we have to give up in this free country for the title of “Christian,” it’s imperative we then, even if only as an exercise, give up things as love offerings for the sake of honoring Him. Things like Sunday mornings at home to be instead at church, at His feet. Not because He needs it from us, but because we do. In these tiny acts of trading comfort for clout, we allow ourselves to be strengthened by Him into the warrior Bride He has called us to be. We grow into beacons burning bright in this world doomed for darkness.

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Until next time,

XOXO

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We Are the Good-For-Nothings.

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses: ‘Tell the Israelites to turn back and camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you must camp in front of Baal-zephon, facing it by the sea. Pharaoh will say of the Israelites: They are wandering around the land in confusion; the wilderness has boxed them in. I will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he will pursue them. Then I will receive glory by means of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am Yaweh.’ So the Israelites did this.”
– Exodus 14:1-4 – 

We had just all gone out for Starbucks, and I had finally revealed to my friends that there was a boy, and I might be in love with him. As their slightly amused faces gazed back at me, seeing as how I was always the girl who thought every crush was her future husband, I shared with them the Spark-Notes version of our story and that we were currently fasting to see if this was the Lord’s will. After finishing our coffees, we went together to Calvary Plantation for the Wednesday night service, and the study was based around this verse. My stomach so filled my lungs there was no space for oxygen to pass through. First one sister grabbed my arm, then the other. The one thing holding me back from pursuing this guy was YWAM on the horizon. I felt I was caught between the two, between Migdol and the sea. Beads of sweat forming on my forehead, the Lord told me He was going to part the Red Sea, and I was to continue talking to him, and everyone would know it was an act only of Yaweh.

When I came back from YWAM, it was like walking into a desert storm. Everything was changing and had changed in those six months I was away, and because of the effect the illness in India had on my hormones, I felt trapped inside my own body. A voice would be hurling insults at the man I loved, but it didn’t feel like my own. I was just as outraged as he at this voice hurling insults like bullets towards him, but it was coming from my lips and I didn’t know how to stop it. Daily I would return to this verse, begging for the reassurance that He would carry us through to the Promised Land. After seeing a hormone specialist to get my body back to normal and working through the fears hiding behind the outbursts, I began to see the trees in the distance, and know they weren’t the mirage I had so often envisioned.

We’re walking through life in our Promised Land now, and each step is a testimony to God’s grace.

“But Moses said to the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation He will provide for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you must be quiet.'”
– Exodus 14:13-14 –


With all the disapprovals and continual concerns regarding at a nineteen year old girl marrying a twenty two year old rocker she met on a phone call being voiced, not always so lovingly, the last part of that verse was something I had to learn over and over again, as much as I understood where they were coming from. Now I can say with confidence that the concerns of those who matter were quieted, and the curious commentators have at least grown silent. But issues always arise. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Through it all, I have to remember that I’ve no stones to throw. The courtship between Jonny and I is simply one example, but as I prayed over this blog post what I felt the Lord most pressing on my heart to share is that He who promised is faithful. When we’re caught between Migdol and the sea, that is when He will part the waters for us just to use the same waves to crush the Egyptians.

“He said to His disciples, ‘Offenses will certainly come, but woe to the one they come through! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble.'”
– Luke 17: 1-2 –

“Whoever tries to make his life secure will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”
– Luke 17:33 –


We cannot waste our time worrying about where the next attack will come from. Time is running out, and we have a job to do. Sometimes choosing heaven over earth as a priority will reek like sweat and blood, and sometimes it will be as serene and comforting as eucalyptus’s ever-potent perfume. Fighting is never pretty, but the joy and glory of reaching Home is worth it. With the passion of Odysseus, we are called to wage war on this world’s brokenness for the sake of saving all we can for love. One day the brutalities we’ve felt here will be just a distant memory, like the days I spent in a fever-dream longing to be back safe with Jonny.

“But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. And who is competent for this? For we are not like the many who market God’s message for profit. On the contrary, we speak with sincerity in Christ, as from God and before God.”
– 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 – 

“In the same way, when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, ‘We are good-for-nothing slaves; we’ve only done our duty.”
– Luke 17:10 –


Until next time,

XOXO