Did you ever think about the season you are in? Not just whether it’s a fall, spring, summer or winter, but the spiritual season – maybe a thought that keeps arising in conversation or passages of Scipture, sermons and more that just keep yelling at you! I can remember passages of Scripture throughout many seasons of life that have become a temporary mantra.
- In ’00 the Psalms oozed from me, Psalm 6 & 13 in the beginning and then late ’00 it was Psalm 30 in particular.
- ’01 brings to mind Psalms on guilty emotionally and guilt actually.
- The Great Commission grabbed a hold of me for quite a few seasons (’97, ’99, ’02) – it’s crazy
I can even remember all this.
- 2005, much like ’95 and ’98, was about “grace.” My “Paul” told me the only way I was passing Seminary was grace; our first girl wound up with the Greek word for grace becoming her middle name.
- 2006 after beginning to work at a very conservative institution, the Newsboys “Free” (to Dance), and 2 Corinthians 3:17 (where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom) oozed out of my heart and feet (even though my contract said I couldn’t dance.
- Late ’06-’07 Jehovah Jireh screamed in my mind as God continued to provide for our family in undeserving ways.
- ’08 changed my ministry like never before, with the engagement of parents and realizing the need for them not just to be the teacher at home, but spiritual leader. The Shema oozed out of me, so much it even found itself inscribed on the front porch we poured.
- In ’09 it was 2 Timothy 1:7 during the second half of the year (a Spirit of love, power and self-control instead of fear), followed by late ’10 and early ’11 1 Timothy 6:5 (godliness with contentment).
- Late ’11 and early ’12 brought back the rich early 2000 year when hope became probably the most important, meaningful word.
Faith, Hope and Love: Love and Hope and Faith
For quite some time I’ve needed to try and love myself like Jesus loves me. It’s tough. But when I hear others needing to do the same, it breaks my heart that they just can’t. It’s so hard to do when you don’t know how to. I feel so unworthy, undeserving, sinful, guilty, messed up, and more. Letting Jesus love me and trying to love myself like He does so often seems impossible.
I remember Tony Campolo sat with a group of about 40 of us in the summer of ’99 and said that each day he got up at 4 or 5 in the morning and sat in a chair just allowing God to love on him. At the time I thought it really cool (and admirable that he could stay awake), yet I recall that today still amazed and unsure about the concept.
Hope remains, along with faith and love, as 1 Corinthians 13 says. Clearly love is the greatest, but the fact that hope remains is so powerful. When you’ve lived without hope, when at the end of the rope, and you taste just a bit of hope, it is beyond words. I prear just thinking about it. I’m convinced God gives hope – especially having had those epiphany-click-type moments more often than I can recall. It’s surreal, humbling, exhausting, a moment of marvel, and really quite indescribable.
2012 began with very little in the bank, bills not being paid, major depression and anger, plugging away attempting to get a job, and a really rough season. Hope truly carried me through and even allowed me to love better. The phrase that continues to come from my lips is: “I got out.” I didn’t know it could be possible. When you are stuck and see no way out unless dramatic change needs to occur – both for you and others – many unhealthy thoughts become temptations that do everything they can to get you to dwell on them. It’s brutal.
After sipping moments of hope and joy with others with whom I had a chance to minister, I sensed God’s overwhelming love. The bills still weren’t paid, but I had the third of the trifecta: faith. Is faith something you can choose to have? I don’t know why I kept telling my wife after getting foreclosure notices not to worry – I mean, we had every reason to. Many up and down moments came with the thought that a particular job would be the provision we’d need. A few I was very disappointed with – so much that I didn’t apply for other jobs with organizations that turned me down.
And then the other seasonal word touched down. I knew God was in control and I just wasn’t worried. Bummed at times but not anxious like I used to be. God’s control, wisdom, plan and hand directing our lives caused more gazing at God. The best word to capture the encompassing worship was: Sovereign. God’s power, wisdom, might, tapestry and guiding hand is still such that it’s almost too much to handle – certainly speechless-leaving. From one job I didn’t get to another I didn’t want to a position that’s better fit than I knew was out there. Humbling doesn’t do a justice.
God’s birds-eye view became a subject of worship and gratitude like never before. I caused academic/traditional/theological/Scriptural pursuit of Armeniasm, Reformed thought and all in between. My witness of His movement in our world these last years is too much to think that God didn’t plan, weave and cause to bring us to this point – through the junk, upsetting many apple carts, and a shalom that only the Creator, Sustainer, Sovereign God could provide.
So my seasonal reflection: the love and sovereignty of God. Seeing His hand work in circumstances, my internal feelings and relationships only brings me to joyful, difficult tears. He is in control. Loving control. Going through the junk, while as sovereign as the good times, feels unloving. Yet all God’s greatness in planning, weaving and just being God is loving no matter what. Many think that because God is so at a distance that He is sovereign but not loving. And others who think of His love rarely consider His power and might – it’s more like a pillow pet God. If God were a pillow pet, he’d be a Rock.
I will continue to find seasonal Truths that point me to the savior and cause me to worship God no matter what happens. I am grateful for the season I am in, and though there’s a storm coming in our family, I’m healing to the point where I’ll be able to be the rock by the Rock’s grace.
 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,  to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,  which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,  who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
(1 Timothy 6:13-16 ESV)