Sunday, May 15, 2011
When I first felt that God was calling me to go to Japan a month and a half ago, I was shocked because it was so contrary to what i had thought god wanted me to do, and what i had already planned to do. I was already set on taking summer school and staying at home because God had been showing me the importance of loving the people around me and being faithful with the little. He’s been putting an immense desire in my heart to love the people closest to me with all that I have and to faithfully steward that one ‘talent’ god has given me (as in the parable). In my mind, loving the people around me meant staying in Irvine in the summer. although I have always been a "go-go-go person, the lord has been teaching me the reward of stillness and so I had surrendered my desire to go to the nations, believing that in the right season, God would allow me to go.
It was during one of my prayer times where I was moved to pray for japan because I heard from a friend that they weren’t getting as much help as they should be, and even some people are scared to go to Japan right now because it was too dangerous.
“How can this be?” I thought. Japan is at its pinnacle of chaos right now and they are the ones that need the most help. why is that god’s people are not being his hands and feet, his salt and light to a people who are desperately seeking help and answers? I prayed, asking God to bring more laborers in the field, for His glory to shine bigger and brighter....and it was then during this time where I felt that God was prompting me to go to Japan--that I wouldn’t just pray for laborers, but that He wanted me to be the answer to my prayer.
A part of me wrestled with God even when he prompted me . I had already adjusted my mind and was set on staying in Irvine this summer, to be comfortable and to take classed in order to catch up on my double-major. To be honest, prior to this incident Japan was one of the farthest countries from my heart. Never in my life would I ever want to go to Japan. I wanted to be far away from countries that were immersed in materialism and technology, and I kept asking God if he would let me go to Africa or India for missions, or a small remote village where life was simple.
So during a missions team meeting I told God,
“lord you know my heart...but if You want me to go to Japan, please give me a supernatural heart for them so that I can know how much You love them.” Right after I finished praying this prayer, I started to weep in the Spirit and my whole body was shaking under His power and His love that was pouring into my heart. I began to feel God’s heart for them and how he longed to bring restoration and redemption into their lives. From then on God continued to move my heart more and more for the country.
****I want to make a quick distinction between being overcome with emotion and being in the power of the spirit. When I say that I am “weeping in the spirit” it means that this is a conviction that is prompted by the spirit. It is not merely a feeling engendered by my own human means or effort—it is a heart revelation directly given by god. it is supernatural and cannot be created by our own natural means. My heart was moved supernaturally by the Holy spirit, and this weeping in the spirit is the same experience that I had when God called me to stay in my home church; against my own will and heart, I literally weeped in the spirit for an entire week over my church and its people, and this was the first time I actually knew and felt how much god loved my church.****
However, despite the fact that God had showed me his heart for Japan, I was going through a season of incredible dryness and darkness (as written in my previous blog). The past month has been the driest period I have experienced in my entire life, and I was faced with so many different temptations. I had lost all the joy I used to have in Christ, lost my desire to pursue Christ and began to question if I truly did wanted to go to Japan and if God really did call me. a thousand doubts and fears seeped into my mind, and I felt exactly like Moses when God commissioned him to go to Egypt to set his people free.
--But lord, I’m not right with you right now, and my heart isn’t in the right place. I am so hard.
---but lord, how can I share your gospel when I’m not fully living it out?
---but lord, I am so not ready...i think I might be more of a hindrance to the team and I don’t know if I can even be effective
--but Lord, what about my parents? what would they say about me wanting to go to japan?
---but lord, I don’t know if I heard you correctly. What if this is my own desire to go?
---but lord, I have back and health problems..
---but lord, is this the right season and the right time to go?
---but lord, I really cant do much... theres already other people going to japan that
you could use
needless to say, I felt like the most unqualified person alive, and didn’t believe that God actually wanted me to go to japan, nor did I fully believe he could use me. I was swarmed with fear and doubt, and in the midst of this darkness I forgot what it meant t o trust in Him. But even as I told God that I couldn’t go to Japan, my spirit did not feel at peace.
As the deadlines were approaching and the missions trip was coming in a month in a half, I had almost wanted to give up any prospect of going to Japan, deeming it safer and easier for me to just stay in Irvine this summer. I knew I had to make a decision soon and quickly.
this past Thursday I went to KCCC, and we were having our missions send-off night. It was here that I told him, Lord if you do not show me today what you would like me to do clearly, I will decide not to go.
But oh how God is so faithful, and when He opens a door, truly no one, not anything, can ever shut any door that He intends to open.
It was at this night where he spoke to me loudly and clearly, breaking my heart again for what broke His. After weeks of being completely unfeeling, unmoving, and completely passive towards God, he put in me a fresh fire and burden, reminding me again of his heart to see every peoples of every nation come to know him, that they might also be saved!
and as he was speaking to me, he gave me a grave urgency to share his word, and it was then that I realized the necessity and the importance of the gospel is so much more important, so much greater than any of my inhibitions and fears. It was here that God opened up my eyes to see that the root of all my problems was my immense lack of faith— I felt chastised by God because I remembered that one cannot please God without faith.
I told him,
“Lord you know my heart... and you also know that I have never been in this lukewarm state in my entire life, and this is the driest season that I have ever been in... lord im sorry that all I have to offer you right now is my broken worship. But if you truly want me to go, I am willing to lay aside all my fears, my inhibitions, my feelings of doubt and insecurity... for the sake of your gospel lord. because you are greater, you are worthier and i want to trust you. Right then when I made that final decision, I knew in my spirit that this was the way God wanted me to go. finally, after a month of wrestling with Him, I felt at peace.
Things turned out well with my mom as well, as I called her after this and asked her again for the third time if she would let me go to japan. she told me that although she did not personally want me to go because it was dangerous, if god wanted me to go she could do nothing to stop it, and that I was old enough to make my own decisions.
the righteous shall live by faith.
although I am still slowly learning exactly what it means to live by faith, I want to go to Japan with wholehearted trust in God’s perfect love, timing, and nature.
I want to be able to walk by faith, and not by sight. In my natural sight it seemed so improbable for me to go, but faith is not seeing; it comes through hearing. And God quieted my soul, allowing me to hear his whispers and his promptings and his heart, thus, I want to respond in faith.
lord to go where you go and say what you say,
to be your hands and feet, a jar that is emptied for you to use and fill however you may see fit.
here I am Lord, though incapable, though broken, though weak
Here I am lord, ready to do your will
here I am lord,
Thursday, May 5, 2011
when god first showed me that I was in a season of wilderness, I had merely thought that I would be spiritually dry.
but oh, how I was so wrong.
the wilderness encompasses so much more—
for when Jesus was taken to the wilderness, he was alone; there he was tempted and tried-his season of all the possible temptations. it was there were he battled, took his sword of the spirit and shield of faith to ward off satan’s lies and temptations. it was in the wilderness where he became refined, where he learned obedience. it was also after he underwent his trial in which he emerged full time into hid calling and into his ministry of openly preaching, teaching, performing miracles, and proclaiming that he was the Son of God to all men.
This season for me is more of a wilderness than I realized. for I am overwhelmed with temptations that I had never knew existed inside of me. suddenly the desires for worldly pleasures has crept into my heart, seeped in ever so slightly and poisonously that I wasn’t aware of it until I started to fall into it. a lie had entered my mind... I wanted to sin, to even fall into extreme sins so that I could understand more fully the depth of my depravity and the magnitude of God’s sacrifice and grace. I wanted to be that ex-druggie or that ex-prostitute who was radically saved by Christ and who experienced God’s grace in a way that was unimaginable. There was one time this desire took hold of me so strongly that I wanted to hurt myself... please bear with me.
I don’t really know what to say or how to even explain what is going on. I am speechless. I don’t even know if i should be writing this on my blog, but I want to be open and vulnerable. but I will try to articulate these scattered and indescrible thoughts with as much clarity as I can...so heres my story. For the past 3 weeks I felt like I was walking in a cloud of darkness. I felt as if I had lost my satisfaction from god. His presence felt void in my life. Depression was looming over me—and because my relationship with god wasn’t right, nothing else was right. I had no joy... I didn’t even feel like I was living. I felt dead.
Bizarre thoughts would enter into my mind, and I would give way for these thoughts to take root. For a time I would constantly try to fight. At night I would battle certain temptations and wrong mindsets that I knew the enemy was seeping into my mind. other nights I would be too tired to fight—all I wanted to do was to ignore the reality of my problems and these newfound desires that started to take hold. I found myself worn out and weary of being in constant battle, not knowing fully how to use my sword. I began to question god—Lord, are you truly the best thing this world has to offer? Lord, are you truly the greatest satisfaction? Is knowing you truly the greatest joy? Truthfully, at times i didnt care about God, what He felt when I would choose not to pray or couldnt read the word. other times i would even ask God if i could go my own way, to see what life was like on the other side for a while and then come back to him. I was so cold.
being in the wilderness—is also a season of loneliness. in the wilderness, everything is the same dry, flat plain stretched out miles and miles on end. with a ground-view, from a human perspective, it seems impossible to see past the vast dessert of sandless nothing. I think for a while now ive been feeling like my life is the same...normal, routine. not that its bad for life to be a flat ground. but for me... I realized that it is quite unbearable, to be in this state of flatness, of dryness. it would be better if I went through extreme suffering so that god could show me his extreme glory. honestly, I do prefer the valleys and the mountains in my life, for those are the times I cling onto Christ harder, with more determination. I think maybe even this desire to experiment with extreme sin came from a loathing of normalcy, of passive consistency.
Today during bible study as I was reading Revelations, the passage where god tells the angel to write to the church of Laodecia, I realized the condition of my heart. I was lukewarm. it had never really occurred to me... but I realized—Luke-warmness is ultimately not being completely content in god. God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him. I began to realize the true condition of my passivity, and my desire to find satisfaction outside of god, to experiment with different and new things.
And I was sharing with my discipler, telling her that,
for me, to suffer is to be lukewarm, to not care of God’s love.
Because... in my eyes, it would not matter so much if I were to undergo physical affliction, torture or persecution if I was madly and deeply in love with god. Nothing that I could go through would matter because God would be my only passion, and that love would burn away everything else. What does suffering matter when one is deeply in love?
But when one is lukewarm... all of a sudden even the slightest problem in one’s life seems like a bigger giant.
and I came to the horrible conclusion...
that for the first time in my walk with jesus, I actually felt how it was like to be lukewarm. as I began to reminisce and tell my discipler how in love with god I used to be, I began to tear because I realized how cold and calloused my heart had become. How my once beating, pulsing, living heart of flesh has changed to a cold, unfeeling, unpenatrable stone. Last year whenever I would hear the gospel it would move me so deeply to tears. But now, I merely acknowledge what Christ did on the cross, no longer fully convicted by his love. Back then, my only only truly only desire was to know Him more. I wanted to share with everyone that crossed my path the love of God that transformed me inside and out. All I wanted to do was be intimate with God, and I desperately wanted everyone I knew to have the opportunity to experience the greatest love in the entire realm of history. jesus was EVERYTHING to me. he was my greatest desire, and nothing, truly nothing mattered more. I was ready to take this precious gospel with me unto death.
sadly, I cannot fully say... that god is my greatest desire. I want him to be. what has become of me? Sometimes when I pray, “lord I want to know you more, I want to be with you” –it is because I want a desire to hunger for god, I want a desire to want to be with Him. But is this a prayer that is truly from my heart? Do I truly desire more of him, or do I just know that i should have more of him, which compels me to pray this prayer? I am realizing more and more the true conditions of my heart. I feel so disobedient, so unworthy, far from him. I have lost my child-like youthful innocence and simplicity. I have become tainted with the experiences of life, tainted with my disbelief, with lies--so hardened, oh so hardened.
How should I end this?
Well, all I can say is that I am glad that when God rebukes the church in Laodecia(Rev 3), he doesn’t merely leave them nakedly exposed in the wretched condition that they are. He doesn’t just rebuke them for their hardened hearts, for their deceived minds and their self-indulgence and self-dependence. No.... he extends an offering of intimacy to them—
“I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he will eat with me.“
Here God shows us that HE is the one knocking on the doors of the hardened believer/ lukewarm heart. HE is the one who is pursuing them for a deeper relationship. And if we open the door, if we give Jesus permission to come into our hearts, he will then come and eat with us, and we with him (a place of intimacy where what we have is Jesus’ and what He has is ours, a place where things are shared). The lukewarm believer need not remain in this condition if he were to just open his heart!
After giving this invitation, God furthermore extends a promise—
“ He who overcomes, I will grant him to sit beside Me on My throne, as I Myself overcame and sat down beside My Father on His throne.”
I think I am slowly coming out of this dryness. But how long I shall be in the wilderness, I am not sure. In this time of darkness, I want to cling on more firmly to God’s promises and truths. I do not want the spirit of disbelief to reside in me any longer, but I want the holy spirit to shine upon the word and illuminate these truths to me, so that I can cleave onto God’s promises and believe with all my heart that God will see me through, and that He is faithful to help me overcome.
please... brothers and sisters if any of you are reading this, please intercede. thank you so much for sharing my burdens with me.