When we see Jesus as Commander of the army of the Lord, [it is our job] to fall on our faces before Him and worship — that is, to confess the self-will, self-effort, and self-glory that have dominated us and deeply surrender to Him as our Commander, and be willing for Him to make the decisions, give the orders, and be the doer of the work... We cannot be too low at His feet if He is to cause the walls of our Jericho to fall. He will have no difficulty with those walls if He can get us to fall first. ~ Roy Hession
During my college years, I didn’t have a lot of spiritual support on my faith journey. I wandered into the ways of the world and then back toward the heart of God again. One morning in my dorm room, I repented and cried out to God. I spent time in His Word and sensed His great love for me. Joy returned to my soul. I went to class unaware of what God was about to do that day. For starters, I met a couple of classmates — identical twins. Dark hair. Bright countenances. And such sweet dispositions. I noticed they kept looking my way during class. I smiled, gave them a nod, and returned my attention to our instructor.
Right in the middle of the lecture, one of the sisters leaned over and said, “There’s something different about you. You have so much joy. Will you tell us why you have joy?”
I whispered back, “I’d love to talk with you more. Let’s meet after class.” I followed these girls to their dorm room and told them about Jesus. Their hearts were so tender and receptive that they were instantly in awe of God. One of them got up abruptly and said, “Be right back!”
Within minutes, she grabbed a few friends and dragged them back into our conversation. I introduced my new friends to Jesus, and they wholeheartedly accepted Him. Over the next few weeks we hosted more gatherings with the girls on their dorm floor. They asked questions, and I did my best to answer them. Their hunger for God activated a faith that I’d almost neglected.
One day while crammed in a van with a bunch of other college students on our way home for the weekend, I curled up with a book by Watchman Nee. I don’t recall the title, but I do remember what happened. I went from being half involved with the surrounding conversations and partially attuned to what I was reading to suddenly focusing on the words on the page. At that moment I had an encounter with God unlike anything I’d ever experienced up to that point. His Spirit drew near, and I could not hide from Him. Like a movie reel, I saw my life’s story unwind before me. I saw my life in fast motion, one deed after another, and the motivations that fueled my actions.
A consistent theme ran throughout my life. Everything I’d done — good, bad, and otherwise — was to rescue my sense of self-worth. Most of my good deeds were to prove myself. Most sinful indulgences were to escape from myself.
Though God can and did redeem every aspect of my story, all my strivings were wasted efforts.
I’d misused my time, treasure, and talents to prove something that Jesus had already done, had already won. I didn’t know any better then. But I did now. In that van I came face-to-face with the truth about my depravity and the power of God’s holy standard for me. There’d be no dabbling in this walk of faith. God was not one to be trifled with. He wasn’t messing around. I couldn’t escape Him.
I gasped. I trembled. I covered my mouth with my hands, and tears escaped my eyes.
Friends asked if I was okay, and I could only shake my head. I couldn’t speak. I dared not justify my ways. I was guilty of selfish, self-preserving efforts. Though I had reason to be painfully insecure, I learned that insecurity is just another form of selfishness. Self-preservation and Kingdom life are entirely incompatible.
To live out of a lie is to perpetuate more lies. God had drawn near. I felt no condemnation, but I was absolutely undone with conviction. To place the reel of my life up against the backdrop of God’s majesty and holiness left me breathless. I was a believer at this point, yet for some reason I was still trying to save myself. I didn’t understand the potent power of the gospel. My efforts were worthless. My God was holy. If I could have gone facedown in the van, I would have. For the next three days I barely said a word. I didn’t want to interrupt the cleansing fire of the Holy Spirit at work in me.
Looking back over the years that I’ve followed the Messiah, I can now see how intimately He’s been involved in my life.
Even during those seasons when God seemed silent and life was just a daily grind, Jesus led, interceded, guarded, and guided my way — all while I was unaware.
He put the right people in my path at just the right time. He prompted me to turn right when I would have turned left. He nudged me to make a phone call when I was headed for the ditch of despair. He introduced a new friend when I needed a fresh perspective. He played a song that inspired faith in the middle of my doubts. He put dreams in my heart and dared me to agree with Him. He gave me insight into intercession and invited me to join Him. He gave me opportunities to forgive, trust, and release my cares to Him, knowing how these processes would transform me and tether my heart to His.
Ever and always, God allows enough challenges to keep us dependent, enough goodness to keep us encouraged, and enough grace to sustain us.
Though I lived through plenty of seasons with a broken heart, wishing things were different than they were, I never lacked any of what I needed. God has always been faithful, always guided, always provided.
Life on earth is hard. But we serve an awesome God.
I don’t want to miss Him because I can’t always sense His nearness. Our lives burst with evidence that God is at work in our story. He charged the Israelites not to forget about His faithfulness.
- When we forget, we wander. When we recall and rehearse God’s faithfulness in the past, we more clearly discern His goodness in the present.
Remembering is stewardship. Recalling is wisdom. Rehearsing is nourishment for our souls.
And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.1
It’s good for our hearts to go back and recall the times when God invaded our everyday existence with tangible expressions of His love and power. Times when He allowed us a peek into the eternal realm in a way that totally shifted our perspective and deepened our assurance that God was near, God cared, and God was moving in our midst.
We are all messed up like a person compromised with impurity;
even all our right efforts are like soiled rags. We’re drying up like a leaf in autumn and are blown away by wrongdoing. — Isaiah 64:6 The Voice
Such moments in my life have left me speechless with awe and wonder. After walking with God for decades, I know this to be true: He’s more present than I can comprehend and more powerful than I ever imagined.
Spending time this morning pondering my history with God reminds me that my present bursts with His power and my future is bright with hope.
I encourage you to take a trip down memory lane as well. It’ll do wonders for your soul.
Excerpted with permission from Closer Than Your Next Breath by Susie Larson, copyright Susie Larson.
* * *
Take a walk down memory lane. How has God shown His presence in your life? How have you seen Him undoubtedly act miraculously? What has He gotten you through? What has brought you to your knees in awe? Come share with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily