When Father wants to adjust something in my thinking I find he usually speaks to me from different viewpoints, people and perspectives and then in Perfect Storm fashion he brings it all together.
This happened the other day and I find myself more at peace with my charismatic roots and those out there who are still in the middle of all the action. Some of you had a part in it.
First there was Heather. She wrote the following paragraph:
I’ve decided. I’m going to the next level in God. I’m going to be empowered by an incredible, enthusiastic, visionary leader and take this city for Christ. I’m going to be a vibrant, passionate, charismatic believer who takes excellence seriously. I’m joining a vibrant, contemporary, growing church with a powerful message that impacts the world and has a vision statement that involves loving life, loving people and loving God. I’m getting connected to a small group that will move me into that next level and take me into the unknown, teaching me to drink that living water and walk by faith. I have a vision for this nation, I’m going to see revival sweep across this land.
And….Unfortunately, after all those years of proclamations, nothing changed. I didn’t change. I got whipped up into a frenzy, but I certainly didn’t impact anybody around me. I most definitely didn’t get to any “next level”. I really wonder what the “next level” is anyway.
Then Jeff, picking up on the same theme writes about how he is feeling about statements like these and also the happenings in Lakeland, FLa. He talks about how he knows so much of it is really God but how he is still so offended by all the hype and religiosity.
Others have commented on this subject the past week and I can so empathize with where they are at. I’m there too. I don’t want to go back to it. It still sickens me to some extent.
BUT.....I have seen too much. I know that God is there and some (maybe most) of the testimonies of healing are real. I have seen a man’s arm which was broken one minute and totally healed the next (complete with a doctor’s verification and x-rays) by my daughters prayer of faith. He actually looked like he was shoved backwards when she went to reach out to touch him – and she never laid a finger on him. I have seen God work in these kinds of meetings.
So what do I do with all of this? I almost stopped reading the blogs for a while this week because this bothered me so much. I didn’t want anyone else bringing up another subject until I came to peace on this one. How was I going to treat healing meetings, charismatic conferences and such? I’m not comfortable despising them in my heart when I know that Father still shows up and does miraculous things.
Then I found an answer. It came in two ways.
His question to the audience was how in the heck did Paul get to the place where he could say, ‘But what does it matter?” This was PAUL. The guy who confronted people. Who challenged doctrine. Who got in Peter’s face. How could he say that he was ok with people preaching whose motives were false or that were doing it out of selfish ambition?
Kent goes on to explain Paul’s view of how very big God was. How he was sure that He was in control. How Paul understood that even with his revelation that was given him, it was still a mystery to him. No one knew everything there was to know. Paul did not even know it in full. So to Paul, he just wanted the message to get out and people to be touched. God was big enough to sort it all out.
The second voice was Molly from Adventures in Mercy. She is talking about how to deal with others who are still in the camp she left. She says,
And while it really bothers me that I’m like that, usually I don’t even realize I am. It’s only in retrospect, during the hours when sleep won’t come and I replay events in my mind, realizing just how grace-less I was in my interactions. My friends and acquaintances who continue to hold my former beliefs: do they have the right to continue to hold things dear that I now reject? Do I treat them with grace and honor despite our (now) differences, or do I make them endure the thing I so hate? “Ahem. Perform properly so that I can love you.”
I need to chill out. I need to be glad that people are being touched by God in a “revival” in Florida. I’m not happy with the excesses or the fact that I would be more comfortable if it spilled out to the streets and was not caught up in just a few personalities. I’m not happy when I sense that the people up front are not aware that their sweeping statements might actually hurt some. I’m not happy that it is not clean and neat and no one comes away wounded. But I am happy for the little girl that got healed. I’m grateful to my Father for touching her that night. I need to find room in my heart that can embrace what people are doing to touch those around them. I need to give them the room I would wish that they would give me.
And so today, like Paul I will say, “But what does it matter.” I can continue to speak out on doctrine and abusive practices that contradict the heart of the Father and are most likely to hurt people that live under them. What I can’t do is paint myself into a corner where I only can hear from or relate kindly to those who think just like me. If I do, I have learned nothing and there has been no change in me from what I was last year.
Best Friend’s advice to me is almost always the same. She says, “It will all come out in the wash.” I just need to remember to use the powder marked as Grace and it really will all be ok.