I just spent the last two weekends at youth conferences. The Holy Spirit moved mightily in spaces he created and in full power when invited openly. There were mountaintop moments. More of these are to come for people. Yet, in the middle of that, there were afflictions trying to steal joy and attention. Afflictions cause us to examine what we believe. They cause us to have to choose what we will choose to believe.
Afflictions often attack our area of strength or joy. For example, my knee started hurting a few months ago after just sitting on the floor DURING prayer and worship time. It just felt out of whack. When I was to go with the students to a conference where there would be dancing and joy, it acted up the week before to the point where I could barely walk! So I did the opposite of what seemed logical. I chose to exercise. It got better that night for a while. I got prayer. One woman saw me dancing and new knee parts coming. I praised God for that, but it wasn’t going to come at that moment. Yet, I danced at the youth conference. It got more sore at the next one. AND, the Holy Spirit moved in powerful ways through each of these things. I got more prayer. A student was overcome with a spirit of intercession and saw the battle raging against me. It was intense. This battle is over more than a knee, or your health. In Mark 4, we read of Jesus and the disciples on a boat in a storm. During the storm, Jesus was able to sleep in the boat. Waves are crashing in to them, yet he is sleeping. What kind of mindset is that?!
Jesus knew that when he rose, when he chose to stand up, he would be able to speak and calm the storm, yet he felt no urgency to do it right away. He wasn’t worried the storm would kill him.
I think I need to say that again. Jesus wasn’t worried that the storm would kill him. Yet, The disciples faith was challenged as the boat rocked. They saw what was happening in the natural realm and forgot that nothing could touch them because they were with Jesus. It was not HIS time to die. We get so caught up in the swirl of the moment that we forget the big picture! Look at the big picture of your life. Look at your purposes and promises. Nothing has changed. You may be frustrated or disappointed but God’s not worried.
One of my son’s, Jack, was at the last conference and last night we had a powerful move of the Holy Spirit in our midst, mountain moving. When he got back last night he fell off of his friend’s hover board and hurt his wrist badly. I believe God tried to warn me, but I forgot the word for him I had “choose wisely”. Jack has a strange habit of laughing when he’s in pain. He belly laughs. This gift of JOY is Jack’s strength. Last night he said, “When I get hurt, I usually laugh. This time, I only let out a chuckle,” he said with concern. There is temptation to worry! That is the scheme of the enemy, but God says, “Trust me and have joy in the midst of this.” He is still our healer. He still carries our infirmities and diseases. He is still on the throne. But we must face our fears. Will you let your life situations rock your boat?
The disciples were not new to storms at the sea. They were fisherman, AND they were with Jesus. Maybe this storm was BIGGER than all the rest because Jesus WAS so close. Yet, what did they look at? Did they look at Jesus with peace? No, they were overcome by the tossing of the boat and the water in it. Jesus said, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Matthew 4:40)
I believe that Jesus is SO close to us. I’ve seen him fully present in power in the last two weeks, yet I’ve also seen storms hitting people to draw their attention to the enemy’s work. He’s desperate to get a little worship because God is getting SO MUCH! Our king is on the throne and he’s not getting off!
When the area we take the most joy in is removed, or threatened, how will we react?
One of my greatest joys is dancing in worship and the other is kneeling to pray. When I do each of those lately, I feel the affliction. Where will my attention be? Will I continue to fix my eyes on what God is doing in the moment, or will I be consumed with thoughts of lack, or even a thought about the affliction. I know God will heal it, he always has. He’s faithful to the end, but how will I react in the waiting?
Will I trust him and go forward with the things I need to do? Yes.
God, our Father, is for us. He is FOR us. He’s not waiting on the sidelines, watching us be destroyed. He’s active in the midst of us saying, look at what I AM doing. Celebrate it! Don’t let your troubles keep you in a bubble. I’m your DADDY. Do you think I’ll fail you? Trust me in EVERY circumstance. Submit where you need to submit and let me lead.
I believe control is being challenged in this season. There are remnants of control we still have to surrender. We want things to happen a certain way, but we have to believe we are in the hands of God no matter what our circumstance.
One thing this knee affliction has just reminded me of is that I cannot kneel right now, I am forced to STAND UP. Have faith that when you stand up and exercise your faith, the storm will cease. When many of us stand up and exercise our faith, the devil will find out that we really do believe he is defeated. It’s time to rule and reign as the children of God. Children are meant to play and enjoy the works of their Father. He delights over his children! Realize today, that God is delighting over you and set your mind to delight in him and in those around you.
Remember the disciples in the boat? They could have reacted differently. They could have seen the storm and said, “Praise God, Jesus is in the boat. Nothing can touch us. But, they let their minds and emotions get tossed by the wind and they looked away from Jesus. He was still in the boat, SO NEAR.
Scripture reading suggestions: Mark 4:35-41, Acts 3:1-10
Pray with me:
Thank you Jesus for your abiding love. It goes where we go and stays where we stay. Help us to remain in it and not let our hearts wander into the camp of fear and distraction. I will not fear death. I will not focus on the storm. I will speak to it and stay calm. I will not worry about what I think I might miss out on. I will not lament over what I didn’t get. I will live fully present in the moment so I can see where you are hovering and working around me. I will not be overcome. I will be calm in the boat and rest until I need to stand up and speak.
I believe you God, that you will fulfill all you have spoken. I will stand in faith. I will trust you to heal my every affliction and I will not let it become my identity.
I thank you Father that Your joy is our strength! We can have it no matter what the circumstance! No matter where we are! We can rest in storms and have faith when waves hit us. Wherever we have to go, your light will shine through us. Nothing is impossible with you. Thank you that you are with us in our every destination. Keep our eyes on the opportunities that can happen in every moment of the day. We praise you for your enduring love and steadfast connection to your children. Thank you Daddy! You’re the best! In Jesus’s name. Amen!