So if you’ve read my first entry on this blog, The Most Narcissistic Blog Ever, then you know that my heart desires to be one of the sparks that ignites the next great awakening in this country. I long for that like my body longs for water on mid July summer day in the Georgia humidity. I cannot successfully put together the sufficient words to explain how desperate my heart is to see this happen. God forbid it be to make my name famous, I assure you, that is not the case, but I have such a desire to be more than I am presently able to be, to be such a force for the kingdom of God that my legacy will not be a string of accomplishments, save the singular accomplishment of making Jesus famous!
The question is, do I have the faith it takes to be that kind of force in the Kingdom of God?
I am constantly evaluating my life and asking the Lord what needs to change and what gifts I need to “stir up” (2 Timothy 1:6). I know the path that I am desiring to walk is not one for the also-rans, or the skin-of-your-teethers. No, this is reserved for those who find God’s work more important than life itself. This is for the Abraham’s who hear “go into a land I will send you” and leave without asking what land (Genesis 12:1). Only the Moses’s who are willing to stand up against Pharoah with only a stick and a promise God will perform the miraculous (Exodus 4:1) can achieve this goal. It is the Joshua’s who walk around the city seven times (Joshua 6:1-5), the Elisha’s who burn their tools and sacrifice their work animals to follow the prophet (1 Kings 19:19-21), the Isaiah’s who say, “Here am I. Send me” (Isaiah 6:8), the Gideon’s who send their entire army home save a measly three hundred men(Judges 7), the Hosea’s who marry a hooker and buy her back after she cheats on them (Hosea), the Peter’s who step out of the boat (Matthew 14:29), the Ananias’s who pray for the torturer of the faith to receive his sight (Acts 9:17), and other men and women of great faith who find themselves changing their worlds. It is those men and women who can’t shake this feeling there is more to life than simply amassing pleasures, material, and ease of living that God says, “Let’s do this!” to.
I have recently listened to several biographies of men like Jonathan Edwards, C.H. Spurgeon, Andrew Fuller, George Whitfield, and several others. As I am listening to these men’s lives, my soul is burning inside, like the men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:32) as they heard Jesus recount His story to them. I hear so many similarities in my thoughts and passions as these men have and it further excites me! I am not saying that to say I compare to, or ever will compare to, them. How can one ever hope to preach over 60 hours a week and 1000 plus sermons a year, like George Whitfield, or preach over 600 sermons by the time they are 21 as Charles Spurgeon did? (Never mind the fact that I would have to go back in time about 30 years to do that!) These men were special men in the Kingdom, besides God never repeats himself. Think about it, there is only one Moses, one Abraham, and one Elijah in the Bible. Similarities may occur but each one of God’s men is his own kind of unique. A man with no equal.
However, as I look at my life I see flaws, failures of faith, or outright fear that keeps me from obeying God. This give me cause for concern.
For instance, Back in 2012 I was so on fire for God that when I felt him leading me to quit my job and move back to my hometown (even though I swore I would never do so) and focus on ministry, I did it…after a day of fighting Him and begging Him to change His mind. He didn’t. I was nervous as heck but I did it with a simple promise of “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all of these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33) Like Abraham, I turned in my notice, packed up and left, with no job waiting and no place to live. For several months I trusted God for my provision and he provided. I had one month where I had ministry opportunities literally fall out of the sky and my offerings were over $1500 for one month! I never went hungry and my financial needs were met but then a “slim” month came up and I panicked. I began looking for a job and took the first one that came open…delivering pizzas. I have been working a regular job every since and doing almost no preaching or singing. (oh yeah, it took a long time before I began making more than $1500 each month.)
I also, during that time, decided that I was going to honor God in my divorce by not dating or getting married but believing Him for a restored marriage. I even began a blog called The Divorce Covenant where I talked about that desire. The wisdom of those posts still boggles my mind. It was like everything I read had a light shown on it and I saw how it applied to my decision. Post after post of sheer determination to obey God, even when it seems impossible! It was an amazing time, that is until I began suffering some resistance. The blog began to make my relationship with my ex even more strained and the resistance from those who flippantly through their marriages away with the belief that “God wants them happy” became so strong I closed the blog down. My main reason for doing the blog was to have something to hold me accountable to my decision. If I was posting these things publicly, it would be much more difficult to reneg on my promise. Sure enough, after two years of waiting, praying, and believing, I decided to move on and begin dating again.
I was called to trust Him, I did, but then, when my faith was tested, I came up short. Although I love my current job and the woman I am dating is an amazing blessing to my life, I would be lying if I told you I don’t wonder “What if?” sometimes.
I could on for days listing many other stories like this. Times when I showed an amazing faith at first only to backtrack when the hard times came.
I look at my heroes of the Great Awakening, men who I strive to be like, and wonder if they ever faltered in their faith walk. Did Spurgeon ever feel like giving up? Did Edwards ever fall to sin and say, “What’s the use? I will never be perfect!”? Did Whitfield ever feel the despair of exhaustion and go for a year and a half without preaching?
Maybe not, but I promise you they had their times of struggle, times of dry, passionless faith, times when it doesn’t come easy but is earned by sheer determination to stay the course. This truth is common to every man and I believe it is God ordained. It is during these times we learn the discipline it takes to continue pressing on when it’s not all red carpet and limousines, but jagged rocks and sandstorms. It is probably during those times that the greatest growth comes and we earn the needed strength to do what God has called us to do.
Maybe the things I failed at were not God’s final goal for me. Maybe they were just the training ground that would prepare me for what is to come! I am thinking about Peter. He was no afraid to step out of the boat. When He saw Jesus He said, “If you bid me to come, I will!”. Jesus did, and Peter jumped out onto the water. No fear! No worry! No doubt! That is, until he started looking at the storm.
Have you ever thought about the fact that Peter, never again walked on water? I mean, he definitely became a courageous man of faith after Pentecost. He preached to men in Jerusalem and told them “You killed Jesus!”. He healed the sick. He led the Church’s growth and became the Rock Jesus said he would be. Yet, he never walked on water again. Why? Some might say it was his punishment for failing that fateful night. However, God being the God of second chances (See Samson’s dismal showing) I find it hard to believe that is why. I submit to you that walking on water wasn’t Peter’s calling. It was simply an exercise of his faith that made his true purpose possible down the road.
Maybe God will call me once again to do the things I have failed to do in the past. Maybe He won’t. It is no matter to me because I know that He is faithful to complete the work He began in me!
“…He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6
God began this work in me and, despite my near drownings in the sea of insufficient faith, I will be the hero I long to be one day!
Peace, Love, and Awakening!
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