Sunday, August 26, 2007

Connected & Encouraged

This morning I heard a guy say that the deepest desire of the human heart is to be loved. He also added that our deepest fear is losing our connection to the love we so desperately need. It's not a revolutionary claim. In fact, enough study's been done on the nature of human desire to make it even mundane. But last week, I experienced the truth of it in a new way.

Thursday, I found myself feeling tired, frustrated, needy, and alone. All in all, I was discouraged and left feeling disconnected from loving community. Like an ache in my gut. Deep... just like the brother said this morning.

Many years ago I realized that life lacking loving community with God is no life at all. Just smoke and mirrors full of distraction and self-dillusion. More recently, however, I've learned that life lacking loving community with people is also an alien place in which the soul was never designed to live. Like waking up on the moon in your pajamas.

This month, my wife and I moved from Chicago to Arizona because, after years of prayer and seeking, we're convicted that God has been leading us here. And to be intimately connected with God means going where He goes. But our first experience of Phoenix, even though we grew up here, has been one of intense loneliness. My 6am-3pm work schedule along with other circumstances hit us hard at first, effectively cutting us off from time with people who share the same God-connection we've come to depend on. In addition, the steps and timing of His path to the kingdom lifestyle He's leading us to have only become more shrouded and unclear for us.

So finally, last Thursday, the Thursday when I was feeling so discouraged and disconnected, Aleta and I found an opportunity to drop in on some like-hearted, like-minded friends. In some ways they seem like the only people we know out here who really understand what we're pursuing. We talked for hours, all pouring our hearts out to each other on all that's going on. We talked about our longings, our dreams, our dissatisfaction, our loneliness, our sense of calling, our desperation for God to do what He has indicated He has already begun. And like the despair I'd been feeling that same day, the beauty of our shared hearts... was deep. Deeper than our mind's thoughts. Deep to the heart and spirit. "Deep calling to deep at the sound of God's waterfalls," as Scripture puts it. Deep to tears.

And we prayed. Oh how we prayed. At one point, through heavy tears, I prayed with a voice scarcely held steady, "Father... I didn't know how much I needed this. Thank You... Thank You for saving me tonight." Our time together was so rich that we decided to gather weekly so we can experience more as the four of us continue seeking God's next step leadership in all this.

And in one single evening, hope was restored. We still don't know the details of God's plan for us next. We still don't know how it's going to take shape. We still don't know our specific roles in His design. But what we do know is that we're no longer in this alone. We know that we share this vision of kingdom-living in Phoenix with two others who love us and are loved by us. Finally, we feel connected on this journey; and it's given us enough courage to keep moving forward.

"Abba... lead on. We love You; and we receive Your love for us with grateful hearts. Thanks."


Bob Carder said...

How can I help you? When you are at the bottom and with no where else to turn it is in that moment that Jesus begins to stir and start the work moving in His direction. You cannot! God can! Man tries. Jesus does.

Let Jesus do it. Quit trying so hard in human strength, Jesus needs you to let Him do the work and when you do you will forever know the work is His and not yours.

You are at the place you need to be. Give up and give it to God and a great move of God will soon be upon you.

This was one of your best posts ever. You don't need the schedule, you need to pray and let God do what He called you their to do. Wait in pray, sit at His feet, utterly helpless without Him and see the miracle of a God birthed movement of God.

The truth is - you cannot do it. Your job is to wait! God's job is to do. Enjoy your family. Trust tin God. Have faith. Wait on God to do the work His way.

Can you do this? If you can, you are part of a move of God never dreamed possible in your lifetime.

Wait. Pray. Watch Him work! He always does it better than us.

Anonymous said...

Hey John -

I just want to pass on that I am praying for you and Aleta. I was catching up on your blog and I want to encourage you to keep practicing God's presence. It's my prayer that God not only continues to place people in your path and give you a vision, but that God simply gives you joy. An unspeakable joy that comes only from being so enamored and overwhelmed by God. You know, that kind of contentment and love where you just have to laugh because you are basking in the glory of God! May God's power and may the Holy Spirit make you and Aleta jump for joy! There are great things in the arms of God!

Love ya bud