It was a good week.
But where to begin?
How often have I sat in my chair at night, praying to my King, asking for His touch, not realizing He is already right there… inside me… longing with great passion, for me to simply reach out and grab hold of Him? Like the prodigal child, often my mindset is to beg, rather than meditate on what I already have as His son. During the course of my walk I have found that though we drown the old man in the baptism of Christ, the carnal mind can hold its breath a very long time. So I must decide to die to it…just as the Word says. (Rom 6:6)
“My beloved put in his hand by the latch of the door, and my heart was thrilled for him.” (Song Sol 5:4)
A certain woman in scripture was slowly bleeding herself to sheol. For well over a decade, she endured the steadfast grip of death slowly ringing the life, vigor and vitality from her body as she grew more and more frail under her unknown malady. We all know this person. She is commonly referred to as “ the woman with the issue of blood.” So often I have thought on that lady and how I am, regrettably so, frequently not like her, but rather like all the others that were touching Jesus at the same time.
Everyone there was touching our Lord’s clothes.. but only she was touching His heart.
Please understand what I am saying. The word states that without faith (belief) it is impossible to please the Father (Heb 11:6). This is a relational, not a positional statement. Positionally, we are already and always fully pleasing to Him (Col 1:21-22.) Pleasing Him by faith is a relational statement. We are in a relationship with our Lord. There are things that bring Him incredible pleasure and joy. Accepting He is a good Father, and daring to believe He loves us so much that just touching His clothes will unleash that boundless love in the form of life and healing blesses God. It touches His heart. It really does.
Whenever we are in agreement with His Word, we are posturing ourselves to fellowship with Him. We fellowship in spirit and in truth. Without being in agreement with His truth on a matter.. there is no fellowship in that area of our lives. (John 4:24)
You see, He is the one who is touching our hearts. Moment by moment, He speaks to us about His love for His beloved, if only we would stop and listen. How often I have said to Him, “Lord, would ya just stop telling me how much you miss my company for a minute… I am trying to ask you if you love me!”
Too many of us just don’t realize that when we begin to accept how much He loves us, that we begin to feel His love, His thoughts and His passions. This is His heart.
And thus begins my story…
This past November, I was walking the retail store that I am manager of. Something was truly vexing me and I desperately wanted to know His mind on the matter.
“Just sit with me, David.” was what I heard stirring deep in my spirit, over and over and over.
It was all rather frustrating. How could the Lord not possibly understand I was trying to listen for His voice? So how the heck can I hear His voice with Him speaking to me so loudly? As the morning passed however, my self-centered drive was slowly replaced with His peace as I reluctantly made the transition to put my agenda aside to listening to His leading. In doing so, little by little I began to realize I was becoming more and more aware of the people around me and less cognizant of myself.
And then it happened…Suddenly, as I stood there on the sales floor watching the interaction of everything around me…
I saw… Him.
I saw the Lord in every person I gazed at. I saw each person as unique, wonderful, special, cherished and one of a kind. Every feature on each face was beyond beautiful. All I could feel was love for everyone of God’s children. Not only that, but I could feel the love of the Creator emanating through every person simply by the nature of their very existence. Before me was a room filled with priceless artifacts, hand sculpted before the foundations of the world were ever formed…and I could feel the Artist’s touch and view His personal signature on each masterpiece. Like a snowflake, no two were the same.
I had an intense, almost untenable desire to connect with everyone I saw in some unique personal way. To let them know how valuable, loved and wonderful each of them were to me… and to their Dad. A customer I had never met walked past me and I tried to choke out a hello but could not muster the words. I simply wanted to hug him. I had felt this before to varying degrees but never on this level. I was simply touching the Father’s heart. Once I let go my agenda, my drive, my fears, His Sabbath rest was upon me.. . which is always available to His children. I had simply allowed myself to enter into it. Once again, I was incredulous with myself as to why I resisted Him for so long… and why I continually do so.
Silently, I asked God to hide me away.. make me disappear from sight so that I could just bask in His love and heart in the midst of His creation, and for the first time I had merely an inkling of what God meant when He said the whole earth is filled with His glory. (Isaiah 6:3) I began to think on the words where Jesus said He did only what He saw His Father doing and I began to thank God for forgiving me of my worthless self-righteous endeavors and Holy Roman Crusades that were birthed out of many things.. just none of them from His heart.
And then I saw a man.
Pain was etched on his face as he was heading toward the door and I could tell by his gait he was managing tremendous discomfort. I stopped him at the door, asking what was bothering him. He told me he was going in for his third back surgery and that even with the invasive procedure the doctor’s had little hope for him. His lower spine was in ribbons and though he was only in his 40s, he would be forced out of his construction livelihood and into a very fearful early retirement. I offered to take the box he had just purchased out to his car and walked him out. At his vehicle, I quietly asked if he would be offended if I prayed for him.
It was not that I felt I “should” pray for him, or that, as I myself have so often said and heard, “I knew I was supposed to…” It was that I loved him. Love compelled me to bless him. Nothing more and nothing less. Love in the form of seeing how special a creation of the Lord this man was, and love expressed in the form of rage that one of My Father’s children was in pain.
I simply placed my hand on his shoulder, choked back some tears and softly spoke Life into his body. I commanded in the name of Jesus that the pain would cease and never return. I then hugged him and told him to keep in touch. That was just before Christmas.
This past week he walked into the store with a box of cookies. Walking right up to me he said,
“David, since my twin brother died 14 years ago I never believed in God. But I felt something in my body when you prayed for me. I have no pain in my back for the first time in years and I know it was not the surgery. You made me believe there is a God again. I came back here to tell you. Thank you.”
Then he handed me the cookies, gave me a hug, smiled, and walked out.
The power of the gospel is a kaleidoscope of gifts within the body of Christ, meant to be expressed in many forms, with each form applied uniquely as needed. But all forms are meant to express one thing:
The Father’s Heart.
The ability to convey the heart of the Lord toward His child, is what changes the person. It is what transforms others and sets the captives free. Jesus came to restore us to Himself, and to give us the power to do that for the world.
“Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’ ” (John 21:17-)
Two millennia ago, on the eve of Christ’s birth, the host of heaven exhorted man to not be afraid. Now, as each day marks the return of the King drawing nearer, I also rally you with the same words.
The world needs to be fed. We do not need the world. It needs Him. The strength and splendor of the lost realm of this broken world is smoke and mirrors. The bravado of those who profess to need no Redeemer belies the fear and impotence that results from being estranged from the Life of our Creator. Earth is the footstool of our Father’s throne. The coals of His righteousness have been branded into our being. The Holy of Holies is within us to bring forth His light to the lost. They need the goodness of His love to be released to them in power.
Please… dare to see what happens if we would allow the kingdom to break through our apologetics and mental ascent. Dare to cultivate relationship and not religion. Like the mighty men of old, be bold enough to jump into a pit on a snowy day to destroy a roaring lion.
Dare to touch the heart of the Father… and in doing so…
Feed His sheep.