It was June 18 when I asked God for a word. A series of events led to it. My NBSB friend suddenly resigns from her post as NBSB club president, another close friend receives a prophetic vision about her friends (which includes me), and God seemed to be up to something that season. I had to pray. I did not wanna miss out on what God has. I prayed hard.
“What is your word for me God? Is this the season or not?” I knew in my heart that I want nothing less than what God wants. Even if it means laying down things dear to me at that time – not exactly a pleasant thought.
The act of sacrifice can be intimidating when you consider the pain factor involved in giving up something that you have fallen in love with. But what (or who) could compare with what God’s mind has conceived? And I knew that no matter what happens, I will be found wrestling for God’s best, even if it doesn’t make sense at the moment. The mere fact that it is God’s BEST has to be enough reason to cling to it, even if I don’t really understand what that meant. Even if I had not seen or conceived it, the mere fact that it carries the name of my God, that it brings the aroma of His presence, the mere fact that it was something that springed forth from the heart of the Man who loves me, it has to be MORE THAN enough.
So I waited that morning for God to whispher a word that would bring me peace and joy.
The word did not come quickly. Perhaps because God saw my heart. I had to renew my decision to lay down my preferences and fears. And this was what I got.:
(1) June 18 entry of My Utmost for His Highest Devotional by Oswald Chambers: “If you debate for even one second when God has spoken, it is all over for you.”
Then WOAH! Suddenly I was reminded of an old word. I had to stop in the middle of the devotional entry. My mind and heart resisted the word. God had spoken to me some 2 years before that, a word that took every ounce of faith to carry. I have had a love-hate relationship with that word. In times of confirmations, I loved the word. During times of testing, I hated it. I wanted God to take it back and so I returned it to him, not knowing he was just waiting for the right time to give it back. (Uh-oh)
Then it came so clearly, God’s voice… “Riza, my word has not changed. It is the same.” On one hand, it is so reassuring to know that the God I love is 100% unshakeable, faithful, and steadfast in his word. On the other hand, I wanted “out.” I had a better idea in mind when I approached my prayer time that day. It was a perfect idea. I loved it and it was wonderfully spiritual and in line with my calling. By this time the tears and sobbing had become uncontrollable.
“Oh I must be imagining this. Is that really you God???”
Then came the next word:
(2) August 29 entry in My Utmost for His Highest Devotional by Oswald Chambers. And this one brought it home.: “But common sense is not faith, and faith is not common sense… Can you venture out with courage on the words of Jesus Christ, while the realities of your commonsense life continue to shout, “It’s all a lie”? When my strength runs dry and my vision is blinded, will I endure this trial of my faith victoriously or will I turn back in defeat?” And so on and so forth.
Oh! Same word same word same word I had tucked away years back. It hurts to hear them again!
The title of this devotional entry happened to be “The Unsurpassed Intimacy of Tested Faith” and from there the message is pretty clear… The reason God allows the words He’s given us to be tested is not to make our lives difficult. The reason why He is giving me the word again is not because He’s so strict that He simply cannot give me something that would “make my life easier.” Remembering that prayer time on June 18, it is with sweetness that I understand it now as God’s relentless way of pursuing me.
Oh yes! God’s desire for INTIMACY was to be pursued through the testing of my faith! Because it is in the testing of my faith that a bond between me and my God could be forged. Imagine a woman whe believes every word her man says. Is that not a picture of intimacy? I realize, God is wanting to take me to a place where even if all my senses would be disabled, I would still believe and trust in Him. This is faith. And this is intimacy. Knowing who God is in the absence of tangible proof. It is knowing His word as truth in the absence of any kind of assurance EXCEPT the INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE of truly knowing Him and His LOVE.
Yes, I did not receive a new word. It was re-launched to once again walking by faith and not by sight as I once again accepted from God a word that I had rejected.
But this time I knew it was different. There was no longer to be any room for doubt. What God has made clear, He has made clear. This time it seems irreverent to question. For God, He has spoken clearly enough. It was my turn to exercise faith. It was my turn to lean on Him. This is our newfound intimacy.