Today’s post is by Kevin Adams author of his Wake Up My Faith blog. I came across Kevin through his twitter account, @wakeupmyfaith, and through some shared views we came to form a connection. Kevin is one of the rare people who maintains an authentic relationship with God and with his heart. By not giving up on one for the other, Kevin’s writings bring you into the tension of living true to both. I asked him to share his walk with God in trust and prayer through a recent tough season of his life. He has graciously agreed. I encourage you to follow his blog and twitter to continue to grow from his experiences.
If you’re alive, you have breath. If that breath has ever been taken away, even for a moment, you have a testimony. In the fall of 2008, after a decade of hard work, I had a successful business, high income, great investments and no bad debt. By January of 09, within 100 days, I’d lost it all, was in overwhelming debt, and my entire financial structure had collapsed squarely on top me and my family. Ten years of effort left me with nothing it seemed but guilt, fear, and shame.
Since then, there have been days with no groceries and no way to buy them, days of not knowing where we would sleep, days of marriage held by a thread and depression held by a rope, and even days of watching extended family place material wealth above our need. And some of the longest days were spent watching our prodigal son reject us, and all that we embody.
So, like many who’ve been breathing a while, I’ve also been crushed under the weight of God’s course correcting presence and held there. Though it continued to steal my breath, it saved my life by teaching by my heart to rest. It’s within that context that we must focus on resting when it looks like we should run.
Sometimes God allows our own subtle will to become a wilderness, not that we should beg but that we would tire of laboring for answers; and listen instead to the beat of His heart by simply resting against it. In other words, it’s through a broken heart that we make our petition, God never looks at his watch. But it’s through a rested heart that we must learn to listen and trust that His watch isn’t broken.
But resting is more than surrender; it’s learning to seek Him first while we wait, not just above all things but instead of all things – even good things (things He promises to add). It’s then that our days become filled with two way communications – meaningful impressions that we learn to trust and follow. And it’s then that “pray without ceasing” becomes a reality and a never ending conversation.
A Closer Look At Rest
There are few things as wonderful as a good night’s rest. We consider it a precious commodity. But just a peek through the eyes of our adversary helps us see the powerful difference between “down time” and the rest that Jesus freely offers. If we carefully consider where the enemy assigns value, we can blow his cover by identifying the currency of spiritual warfare. Jesus reveals this as “REST” from the rough terrain of the passage below.
Luke 11:24-28 When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”
Rest is so highly valued by the enemy that he will mobilize a small army to apprehend and recover it from his only source (us). He wants to steal what Jesus freely gives and will not be satisfied until he has it. An evil spirit isn’t looking to catch his breath any more than God needed a breather on day seven.
His rest is realized the moment he employs us to do the enemy’s work FOR him. And he leaves no footprints because unlike the Lord who carries us, he disguises himself as the authority and showers us with approval when we obediently carry him – instead. We’ll either rest in the authority of Jesus (obedience) or labor against it on behalf of the enemy (disobedience). And we do love the site of our own footprints – looks like we’re really getting somewhere.
The Concert of False Productivity
The story of Mary and Martha beautifully reveals how subtly the enemy conducts this orchestra. He attempts to lure us with notes of earned approval from instruments of assumption. Consider how the passage uncovers him as maestro conducting from beneath the stage at Martha’s expense.
Luke 10:39-42 “…Mary sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to him talk. But Martha was upset about all the work she had to do.…Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself? Tell her to help me.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things. There’s only one thing you need. Mary has made the right choice, and that one thing will not be taken away from her.”
Horns / Strings / Bass / Percussion
Martha prepares a meal Jesus never asked for (forget tradition)
Martha does not listen as He teaches
Martha associates her labor with obedience and Mary’s resting as disobedience
Martha views herself as obedient which justifies (in her mind) making demands of Jesus
Martha worked diligently toward what she thought would be a fine finish, one she could look back on with a deep sigh and be proud of her own footprints. But Mary became still and rested at Lord’s feet in order to listen and be prepared for the work that He had planned (she left no footprints).
Closing Thought & Update
Once I learned to rest in the wilderness God revealed the sound of His voice. He rescued my broken heart and added all these things, including revealing my Kingdom potential as a writer. He will do the same for you. Praises to Him for His patience and tender mercy.