In the last couple of installments, I have mentioned a few different prayers that I had prayed. On October 26, 2011 I wrote the following in my journal:
I prayed again, either Monday or Tuesday, asking God to fill me with his spirit because I am tired of feeling empty. The material, irrespective of quality, simply does not fulfill, it does not sustain, and it grinds me down.
I asked God not to take his spirit from me [as] he did with King Saul…. But I did pray asking for his spirit to make me whole, to fulfill me, but also to know that I am doing things that matter, and asking for his spirit [in order for me] to have the energy and the power to accomplish things for his will.
That prayer simply does not surprise me, when I consider my journal entry that followed:
I have felt really low the last couple [of] days, feeling unworthy and that I am nothing, and [am] unable to do the work of God. Really struggling to know who I am and what I am to do. [Failure] dwells in the soul and eats at you until you give in, then you die within yourself. Feeling unacceptable and worthless, truly the fruits of the adversary and his falsehood, the bitterness of partaking of darkness and/or uncleanness, because it does not, by its very nature, align with God’s will. El Shaddai [God Almighty] is the provider, but the adversary pretends and portends playing the role of a hypocrite to trick the sorrowed soul into his trap. Only by the grace of theon/el/God can one overcome the emptiness.
Those were some dark days. I should not have been surprised, because the words given to me through others spoke of turmoil. But I was surprised. I was overcome and washed over by the severity and complexity of it all.
Things were improving, but not nearly as quickly as I hoped or expected or desired. For many months, I felt imprisoned in darkness. Emotional turmoil seemed go on unending, teasing me with its departure to simply return again, like experiencing a horribly designed amusement theme park ride.
I am thinking it was not until January of this year (2016), that I truly felt like I turned the corner. I was learning who I was, am, and will become. I was concerned about what I was experiencing, trying to understand it, trying to do my dead level best to draw near to God and verify all things. I felt overwhelmed and exhausted, largely ignored, and spiritually and relationally unsupported. Experienced together, it makes for a weary soul.
Yet, while all that rolled around in my being, I was trying to take notice of what was happening. I wrote the following in my journal:
I have been really thinking about [Mary’s] dream and this [upcoming] date [of November 11, 2011] in respects to getting our passports.
In that entry, I spent time doing some date calculations, and finished the entry saying:
September 30 was the celebration of the Jewish New Year. That night I prayed for the Messiah’s portion, and to prepare me. I am now pondering what God is going to put in me November 11. This does give me hope. Feel like I really need to share this with Mary.
When I wrote that entry, I did not know what would happen, but November 11, 2011 turned out to be a momentous day.
I continued journaling, recording my thoughts, which included me asking Mary and others to pray for me regarding my employment situation, asking them to pray specifically about me “getting new full time work and being enough to cover our bills” and that to pray specifically that “I will love as the Messiah.”
The pressure of making sure the bills were paid was a continual burden, to a degree, it still is. I foreshadow, but at the time, I did not know that in March 2014 I would step away from fulltime employment to help my family. I hope to speak of this in greater detail.
Interestingly, I again recorded that I “prayed for God to fill me with his spirit.” Some will say that prayers should not be uttered so frequently, but when you feel empty and void, one reaches out, and in that reaching out, one expects to find the answer. However, my experience has revealed that God answered my prayers in ways that were unexpected, and in ways that challenged not only me but those around me.
I made entries about those for whom I was praying. I would ask them how I could specifically pray for them. They would inform me. I would include their information in my prayers. Interestingly, I incorporated that into my life because a brother had done that very thing for me for several weeks.
During that time, one of my requests was for that brother to pray for God to make it distinctly clear to me if I was to be a fulltime minister, whether as pulpit minister, or as an itinerant preacher, or as something else. Sometimes, what one wants is so powerful that one misses the distinctiveness of what God gives. That is why it took several years for me to understand God’s distinct answer. The manner in which I understood “ministry” is not how God is leading me. But God is leading me into a “ministry” based upon Philemon, Romans and ministering unto others in a way different than what a typical western church does.
I want to share another dream that I had. I recorded the following in my journal on October 30, 2011:
After [the Messianic Jewish Synagogue’s] Friday night [service] we went home. Sometime around 3am Mary woke me by saying, “Did you hear that?!” At that moment, I realized that I had been dreaming, and I wonder if I would have even remembered the dream had Mary not spoken.
…[a] transformer exploded when a squirrel messed with it, but that is not what makes me write this, it is because the explosion happened at a precise moment in my dream.
I simply do not know how I arrived there or why, but when Mary woke me, I realized that in my dream I had the point of view (pov) of a camera. It felt as if I was there, but seeing things from a camera’s pov.
The pov was backing out a hallway were [the camera] saw women’s legs (how I knew they were women I don’t know, but knowing was in a pure [way] not impure). What [the camera notices] is that their shoes are orange. [The camera] continued to back out through the hallway door, and I knew that they were going to throw down (…later I thought that maybe they [had] stamped their feet) their shoes.
As [the camera] continued to draw back away from the doors, I can see the prison/penitentiary but I don’t recall there being a fence, and as I write this I think the sky was blue and grass green, with the building being some type of gray.
But when [the camera] was many yards away from the prison, I heard what I knew [was the women] throwing down their orange shoes, and that is when the explosion of the transformer happened.
It is no coincidence that the explosion happened at the exact same time the shoes did their thing. I just am not sure what that was. [The camera’s] pov in the dream was exterior to the prison, I felt like [the women] were going to throw down their shoes, but as I was talking with Mary it occurred to me that [the women] might have stomped [their feet]. If so, that makes the dream different.
To this day, I am uncertain what that dream means. But I do find it telling that the women were in a prison seemingly of their own making. I am uncertain if the women represent actual women, or if the women in the dream represent the church. Yet, it was beautiful outside. But they were inside; locked away from the beauty and freedom that was so close to them.
As I close out this installment, I want to share this journal entry from October 30, 2011.
I have been pondering and praying, more ponder than pray I suppose, about me being a minister. There are parts of me that want to be a minister, and there are parts of me that do not.
I feel anxiety when thinking about ministry, but still want to be a minister, I suppose. …
Feelings of hurt, anger, bitterness boil up as I consider ministry. But I just don’t see how I could ever serve as a minister…. People have this incorrect assessment that preachers are to be perfect. Oh, they will say “You are not perfect.” but their attitude is much different. In practice, they want a perfect man, always controlled, always compassionate, always patient, always understanding, always taking the punishment, always taking the heat, yet never ever ever failing.
I just backed out of an argument with Mary about “all things being possible”. I affirm, and she does too, that with God all things are possible, and with Jesus all things are possible. My contention is that with humanity all things are not possible because of humanity’s unbelief [cf. Matthew 13.58]. She says because she believes it does not matter if someone else does not believe, she could still “heal” them because of her belief. We went round and round, but this experience confirms my inner sense, I am not to be a minister because I am too argumentative.
Why do I even have this knowledge, if one is not able to move forward? In many ways, I am ready to give into my material self. Live non-hedonistically, but just stop struggling to know if God is going to use me.
Why struggle to know, when knowing seems so distant? Have faith. Trust God. Believe that he will come through. But his will is not mine, his timing is not mine. So why be anxious to be in his will and in his timeframe? If taking Jesus’ command to not be anxious includes not being anxious to do God’s will, then why worry? Seek his Kingdom. Seek his righteousness. But live my own life as best as I can, until he makes the move to move me into something else.
Why struggle to minister, when I feel that I should live?
Blessings and Shalom