Day 4

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A Warfare of Rest – Day 4 – Faithful and Perfect in All His Ways

A few years ago my mother passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.  She was in the hospital with a broken leg and was due to be discharged the next day.  I called her that afternoon, as I was passing by, and asked I should stop in to visit.  Ever the pragmatist, she answered “No, you’re busy, so don’t bother. Why don’t you drop by tomorrow after I’m home.”   We chatted briefly about what kind of birthday cake I was going to make for her, since her birthday was the day after her return from the hospital.  And then I hung up  - never realizing this was the last conversation we would ever have.  Later that night, while talking to my aunt on the phone, she had a massive heart attack and was instantly gone to be with the Lord.

When my brother called to tell me she had died, in total shock, hurt and confusion, I ran to the Lord.  Upset, I said to Him “Why did I have no warning about this?  What is the point of being prophetic if I’m going to miss something as major as my own mother dying?”

With love and firmness, He answered me.  “Stephanie, you knowing wouldn’t have changed anything.    This was the last day ordained for your mother on earth.  She finished her race and has entered her reward”. 

 “I am faithful and perfect in all My ways,“ He continued. 

And then He said something that filled me with the fear of God.  “Stephanie don’t ever defile Me by saying “she shouldn’t died now” or “why didn’t she die after her birthday?"  If you do, you are saying you know better than I do and that your thoughts are higher than Mine.  The enemy is roaming around, looking for an open door in your emotions, so hide yourself in Me and My Word.”

I could feel the warring in my soul with the doubts and unbelief and questions but the fear of God was literally palpable in my room.  So with tears pouring down my face I literally shouted out my agreement “Lord, I don’t understand everything that is happening right now but this one thing I know is this: You are faithful and perfect in all your ways.  And I will not defile You by allowing my mouth to say anything different."

What happened next is hard to describe.  I was hit by a wave of the presence of God that brought me to my knees.  In my spirit I was taken to the story of when the Israelites were leaving Egypt and they were told to put the blood on their doorposts so the angel of death would pass over them.  I had a vision of the Lord coming to me and, with his finger dipped in blood, He marked a cross on my forehead.  I don’t know how else to describe it but to say that I literally felt the darkness of death and grief that was hovering all around, pass right over me and leave my house.

The following week would be one of the most profound experiences I have ever had of the “rest of God”.  I am well acquainted with the psychological principles of the “seven stages of grief” and I fully expected to go there.  But it never happened.

I never cried after that first night.  People, seeing the incredible peace that I had, just assumed I was in shock and told me, “It will hit you later”.  But I knew they were wrong.  I never felt the loss; in fact, I actually felt like I had gained something.  My mom, as much as she loved me, was still human.  And like any other human being, she could never fully understand or know me.  But now I knew she was part of the great cloud of witnesses and had heaven’s perspective.  And I felt this incredible comfort of knowing that for first time in my life, my mom really knew me in the way I had always wished that she did.

Besides this peace, I had extreme spiritual clarity and could discern the unmistakeable leading of the Lord in the myriad of natural details that had to come into place for the funeral. It would take numerous articles to share all the stories of the sovereignty of God that I witnessed that week. 

But perhaps the most profound thing that happened in this whole experience was when, at the funeral, one of my friends came to me and said, “I know this is going to sound weird, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen you look more beautiful than you do today.  I said to my wife, 'I feel like I’m seeing the real Stephanie for the first time, in the fullness of all that God made her to be.'  And Steph, it was captivating.“

Deep in the heart of every human being is a profound need both to know who we really are and to be seen and known this way by others.   And added to this for believers is the profound desire to fulfill whatever purpose God destined and to bring glory and honour to His name.  We spend so much of our lives struggling to find ourselves and protect ourselves and project ourselves the way we want people to see us.  And working so hard to make sure we don’t fail God in our mission.

And yet the answer to all what we are longing for is simply coming to the place of utter stillness in our souls that is born from the profound knowledge that no matter what, God is faithful and perfect in all His ways.  When we enter that rest, the light of the glory of God can shine through us, unhindered, like sunlight streaming through a stained glass window, revealing the beauty both of His uniquely designed window and of the light that makes it come alive.  

I believe that unknowingly, in the midst of pain and disappointment, in the depths of hope deferred from unfulfilled dreams, many of us have “defiled God” by our lack of revelation of His sovereignty, His nature, His character.  It’s one of the areas that I know has weighed down my generation, Gen X, and hindered us from displaying the unique facet of God’s glory that He intended when He made us.  But I also believe that this is a season of accelerated redemption and God is giving us this appointed time, before the new season starts, to throw off all these weights and the sin that has so easily beset us so that we will be able to run with perseverance the race whch will soon be set before us.  Fixing our eyes on Jesus…  

If this resonates with your heart, let’s pray this prayer together.  “Lord, forgive me for the times when, in my hurt or disappointment, I have questioned Your wisdom, Your faithfulness or Your love for me. I’m sorry for defiling You by exalting my own thoughts or ways above Yours. Please cleanse my heart and transform my mind. 

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give [me] the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that [I] may know [You] better. I pray that the eyes of [my} heart may be enlightened in order that [I] may know the hope to which [You} have called [Me}, the riches of [Your] glorious inheritance in [Your] holy people,  and [Your] incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength  [You] exerted when [You] raised Christ from the dead and seated him at [Your] right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  And [You] placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be Head over everything for the Church,  which is his body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way."  (Ephesians 1:17-23)

In Jesus' name, Amen!

On behalf of the Awaken Team

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