Today I’m writing from snowy Texas, where a historic storm has left many people housebound. Thankfully, I have electricity and am surrounded by good friends, but it’s just another reminder of the unexpected challenges that have met so many people in the last year or so.
With the closing or minimizing of church attendance and various restrictions, it’s easy to wonder what’s ahead for the Body of Christ in the western world. Many people have talked about a “shift” taking place in the church and ponder what could unfold in the future. Unfortunately, transitions are not always the easiest things in life! We’d love for new things to happen seamlessly, but often transitions push us to grow in new ways, until we find ourselves stronger on the other side. The church is not exempt from this process!
Even in the early church, the disciples had a hard time keeping up with God’s program and the “shift” that was happening. They thought they knew how things would turn out, but Jesus had another idea… a much better one. After Christ’s resurrection, the disciples asked him:
“Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
The disciples were still hoping for a political move to fix their problems, yet Jesus said that wasn’t his plan for this season. However, he kept speaking to reveal what he DID plan on doing.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
I love that simple word “But...”
It seems to me that Jesus is saying, Sorry guys, your idea isn’t going to work just now. BUT, I’ll tell you what will happen! His plan included the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost and the birth of the church, which was far bigger than any earthly kingdom could ever be. While Christ didn’t answer their prayers in their way, he was working on something much better.
In the midst of all the struggles in our world today, I find myself asking the same question as the disciples: Lord, are you going to fix this? Isn’t it about time? Sometimes I’m stilled by his sovereign hand when things don’t go the way I always want them to. Yet, there’s always something better going on.
God is always moving. Planning. Dreaming with purpose. He’s never late. When he redirects… shifts our thinking… or even says “your prayer won’t be granted that way,” we can do what the disciples did: we keep listening for the BUT. It’s the BUT that changes history. Shifts nations. Releases his plans and purposes that bring forth good fruit. Even in the redirected moments, we can find him, as long as we keep listening.
I encourage you to keep listening to Christ. In this season of frustration for so many, remember that God is still on the move. Look to him and keep praying, knowing that he has never stopped moving. He’s not about to stop now.
This week I'll share a photo with you called "Mantle." The warrior has come through a battle... there's dirt on the face and armor. Yet, on the other side of the battle, the gift is given: an irreplaceable mantle from the Father. Let's keep trusting the Lord and pressing through this season! There's goodness and glory on the other side.
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