Browsing Tag



What if You’re Already in the Promised Land?

October 16, 2014

“We’ve gotten the promised land and the wilderness confused,” he said over another one of our coffee talks. It may have been the same morning as this talk, but it was likely a different one. They all blur together into a story of deeper truth that unfolds at the table with family.

“When we find ourselves working hard for something, having to provide our own sustenance and work our own land – that’s the promised destination. The wilderness had supernatural provision, but the promised land brought hard work.”

And there’s the truth.

There is something easily overlooked in the middle of our wilderness seasons. We scan our circumstances and cry out loudly about the barrenness, the lack of direction or clarity of path, and the slow-moving pace. But we easily forget the provision.

“For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.” [Neh 9:21]

For forty years, as they wandered and journeyed, God alone upheld them. Pure and simple.

But the people grumbled in unbelief and wished they could turn back, all the while forgetting the presence of a God who sustained them even in the driest and most barren of seasons. The testimony of God was in this season. The provision of God was in this season. The grace of God was in this season.

It takes no faith to look around at our circumstances and see what is missing and all we wish could be. And it takes no character to grumble to those around so the message spreads of the painful process of the wilderness season.

As barren and dry as your land may be, God has not abandoned you to a life in the desert. He is actively providing for you. For the wilderness is where you and I receive supernatural sustenance for the day at hand. No more, no less. Just enough to move through today.

10446164546_d2abf43fd7_zPhoto Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

And when we finally break camp, advance, and cross over, it is time to head up the hill. To take possession of the land and eat the fruit of the soil, not the quail and manna from above. What is supernaturally provided in the wilderness becomes what we work for in the promised land.

To receive what is being given to us isn’t some passive sit-down-and-wait posture, but a wholly active one. It means we dig our hands deep into the dirt of the ground, get bruises on our arms and sweat on our brow, and work to receive what is promised.

Because God gives to us by grace what we are to work for in that grace. For the promise is both the gift and the burden.

What is offered to us as we step into new land, just as to the Israelites, is the potential of the promise, the possibility of what the land could be. But they, like us, were responsible to steward and work for it. To overcome the enemies’ holds, labor for the provision, and be faithful in it.

This is where we get to partner with God, equally receiving both the potential and the responsibility of what he promises to us.

If you find yourself digging hard today, plowing and toiling while wondering when in the world you will move into that promised place of your dreams, reconsider where your feet are planted. If you have tired muscles and dirt under your nails, it’s likely you’re standing on a ground of potential with a God who calls you to steward, sow, take responsibility, and actively receive the promised land below your feet.


Your Weakness is a Gift

October 2, 2014

I’m convinced most needed these days is simple. Simple reminders that we are enough and He is enough and what we can do today is enough. That’s my hope for this post. A simple reminder for a Thursday morning.


A few weeks back I sat at a coffee shop and had a conversation with a wise man years ahead of me. He asked how I was doing and what was going on in my life. I replied honestly that I was wrestling to find security and confidence in this season. So much feels unknown that it leaves me more than a little uncertain in myself.

I talked with him about some of my weaknesses that I haven’t been able to overcome in a deeply satisfying way. No matter how many times I read or speak out truth, I still find myself fearing, doubting, or stressing about what is trivial or without purpose.

“I want to be free, confident, and secure,” I told him. My words echoed what I was believing. Namely, that if I could tap into those things, I would feel qualified for what’s ahead.

“That sounds a lot like perfection to me,” he replied back. He’s never been one to shy away from the truthful words, which I welcome. The more truth he gives, no matter the sting, the more I know he really loves me.  Though I definitely snarled up my nose and glared my eyes in a micro-expression of dislike over what he was digging into.

“God doesn’t want you apart from him, but dependent on him. Maybe those weaknesses are the gifts in this season to keep you closely tucked under God,” he said.

He kept speaking, but by then I was lost in the deep whisper of the Spirit. Like a swirling tunnel of wind around me, I kept hearing the same few words over and over. “Your weakness is my gift,” the voice spoke, with each repetition hammering its nail of truth deeper into my core.

Something happened in me in that moment. I began remembering.

6287147411_223a2f22ef_o[Photo Credit: Stephan Rosger]

So often it seems we confine the good gifts from God to what we publicly praise, celebrate, or proclaim as wonderful. That which others would long for is what we term as gifted. The gifts become what we testify to, encouraging those around us to petition and seek God for similar things.

But what if those good gifts include what keeps us deeply dependent on God, not what makes us independent from him? What if those defaults of our lives that leave us humble and low are actually the gifts of grace that keep us close?

I easily can look at weaknesses in my life as areas I need to overcome or eliminate. But maybe, instead of seeking to be free from such things, our place is actually to find God in the midst of what is weak within us. Then, instead of our story being about fixing, it becomes about finding.

To be weak isn’t to be far from God, but to remain as close as possible to him. And those struggles in us which birth deep dependence on him are grace.  The great gift God will offer to us in any season is a sustained need for him. It may be easy for us to despise our weaknesses, but they are, in fact, the gifts of grace in our present season, not letting us wander too far from home.

If you’re weak on this Thursday morning, you are in good company. The kingdom is full of weak ones who are ever-learning to depend on the great, living God for the strength to walk through the day at hand.  The kingdom will never be filled with the best, brightest, or most self-sustaining. So today is a good day to take a deep breath and let go of such expectations over yourself.

Instead, remember that no matter what weaknesses or thorns you may carry today, your journey is to find God.  Release yourself from trying to figure out how to fix what is weak in you. Because what is weak may in fact be the beautiful gift of a God who longs for you to draw fresh breath from him today.

Live Here. Love Now.

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