Saturday, January 18, 2014

It's Your Breakthrough, Not Your Breaking Point

I am always so moved to pray for people.  It is challenging and daunting work, trying to figure out what to say to the God of the Universe on behalf of someone.  You have to go with the flow, responding to what the Spirit is leading you to say.  But lately I've started to feel a certain tendency in the Body of Christ to tone it down.  Like we can't be too real with God because we don't want to be disappointed.

I've written about that issue a lot because I know what it is like to be disappointed with God.  We don't pray bold-enough prayers, or pursue our calling in Him because we don't want to be embarrassed when He doesn't show.  The issue is not God's, it is ours.  We don't receive because we don't ask - and we certainly don't wait.  It crystallized in my mind yesterday during an (unusually) short conversation with my closest friend.

We ask or beg or plead when we should be expecting.

Prayer is the lifeblood of our Christian walk because it keeps us connected to our power source: the Father and the Son in the medium of the Holy Spirit.  When I examine my prayers that seemed to go unanswered, it isn't due to a lack of faith or conviction.  It is true I don't wait long enough.  Still, when my prayers don't feel powerful, I am not just embarrassed or I don't want to look weird.

Those un-powerful prayers need perspective.

That's what we don't have when faced with a tough situation.  We sit down to expose our hearts on the altar of prayer, and we can't see a way to get up.  Long dark nights of the soul are scary, with no answers available.  So, we plead, beg and repeat.

Deep down, I mean waaaaaay-deep down, we are convinced God is good, but this situation is not.  We are pretty sure it will last forever.  This might always be the way it is because we can't see above the trees.

I wish more people would admit that.  I wish we would just get real, less polite even, instead of tossing up our prayer requests and crossing our fingers.  I think if we were brutally honest, we would give the Lord a lot more room to work.  Instead, we hold it in, dying inside when we are meant for life.

It does not always have to be this way.

God does not have our low-to-the-ground view.  He is so far above us.  He can see the situation for what it is and how long it will last.  He also knows how it feels to those of us down below.  I think He wants us, in those midnight-dark situations, to be like Job.  Job, despite the massive grief, trial and suffering he went through, never once cursed God.  He never once gave up on the inside but crossed his fingers on the outside.  He never lost hope or stopped believing in miracles.  When he said these words, he was on the brink of an explosion of blessing: 

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.

Job perhaps had an inkling there would be a day when his situation would be over and he would be face to face with God.  And the way he says it, I don't think he meant in the afterlife.  Job fully expected God to show up in his circumstances, in this life. 

Why don't we?

When we reach the end of our tether, when hope seems beyond possible, when the bad news keeps coming, I want you to stop thinking you have reached your breaking point.  That's not what it is.  That's a lie the enemy cooked up so long ago and we keep falling into it.  It's a hole we keep letting ourselves fall into.  When we say we are at a breaking point, it means we believe we are victims. 

People of God, we are anything but victims.

In her popular song "Overcomer," Mandisa makes that very clear.  She got the idea from the Apostle Paul, who had every reason to give up in the dark.  He was in it so many times, between the jail-time, the five floggings; the three beatings; the stoning; the three shipwrecks and the night and day on the open sea; not to mention the rest of the list of his trials in 2 Corinthians 11:23-29.  Still, he isn't complaining.


Paul practiced the art of breakthrough.  He didn't look at the dark, he looked for the light in the cracks. Like Paul, as followers of Jesus, we are supposed to be on the lookout for how the Lord and He will deliver us.  We aren't supposed to be focused on how broken we feel.  That passed from us when we took in the Cross. 
Photo Courtesy: James Nizam

We are supposed to be looking for the cracks because those are the chinks in the armor of the enemy. Those cracks let in the light that will eventually break through and come pouring in.  We are to embrace our reality, which is: it will not always be this way.

In those moments where you feel pushed to breaking, remember it isn't you who is breaking.  It is the enemy.  He cannot sustain his onslaught of your life forever, he is soft and will give up when you hold on.  When it gets too hard, here is a lifeline, from Psalm 57:2, to grab onto: 

I will cry to God Most High, Who performs on my behalf and rewards me [Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them]! (AMP)

Your situation is just about to break wide-open, so trust the Holy Spirit to bring it about.  Depend on Him, cry out to Him, be desperate for Him and then there will be relief.  Run hard to Jesus, pursue His love and you will never be without the light.  Even in the dark, you will still see it and you will know your break though is on its way.

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