I haven’t had any formal meetings today, but I have had some time to start to process, record, pray and think through what I have learnt over this last week.
It’s actually been quite a hard day to be honest.
Emotionally, my toughest here yet.
You know, when you start to be burdened for specifics, and then pray about specifics, and then ask God the specifics?
And it’s tough. Intercession and hearing from God is tough and wrestling with practical reality is tough. Wonderful, beautiful, lets you know that you are a jar of clay holding the beauty of God inside… But hard sometimes. Acknowledging that you are just a jar of clay 🙂
Because some of the things that God gives me vision and heart to pray for just seem so impossible in human understanding.
I am reminded right now of that story in 2 Chronicles 20. It’s one of my favourites.
And it is the song of my heart and my prayer right now.
King Jehoshaphat is King of Judah. And Judah are about to be attacked by a vast Edomite army. The situation seems hopeless because Judah are so small in comparison. And Jehoshaphat declares a national fast in desperation, and the people come to seek the Lord.
They are desperate. For their lives desperate.
And Jehoshaphat prays this awesome prayer that just honours the name of God, and finishes it with these words: ‘We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on You.’ We have no power, but we still acknowledge You as God in this situation.
And then a guy called Jahaziel speaks a seemingly impossible word through the Holy Spirit: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s!’ He speaks a message of hope. They are to go out and have no fear, but rest on the certainty of God’s promises.
Easier said than done when there is a hundred-thousand strong army knocking at the door.
But the people feel faith rise. And in that place they worship.
And not just in that place. The next day, they send out the praise team before the army.
Now, I lead worship and play a few instruments. So I may not be an experienced military strategist, but I can tell you that musicians carrying their instruments and singing, typically do not make the best fighters to send into a battle first.
In fact, I am a self confessed wimp!
But this wasn’t a military strategy. It was a faith strategy. It was a trusting the promises of God strategy.
Because there’s power in praise.
‘Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.’
And the thing was that in this story, as the people praised, the Lord fought for them. They came upon an army destroyed by itself. And the battle was won.
And the valley that should have been the one of destruction and defeat, they renamed ‘Beracah’, which means ‘praise’ (and is the name I want to call my house in the future!), as a symbol of the way in which God fought for them.
They were obedient. They trusted Him above all circumstance.
I have been singing a Kari Jobe song in intercession over Tokyo these last two days, and it is playing right now as I type. It’s called ‘We Are’ and it causes joy and hope and faith to rise in my heart. Yep. Let me share the lyrics:
Every secret, every shame, every fear, every pain, live inside the dark, but that’s not who we are. We are children of the day.
So wake up sleeper, lift your head. We were meant for more than this. Fight the shadows, conquer death. Make the most of the time we have left.
We are the light of the world. We are the city on a hill. We are the light of the world, and we gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine.
We are called to spread the news. Tell the world the simple truth. Jesus came to save, there’s freedom in His Name, so let it all break through.
We are the light, we are the light we are light, so let our light shine brighter. Because Jesus, You are the light, You are the light You are the light, we will lift You higher.
So I am praising!
Two things have also brought huge encouragement to me today. The first was an email from one of the wonderful women I have met here thanking me for sharing, encouraging me that I was a blessing and reminding me of the Lord’s favour on my next steps. This is humbling to hear from someone that I see as a complete inspiration, but at the same time, was a great and timely encouragement to me as I prayed today.
The second was a reminder of a picture a friend had for me the day I flew to Japan. They said they didn’t know if it was right at the time, but wanted to share it, and today as I was praying about the church in Japan being the light of the world, I was reminded of this picture and felt that it was very relevant. They shared an image that my time in Japan would be like God prising open a door covered in dust, locked from the inside, that would eventually fill the room with light and reveal precious items which had been lost. And today I could see that image as I prayed, not really for me alone, but for the church here in this nation.
I would like to ask for your prayers too.
Because I have a great heart and burden for this precious country and the people here, but my direction about the specifics is cloudy right now. (That’s ok, that’s why I’m here after all!) But questions like, ‘God, when do you want me to come?’, ‘What do you want me to do?’, ‘How will my language ever get good enough?’, ‘Which part of the country would you like me to live in?’, ‘How in the world can this even happen?’, ‘Do you want me to teach English for a bit, study here or apply for a scholarship programme?’ So please pray I am sensitive to hear His voice.
The next few days I’m going to be spreading my time between some more intensive language study at a local centre, and some more time based in Shinjuku itself. Please pray that my language study is fruitful, and that some more of the grammar starts to click together for me. I know lots of vocabulary, but it’s trying to make the links in this brain of mine! Please also pay for continued opportunities to meet new people and to share the Gospel where I am.
Now, don’t worry, today wasn’t all serious. I also went for my first Japanese cinema trip! The film was in English, with Japanese subs, so I did try and do the match up in my brain. Anyway, this cinema made the Vue in Inverness look like someone’s living room!
And yes, I am a geek! (I was with a friend btw, so not THAT much of an alone-cinema-posing-geek! Hahaha!)
And, this was just too cute, and showed that I am highly susceptible to Japanese advertising!