I have been challenging myself and my children in Thanksgiving this month. Thanksgiving and gratefulness opens up our hearts for more of God. I have so many things in my life to be grateful for but it is easy to discount them if I am focused on what hasn't happened yet. As we approach this season, I feel like God wants to encounter us, showing us the beauty and wonder in the breakthrough and in the waiting. It’s from that vantage point that we are drawn in closer to Him. Let us move past what He does for us and move into greater intimacy.
Luke 2:8-14: And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Jesus was the ultimate breakthrough. Jesus was the promise and the answer to years of waiting and wondering. Jesus was God wrapped in human form. Yet, He was born in a humble and secret place. The Father gave signs to two groups of people. To the wise men He gave a star in the sky. To the shepherds in a dark field on a hillside He gave a glimpse of Heaven in the form of an angelic choir. The signs were significantly different, yet the purpose was the same. The purpose of the signs was to cause these groups to seek out an encounter with Him.
I’m sure we all know the story, but lately I have been fascinated and drawn deeper into how God encounters us in our life. He wants to be encountered in every moment, in the breakthrough and in the waiting. He wants to be encountered in the valley and on the mountaintop.
Over the past few months, Alex and I have walked into some breakthroughs that we have been contending for for most of our marriage. God has showed up big time. However, right in the middle of it all, I felt pressure. Things weren’t feeling the way that I expected it to. I realized in this process that I was measuring God’s pleasure in me through my ability to encounter Him in the places that were big. In the waiting places I was challenged to still know God was speaking and moving on my behalf.
I realized after pressing through, the Lord was speaking the whole time. He provided the breakthrough but He wanted to be found in the waiting. I feel that is a word for everyone. Breakthroughs are great! Gifts from God are amazing. God has it for all of His kids because He is good. However, I felt the call to the revelation that in God is not just in the breakthrough and gifts. Those are the rays of His glory but not His face.
He desires to be found by us. He wants such a deep, special, and irreplaceable intimacy with us. He desires to be found in all seasons. My relationship with Holy Spirit is beautiful, but I never realized that it was in my unseen, ”day to day” relationship with Him, that is the most important and most meaningful.
Worship for me is such a huge part of my faith journey. It activates my trust and focus in the moments when I don't feel, see, or even imagine breakthrough or what is ahead of me. Why? because my gaze and focus becomes set on my final goal. He really IS the answer. What if the shepherds got so caught up by the angelic display that they never sought out Jesus? What if the Wise men saw the star and just marveled, but didn’t set out on the journey?
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
I pray that in this next season, you will find God encounters in the most unexpected places. That you will allow yourself to be in wonder while you wait and then rejoice with him in finding breakthrough.