Thursday, September 4, 2014

On Patience and Josiah {my novel, not my son}

Dear Reader,

Sometimes I have these moments ... 

I know you have them too.

I'm driving back from the school for the millionth time this week (it seems), just saying a silly little prayer because I don't know what to say but I know Who to ask, and it was merely a "I need something today, Jesus. Feeling a little off, a little empty, a little foggy."  

The song starts on the radio - just a few plucky strings and I turn it way up. Way up. The sound of the universe resonates in the heart like thumping base and weaving harmony. Tears pour down the cheeks and the only thought in the vacated mind is - 

That's it. Just what the longing soul needs to breathe. 

And I know it's just a song - a few letters un-jumbled to form lyrics and simply a note through vocal cords mixed with a couple strumming chords, but - 

Oh. My. Heart. Have you heard this? Have you let it get in you, opened your hands to it?

God of Mercy, sweet Love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the sky
These Hallelujahs be multiplied

[Go ahead. Play it again. Turn it way up and sing it really loud.]

So - sometimes God answers with an immediate gift like that, right in the very moment I'm already praying it ...

And sometimes He takes His sweet time. That's one cup sassy and one cup genuine too, because His timing is always sweet; it's always good. Good for me, that is. 

Waiting tries the character trait of patience like fire tries the silver, and who said life is without burns? They were wrong.

I'm mature enough to recognize the impatience now, when it comes. It comes like quick bursts of snappy words and my eyes rolling before I can stop them and a loud tone I wish I could reel back into my voice box. And I'm old enough to recognize when God's trying to get through to me about things like patience. Like when I read about it in my Spurgeon devotional and also in my son's homework planner (?!) and also in between the lines of old journals.

Wait. Be still. Hold on. Don't rush. Live in the now.


Yesterday I was looking through old journals (don't you just love doing that?) as I was unpacking. I came across a few pages from over six years ago and immediately recognized it as a conception of sorts. It was an epiphany about the character of a biblical figure named King Josiah, and the beginning of a journey with God that would take me on a grueling path of researching, writing, re-writing, sharing, reading, editing, and pouring out my heart in a historical fiction. It will be published soon. In His sweet timing, that is. *wink* Because not all prayers are answered in an instant. 

Here's an excerpt from that journal entry, and stay tuned because soon I'll be posting a few excerpts of the manuscript, soon. Just for you, Sweet Reader.

2 Kings 23
King Josiah personally saw to it that the nation of Judah was cleansed of all idolatry and disobedience against God. He traveled the nation for however long it would take to purify the land with the help of his administration and priests. He could have said, "God and do it" to the army, but his passion for the nation and against idolatry was so deeply personal that he had to see the destruction of each statue, temple, and pole with his own eyes. He wanted to set flame to the wood wit his own hands. To personally see to it that Judah was truly rid of its idolatry and sacrilege against his God. I can just picture him saying, "No nation I rule shall ever contain a single blasphemous stone or pillar against my LORD. No. Not on my watch."
And it took years, camping on the hillside when he could have been enjoying royal feasts, kingly quarters, and the most beautiful women. Like many of his fathers had done before him. Yet with the wisdom of but 20 years he followed his zeal for God up every single high hill and under every tall tree to seek out and destroy that which angered God and made Him burn with jealousy.
Would that we had that passion for God's holiness! What would our nation look like? What would our neighborhoods look like? What would our hearts look like? No, we can't set fire to every adult bookstore and Mosque. By God's grace of the cross He has chosen a different covenant for us.
However, we can set fire to the false gods in our hearts. We should tear down every altar in our life which does not give sole glory to Jesus. We can have the zeal of Josiah and personally see to it that our hearts and lives are conformed to the purpose of serving Him alone. Not the idol of self, not the altar of materialism, not the asherah pole of lust, not the incense altar of pride. We may not be rulers of a nation, but God has made us people of influence. 
Jesus - reform me, conform me, cleanse me, refine me with Your fire. Help me to take every thought captive to You. May I personally and daily tear down my idols which I honor more than I honor You. Show me how to be the leader Josiah was, not permitting a single stone to stand if it did not stand for You. I want to be more like You every day. I want to see progress in my life toward holiness, movement toward You and Your goodness. Light a fire in my heart for honoring You and never let it die.
I may not be king or queen or president, but You have made me a person of influence in my workplace, my home, my friendships, and my church. Help me, LORD. Stir up your fire in me. 

That was it. Just what a longing soul needed to breathe. One breath at a time. An idea became a concept, which became a story, which became characters and plot and words and pages and ... Just you wait!

Excitedly patient,

#comingsoon #ConsumingFire

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