Today hasn’t really gone to plan. Not in a bad way. Actually in a good way. It just wasn’t what I expected when I left my house this morning.
Because I arrived at the office early this morning to prepare a document. And because it was taking quite a lot of mental energy, I had quite a substantial amount of weetabix for my post-arrival-at-the-office-breakfast. Like you do.
And then I sat in a meeting with my team for 3 hours, and ate a donut to keep me going. Like you do.
But then (and only then) did I remember… That I was also going to Pizza Express for lunch today with some young people. Like I normally don’t do!!
And now the phrase ‘Food Overload’ comes vividly to mind. And I have to admit that I have eaten far too much to be humanly comfortable in my skinny-jeans this afternoon.
But as I was talking to one of the young people at the meal, and she was telling me enthusiastically how great her pizza had been… It hit me that she was really, really passionate about pizza. She was so excited about this food! Now, don’t get me wrong, I totally, totally, understand having a passion for pizza. I’m really quite partial to an American-Hot-with-extra-Mozerella-and-chicken-on-a-Romana-base myself. But it was something in her enthusiasm that caught me.
It made me think about the things that we’re passionate about. About the things that grab our attention, and cause us to talk about them to others in a way that also grabs their attention.
Because one encounter with anything is all it ever really takes. To become totally passionate.
And that was a challenging thought to me. Because in the weird way that my brain relates everything back to God, I couldn’t not relate hearing this young woman gushing enthusiastically about pizza… back to how I talk about my relationship with God. Back to how I worship Jesus, not just in the words I sing, but in the life I live. Back to how when I say that Holy Spirit is my best friend, that statement should cause my heart to leap-right-in-my-chest.
Because I believe that if we really encounter the love of God, it changes everything. Absolutely everything.
And that fuels my passion.
Not a fickle passion for food. A real, deep, rooted passion.
It fuels my passion to get up early to pray. It fuels my passion to stay up late and worship. It fuels my passion to talk about Jesus to everyone and anyone I meet. It fuels the core things that make me… Well, me. In the ways that God wants to make me… Well, me.
Because I know life is sometimes hard. And I know faith is sometimes hard. And I know prayer and fasting and tithing and maintaining an internal walk with God and living holy… I really, really, know that sometimes it’s hard and that often we fail.
But when you’re in love it’s a whole lot easier.
When you’re completely and totally and radically and passionately in love with God, because you’ve got a glimpse of His immeasurable love for you, it’s a whole lot easier.
Richard Foster said that ‘Worship is our response to the overtunes of love from the Father’. Wow. Think about that.
Do you believe it?
Because if it’s easier for us to get visably excited about pizza, than it is for us to speak with overflowing passion about the love of God encountering and transforming our hearts… Then I think we need to pray for a fresh revelation.
Which is actually the place I’m in right now.
Seeking God’s heart for a fresh revelation.
Knowing that when I’m in love, it’s a whole lot easier.
A few weeks ago now, both my housemates were out and as I often do when I have the house to myself, I was just sitting with my guitar and my Bible out. Just grabbing a couple of hours with God and singing the Word and singing my heart and hearing His voice. And sometimes on these evenings I just record my raw, spontaneous worship. It’s not something I do all the time, but this evening last month I did. Because just like I write down words of prophecy to remember what God has said, I also believe in writing down songs of prophecy or things that Holy Spirit is speaking to you about. (And because I only have two hands, this is easier to do after I’ve put the guitar down!)
Anyway, this was a little 10 minute section in my worship. I’ll leave the words with you as my closing prayer.
Jesus You are so faithful to me. You are so kind.
My Jesus You are faithful. You are kind.
Oh God, I need to know You. I need to know that You’re more than enough.
When I’ve lost everything else, You still remain.
And my repuation is nothing, and even if my friends fall by the wayside, and even if those I thought would love me have faded away.
I need to know, I need to know You, I need to hear You, I need to see You, because You are all I have.
But You’re still faithful. You’re still kind.
Oh my Jesus, You are still so faithful to me. You are still so kind.
Jesus, only You can call me, only You can heal me, only You can lift me, only You can raise me.
Jesus I need Your light tonight.
But if You can raise Isaac, You can raise me.
If You can raise Lazarus, You can raise me.
If You can raise Jesus, You can raise me up. I still believe it.
That if You can raise Isaac, You can raise me.
If You can raise Lazarus, You can raise me.
If You can raise Jesus, You can raise me up.
Because what seems dead, doesn’t look dead to You, and You see life flowing in Your truth.
And what looks hopeless, isn’t hopless to You.
When I see cracked foundations, You see a temple of sardius stone.
When I see broken dreams, You see hope.
And I see the weight of my failures, and You see the lightness that Your grace brings.
I see my sorrow, but You see me rejoicing again.
Because I meant to please You, I tried so hard. I meant to love them, I tried so hard. I poured everything I was, and everything I had out.
Now I see myself empty, I see myself broken, I see myself poured out again and again.
But You say, ‘My daughter, take strength my daughter. Because I’ll never, ever, ever let you fall to that place again’.
You see a lesson in the brokenness.
You see that I’m leaning in the wilderness.
You see the sorrow in my heart because of my sin.
You see me in that place again.
Crying out to You and calling You my friend.
Oh Jesus, You are the One who restores me.
Because I deserve nothing, I deserve hell. I deserve nothing, but You’ve given me mercy.
I deserve nothing, I deserve hell, but You’ve given me grace.
You drank a cup of wrath with my name on it, You drank a cup of wrath with my name on it, You drank a cup of wrath with my name on it, and I’ll never be the same.
And I look at my sin it seems so huge, but You say that Your grace is big enough to carry me through.
And I look at my heart, it’s falling apart, and I see only brokenness there in the deepest part.
But You look at my heart that’s falling apart and You say it’s holy. You say it’s whole and it’s holy.
You say, ‘Trust there’s a lesson in the wilderness. Trust that you’re learning to lean in the wilderness. Trust that you’re learning how to be refined in me. Trust that you’re learning how to find your strength in me. Trust that it’s not about what anyone else sees. Trust that it’s about what’s between you and Me.’
I’ll still praise You when everything is taken.
I’ll keep running to You.