Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Pause

As I've entered the book of Deuteronomy, the words have been popping off the page at me.  Yet, I know it is not enough to hear God speak.  If I am to live life to the fullest, I must take those words and put them into action in my life.  So, in seeking to obey, this will be my last post for a season.  I cannot tell you when I will be back, but hopefully, I will be back.

I've been wandering for years on the edge of a promise, one that holds the conviction and call of God, and He is now telling me to "go in and occupy the territory."  (Deut. 1:8)

I used to pray that God would enlarge my sphere of influence, increase my territory.  But lately as I've faced another edge, that of burnout, I see there are boundaries to this ministry He has for me.  I know God goes ahead and it is He that fights for me.  But I need to trust Him for the best places to camp.  And so I ask myself, "Where are my energies spent?  Are they used up on the right things?" 

There is so much good keeping me from obedience.  I must turn from the good for a season to know if it is truly the best.  It may seem backwards, but at this point in my life, I do not need more spiritual input or output.  What I am needing is permission to rest and turn my energies toward . . . . . (I will leave that unspoken).  Maybe for you it is the opposite.  Each heart must discern its own balance. 

God calls the wandering Israel to go in and occupy the land, but first they must simply cross the brook.  (Deut. 2:13)  Cross the brook?  It sounds so trivial.  Yes, just cross it.  For thirty eight years Israel has avoided the brook!  And I hear God saying, "Just take the next step."  It might not be the whole victory, but that one step is a crucial link to forward progress.  And to move forward I have to leave some things behind. 

 After the brook they are commanded to cross the gorge, a bigger challenge, but still not the intended end.  And the crossing of the gorge leads to the heat of the battle where they will occupy the land. (Deut. 2:24)

Yet, how peculiar that they were only to conquer a certain territory and no more.  God was very specific about their boundaries.  In fact, God gives stern warning of the lands they pass through, of the Moabites, and of the Edomites.  Those lands were not for Israel.  (Deut. 2:2-6, 16-19)  And I hear God saying, "It is not more territory you need, but rather obedience within the territory you've already been given."

Sometimes we want all the gifts, or all the opportunities.  But maybe its because we seek glory for ourselves.  But the territory God desires we occupy might be in a place where no one knows or sees.  I'm reminded of that wee little story tucked in at the close of John's gospel.  Peter is troubled over John's tight relationship with God and Jesus rebukes him, saying in effect, "What is that to you, Peter?  Why concern yourself with John's business?  You follow me."  (John 21:22)

My desire is to simply follow my Shepherd, wherever He leads.  And for now, it is away from here.  I'm hoping it is only a pause, a respite from the heat of the day, but I don't yet know that for sure.  At any rate, you all have been such a blessing and encouragement in my life.  Thank you for sharing this journey with me.  

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