I had the priceless joy of spending time with one of my favorite friends this afternoon, Michael. We always have the most amazing conversations about God, life, our humanity… you name it. There is NEVER a moment when I walk away from our time together without feeling full and refreshed, and I always hope he feels the same.
Spending time with him is like walking into a dark room and switching the light on. Or better yet, standing in the middle of a pitch black forest, striking a match, and starting a fire. He is definitely the match striker, the one who sparks the flame, but as we continue to talk and our conversation gets rolling, insights like sticks of kindling start flying forth from my mind and feeding the flame. Before you know it, we have ignited a blazing forest fire.
Today, we were discussing the various dark places we have recently been walking through. He has been battling a significant health issue, and my mind has been acting as a relentless foe for days. Michael wants to run away like Jonah did from Nineveh, but just like Jonah, God sees all the “YES” that is in Michael’s heart and is using him despite himself. Michael has so much “YES” in there, I don’t think he would even make it past the toy boat section in a kid’s store (yet alone charter a real one to sail away in) without turning aside to encourage someone on the way.
And me… as much as my mind wants to stay preoccupied with its own turmoil and woes, I am continually reminded of Isaiah 58. When God’s people were whining, complaining, and accusing God of not answering their cries EVEN THOUGH THEY HAD FASTED, God encourages them to really look at their hearts and challenges them to a true fast. This fast would include setting the oppressed free, not putting unnecessary burdens on others, not hiding from family members in need, sharing their bread with the hungry, clothing the naked, not gossiping or accusing others of evil… This sort of fast had a promise that came with it, “Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am’.” Isaiah 58:8-9; “Then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday. And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” 58:10-11
We think in stark contrast to this. We think, “Once I get a handle on this situation, then I can help others.” Or, “What about me?! I am literally falling to pieces, how can I possibly be anything to anybody right now?”. But it is precisely in this place of brokenness that we can reach out and be the light to someone else and see our own healing manifest as well. The darkness is the very threshold for light to go out and light to come in.
How do you plan to spark a fire this weekend? How can I light a match and help you get started? Think of this as a safe place to be authentic, raw, real and loved exactly where you are at. Please feel free to share your heart below ❤