Welcome to Chapter 3‘s Day 1 of Part 2 from Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a testimony of God’s perfecting power in her weakness and a prayer inviting God to pour out His Holy Spirit upon us.
When the LORD began to call me to share the Words and visions I saw with a family I had been praying for, I struggled. What if these were just figments of my imagination? What if they gave them false hope or upset them?
I could hear the enemy breathing down my neck: “God would never call someone like you to intercede for others in prayer. He would never give someone like you these kind of Words and visions.” When I looked at myself, I saw my newness in faith as a recently returned Prodigal, my mental illness diagnosis (CPTSD) and my past and found myself beginning to agree with the enemy.
Rather than going to God directly and trusting Him to help me resist the enemy and his accusations, I turned to man. That man, my pastor, whose word I now see I trusted more than God’s Word speaking inside of me, suggested that my lack of peace probably indeed meant God was not calling me. And so a tug of war ensued. Until finally, I cried out in frustration. I told God enough was enough.
Either I was going to zip my lips, or God had better show me that it was indeed He, who had called me to speak His Word into this family’s situation. Moments later, three separate affirmations arrived. But the most amazing affirmation of all was what unfolded with a stranger, mere minutes after my prayer. I was standing at a train station minding my own business, when a man approached me. He asked to borrow my phone to call his brother to let him know he’d be late. I was frightened by his dishevelled exterior, but didn’t want to be rude, so I offered to call his brother for him and tell him.
After doing so, the man thanked me profusely and suddenly began to share parts of his life story. He started by sharing his full (Hebrew) name and his Christian upbringing. And went on to share of the incredible suffering his parents walked through and their inability to love him as he needed to be loved. He then shared about his struggle to believe and to be freed from his addictions.
I listened intently, praying for God to fill me with the wisdom I lacked. I longed to help this man see how much God still loved him and yearned to comfort and bring healing. It’s then, as we sat together on the train, that the Holy Spirit prompted me to openly share about the trauma I had walked through as a little girl and how God was leading me to a place of healing and forgiveness.
The Holy Spirit also provided a question to ask the man. It is this question that visibly moved the man. He kept repeating it and working through its implications. Suddenly, I saw compassion enter the man’s eyes as he spoke of his parents, rather than the hurt and bitterness that had been there moments earlier. The Lord was so clearly working in his heart.
I sat there beside him on the train, amazed. If it was not for the Lord’s promptings I would never have gone near this man. He stunk of alcohol and his dishevelled appearance both frightened and revolted me. But God was not put off by my fears or judgement. He pressed until I responded in grace and love as He wanted me to.
After this experience I knew. I knew that even in my newly returned Prodigal state, as I struggled through trauma triggers, God was calling me to intercede and speak encouragement into others’ lives. It’s then I knew the Scriptures and visions of Bible stories I was receiving in prayer were gifts from God, not given to hoard, but share.
As I shared what God had given me, it affirmed what this family had already been receiving from the LORD. It brought them such comfort and encouragement through a time of great loss and grief. In the months that followed, as I continued to share with them, God grew me in discernment and wisdom, burning away and shaking off the dross that was not of Him, as He continues to do today, even as I share with you here.
Oh there have still been moments since that day at the train station, that I have turned to hide and dim my light, believing the enemy’s accusations. But my God has been so faithful to return me to Himself and to remind me that His power is perfected in weakness. He has lifted me back out of the mire to set my feet upon the Rock and to shine the light He’s given me, brightly, in the places He has set me apart to make His glory known.
Now, as I look back on what unfolded I am amazed at God’s patience and gentleness with me. As I related what unfolded to a friend years later, she asked me why I needed my pastor to affirm God’s Word to me in the first place. It’s then I realized how much God has grown me in confidence. Now, I know that I can trust His gentle Voice speaking inside of me and that I can go to Him directly, asking for His help to discern His path for me.
For each one of us have direct access to our God through the blood of Jesus that was shed for us. Our past has been cleansed by the blood of the spotless Lamb and our current weaknesses are God’s gift to us that His power might be put on display, emboldening others to shine their light brightly too.
Oh yes, our Papa hears our every cry, even before we open our mouths. And oh how He desires for us to come to Him directly. As we do so, we also free others, such as pastors, leaders, teachers, parents and our friends, from a burden they were never meant to carry for us.
Thank You, Jesus, that You call the foolish of this world to shame the wise. Thank You that You call the weak of this world to confound the strong. Thank You that You call us, Your Holy Temples, to shine Your love brightly into the lives of those around us.
Father God, fill us with Your courage today to shine the light of Your love, where You call us to. Help us to turn away from the lies we hear that condemn us or those You are calling us to love. Help us instead to see Your reflection as we look into the mirror and as we look into the faces of those You have set before us.
Melt away our insecurities and fears in the truth of Your holy love for both us and for those you call us to bless. A love You expressed by pouring out the judgement each one of us deserved upon Your very own Son, so that we could be freed from our sin and shame, to run with joy into Your abundant life. Thank You, Father, for Your incredible sacrificial love, a love like no other.
Forgive us for the moments we have rested in the safe of our insecurities and fears. Forgive us for the moments we have forsaken You and Your Word to us, turning to man to direct us, rather than trusting You. Forgive us for all the times we have laid an unnecessary burden upon others in doing so, turning them into our gods. Refresh each of these people today with a fresh in-filling of Your Holy Spirit. And embolden pastors, leaders, teachers, parents and us also to step down from any pedestals we are placed upon by others, encouraging one another to seek Your face.
Embolden us to humble ourselves beneath Your mighty hand and to encourage those struggling around us to seek Your face directly. Help each one of us not to be ashamed of our weakness or fearful in our inadequacies, but to lean into the perfecting power of Your living Word instead. Fill us with the faith to take You at Your Word. To believe that You perfect Your power in us, precisely in and through our weakness, as we trust You to complete and perfect all.
As our knees shake and our hearts tremble, thank You that You are the God who presses us forward to do Your holy will. Thank You for awakening us in the light of Your loving countenance each day afresh. Thank You for clothing us in Your righteousness and sending us out to boldly declare Your Word of love, truth and grace to others too.
We invite You to pour out your Holy Spirit upon us afresh today. Thank You that we can live and move and have our being in You and Your perfect love each day afresh. Shine the light of Your love in and through us today that we may be a blessing, where You have planted us and where You are sending us in the future. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.