Joy Regardless: How I have found Joy regardless of the struggles I have been through.
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Word from the Holy Spirit
We had a really great Sunday School class today. We were doing the Bible Study to Ann Voskamp's ONE THOUSAND GIFTS. We're still on the first lesson; it's just taking us a while to get through everything.
The question reads: "Read: John 11:38-44. Ann talks about thanksgiving raising the dead. What are some connections between thanksgiving and new life being unleashed in the dark and dead places of life?"
I've shared with my ladies this before, but I was telling them, again, about the deep, dark, scary, lonely cave I've been in over the past several years--a tomb-like cave (just as the tomb Lazarus was in). Over the years, as I have studied JOY and begun to express gratitude and thankfulness for the things that bring me JOY and for the things I see around me that God has done and is doing for me, I have begun to move out of the darkest recesses of my cave towards the light. Recently, I have felt as if I have been in the opening of my cave, but--as I told my counselor once, I expect that I will always have to be in or near my cave--either at the entrance or at least close enough to see it simply because of how deep my pain, hurt, and rage go.
Today, as I was sharing this, my beloved friend put down her pen and turned to me. I saw it all as if it was happening in slow motion. It wasn't until afterwards that we both realized it was a word from the Holy Spirit. With tears streaming down her cheeks, she told me that God was going to take me COMPLETELY out of my cave and He was going to roll the stone over it so that I never have to enter it again. God is going to change me such as I never expected. He is going to fill me with His Holy Spirit as He completely heals me and brings me out of my cave--forever. God is going to use me as an encourager. I will be in the Light--in His light. God has plans for me--to use what I have been through for His glory.
Just as Christ raised Lazarus from the dead and brought him out of that dark, scary tomb, God is raising ME from the dead and bringing ME out of the tomb of death I've been in for several years--for far too long.
This wasn't part of the prophecy/Word from the Holy Spirt at the time, but as I have continued to study, read, and pray over this Word throughout the day, I also feel the Holy Spirit telling me that just as Christ wept over the death of Lazarus because He loved Lazarus, Christ has wept (weeps) over my spiritual death. He loves me THAT MUCH. And just as He raised Lazarus from the dead, He is raising ME from my [spiritual] death.
I still can't get over the power of that word. The more I think about it, the more I write about it, the more I find myself in complete awe that He used my sweet friend to give this word to ME. He loves me so much that He used His loved one to tell me exactly what I needed, desperately, to hear.
I will never again look at the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead in the same way I have in the past!!!!
Thank You, Lord, for Your Word for me today. I receive it. I accept it. I claim it. I will not fight You as You lead me out of my cave--my tomb--into Your Light and close the door of my cave--my tomb--behind me.
Remind me. Bring this Word to my remembrance often. Thank You, Lord!
John 11:35-36 & 38-44New Living Translation (NLT)
35 Then Jesus wept.36 The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!”
38 Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance.39 “Roll the stone aside," Jesus told them.
But Martha, the dead man's sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible."
40 Jesus responded, “Didn't I tell you that you would see God's glory if you believe?"41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me.42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me."43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!"44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!"