Sunday, April 6, 2014
2 Corinthians 2:9
"Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything."
I wanted to share with you the intimate details of some very important events that have taken place in the past few weeks. I guess in order to explain the present we must go back a few months to an opportunity that God gave me to be obedient. I would first like to say that often times we associate obedience to a struggle, to something we won’t want to do perhaps. If that is your idea of it, as it is sometimes mine, I hope to change that notion for you with this story.
Around December just about four months ago God had been ministering to me through worship in very intimate way. I began to desire to express myself more in worship and found myself thinking about when I was younger. About 15 years ago I had a very healthy knowledge of sign language but it had been about that many years since I had used it. Last summer I started feeling nudges and having moments where I felt as though I would soon be pursuing the path of learning Sign Language again, "maybe for some grand thing", I would think to myself ( but I have a new life goal or new found passion in my life every few weeks so I have learned to dial my passions down a bit). Slowly starting around December I would find myself trying to remember the signs to worship songs, one time in worship God spoke to me that I was to pursue it and use it, so I started studying almost every day. I found myself starting to sign again in worship and one day as I was not too comfortable with it (I hate the idea that I might be drawing attention away from others worshiping) I found God pushing me deeper and saying to let go. As I did, like a flood God restored unto me many years worth of sign language that had been forgotten. I felt a deeper passion to study each day and I felt as though there was a goal although I did not know what it was I could feel it like a deadline almost. Just a few weeks ago God sent Cameron and I to Thailand, I knew that God was going to do something that would fuel my faith in a new way. I knew that it would be something that only he could do, and that he would use me. I also knew it had to do with obedience. On the plane I was studying sign language and others on the trip with us saw me and I felt a little silly but later it would be important that although I felt silly I was being obedient to study. Several days after we had arrived in Thailand we were up in a remote village. A Christian village of under 100 people. We had interpreters but so much goes into talking back and forth that often times the level of communication is somewhat shallow. Details are a lost luxury in translation. By a miracle I came to discover that in the village there was a deaf man who had been to the city to learn sign language. A miracle that a village with one deaf man would send him 3 hours away at their own expense and who was he going to talk with anyway? He was going to talk with me! He was going to have a divine encounter in which God showed me, him and many others that he loves us so much that he will pursue us, he will find us in our loneliest hour and he will come and sit and speak with us. I talked with him many times throughout the week and although our sign language is based on different alphabets we were able to figure it out and I was able to speak with him better than with anyone else there. He could write and read Thai so when we talked about God and I found out that he didn’t have a bible I knew that God wanted this moment so that he could speak to his son personally through his word. Before we left we made sure to get him a Thai bible.
By so many accounts this meeting was a miracle. And all I could think was what if I hadn’t listened to God, what if I had been to embarrassed to obey. Everyone that saw me studying on that plane knew that God had been planning this, and the book that I had decided to bring to study was so helpful as I sat and talked with Boochang. God is so amazing. Can I say it again? GOD IS SO AMAZING. He is so loving and so intimate that not one person is to be left out, or cast aside. And in my obedience I discovered a faith that I have never known. I honestly didn’t see the full picture of the power of the cross, the intimacy of our Father God, the beauty of the oneness we have in his Spirit as we obey his commands until that moment in Thailand. The chances of that encounter were so impossible that I know that when Christ said we would do greater things than the miracles that he did, he was talking about this exact encounter in Thailand. Our God sees a lonely isolated man in a remote village and says “I love you. You are my child, I have not forgotten about you.” I promise that you have never felt the kind of frustrations and barriers that this man has felt but we can all relate to the feeling of being forgotten, or alone, or afraid that our voice will never be heard or matter to anyone. God has not forgotten. He is a faithful God who pursues us even to the ends of the earth. Our God is Almighty , He is the lover of our souls and he has sent an invitation out to those who feel alone, to come to him, to never be incomplete again and to find wholeness in a relationship with him. I have doubted too long on the voice of God. I have heard the voices saying how can I know the voice of God. Boochang can not hear yet he is a man who has time to listen to God. In some ways his time with God will be more pure. Then it hits me. God brought his words to Boochang because that is how God speaks. We can’t complain that we do not know the voice of God if we are not willing to sit and learn the words of God. Boochang was hungry for more and God brought him more from halfway across the world. How can we say “speak to me Lord” and not open up the very words of God that have already been spoken. If you want to know God’s voice, you need to know God’s words. So again I challenge the idea we have of obedience, and put it like this: to obey is take someone else’s word for it over your own. It is to trust God that when he says to do something, to be something, to go somewhere, whatever it is he asks, you just trust him over yourself. It is to give the control over to God and trust that the lover of your soul has it powerfully covered by his sacrifice and love. We need to give the Lordship of our lives over to God once and for all. It is time to listen, to obey, to confront the selfishness inside of each one of us. And then in that moment of unity with God’s will we will find all that we have lacked and all that we have been seeking. God says seek first the kingdom of heaven and all else shall be added. It is time to bend our knee to God and give him our obedience, It is time to actively listen to the point where we can hear him speak through his word. To hear him say who we are, to have him transform us into the image of Christ. So that no devil, no world, no man, no lie, can separate us from his Love!
God you are mighty, a generation has been birthed that longs for you so desperately. But the enemy has taken it by the throat and is trying to keep it from speaking out your truth. You go further than the spoken word, the written word, even the signed word. You are the word and you have given us victory over the enemy of our soul. Lord take us further still in our walk with you to a place where all who see us will see you and the reflection of your love will melt the hearts of even the cruelest of men. Change us so entirely that the world will know that you are here. Open the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf, and minds of those diluted by false glory. Jesus you have shown us how to be obedient, how to sacrifice it all for the sake of the Fathers love. Let us too be one with you in this one thing… To love God with all our heart, soul and mind and to love others as ourselves. To you be the glory, the honor and the praise, Amen