UPDATE (Yes, this whole post needed a whopping revision. My bad. I was running late for work and just hit publish):
As you know, the Spirit is reminding me of his ways. I have so far to go. There is so much I don’t know.
Lately all the Spirit is really saying to me is, Hey, I exist! And my response has been, Oh my gosh, you do! as joyful tears well up in my eyes. His response is, you haven’t seen anything yet. Come and wait, come and listen. And then I think, How much listening are we talking here? I’ve got blog posts to write, a test to study for, friends to hang out with, another friend to talk to on the phone, work to go to, meals to eat…
This is sad. No matter how aware of his presence I am, I am still going to miss out on the full depth of intimacy with my God!
As I was falling asleep last night, this image came to my mind. It was me, on the floor, face down, pressing my fist into the hardwood floor, as I begged for him to move, in me, through me, out of me. It felt like such a natural image to have. That’s how I like to think of myself, an exasperated visionary full of the passion he feels for his people. Sometimes I have that feeling, sometimes I don’t. Most of the time, that is not the posture of my heart. Every now and then, though, it comes with the force of a tidal wave and forces me prostrate. That’s what I want all the time, but it is exhausting to stay in that place. Am I ready? Well, ready or not, I am asking.
I’ve been thinking about some song lyrics by Shane and Shane. Ask and I’ll give the nations to you. Oh, Lord, that’s the cry of my heart.
There was this story that used to drive me forward as I prayed for his life to dwell in my school, taking root in new hearts. It was a story of a man (in Switzerland? I really can’t remember any details, just the image it left with me.) who went up to the top of a hill overlooking his city and he said to the Lord, Give me this nation or I die! I know the story ended with revival. I don’t remember any specifics (there were some). I think I only remembered the man asking for his country because that’s the part I’m responsible for. I am responsible for throwing myself down before God and man, and asking for him to come claim his people.
The language, give them to me, sounds strange, but Jesus uses that language in John 17: I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me , and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world , and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself,that they also may be sanctified in truth.
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.
It was all too good. I couldn’t pick just a few verses. Jesus asked for people. He asked for the people God would give to us. Let us ask for a people through which the Spirit of God will ripple. Lord, first give us your church that it might be fully yours once more. Make it an irresistible force, sweeping up souls in its powerful current.
Thank you, Spirit, for reminding me to dream big dreams for the kingdom.
I am not having an eloquent day (bummer), but I feel like this point is important. So here it goes again: Dream big. Desire above all that the Kingdom to be made manifest on earth as the Lord claims people for himself. Ask for it to be on earth as it is in heaven.