It's been a while. I spent the summer at camp, moved my life to a different city and now here I am: back to typing in bare feet.
"The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made ... every nation of mankind ... that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find Him. He is actually not far from each one of us, for 'in Him we live and move and have our being".
The first time I heard this song was in a service at the preparatory staff week before campers arrive at camp. I felt as though someone had been given a key to my heart, read it cover to cover like a book, and typed it out for everyone to read on PowerPoint.
I was exhausted. Utterly spent and feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility that was mine and the task ahead of me for the summer. As I'm sure you can imagine, or perhaps you've experienced, arriving at camp with an empty tank is not ideal. It's a beautiful mix of expectancy and hopefulness. Mostly because you don't have a choice but to trust in God's provision. You won't be able to pull off what's ahead, and you know God can, so you're left to surrender every effort to His care and good plan.
Here's where the desert idea kicks in. So, here I am, parched, and trying to sing. Trying to give from a place of brokenness and weakness. Trying. Believing. Remaining. Receiving. Learning.
REMAIN. The central theme of the summer. From the passage in John 15, we were directed in our discussions and reflection that really it is God who works, and in His beautiful plan we are chosen to participate in that work. For me, remaining meant keeping "me" out of it. Being a channel, clear of hindrance or blockage, to bring praise and to serve throughout the circumstances ("in every season") where I believe, though I forget, that God is always faithful. The promise and proof of God's faithfulness to me, as His child, is real. And so, I always have a reason to worship and sing. I will bring praise. I will rejoice and declare that God is my victory, and He is here.
DESERT: "when all that's within me feels dry"
psalm 119 "my comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life"
john 15:16 "you did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit..."
the LIES: You will always feel alone. You were made for brokenness and suffering.
the TRUTH: You were chosen to participate in greatness. You will be saved from your suffering. Your King knows your suffering.
IN MY HUNGER & NEED: "my God is the God who provides"
isaiah 41:10 "so do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand"
the LIES: You will not be comforted. You are always going to be striving for what you need. You will never be whole.
the TRUTH: You don't need to be afraid of what will happen tomorrow. You are safe. God knows your need.
FIRE: "in weakness or trial or pain"... "refine me Lord through the flame"
isaiah 40:31 "...those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength..."
the LIES: You will always be ________.
the TRUTH: You are a new creation. 'The old has gone, the new has come'.
BATTLE: "when triumph is still on its way"
acts 5:38 "... if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them"
john 16:33 "i have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace... but take heart; I have overcome the world"
the LIES: You will never see victory.
the TRUTH: The battle is won. Triumph is coming. It is here.
"No weapon formed against me shall remain"
acts 18:9 "do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you..."
acts 10:15 "what God has made clean, do not call common."
psalm 71:21 "you will increase my honor, you will comfort me once again"
the LIES: You won't be able to do it. You'll fail. Your efforts will be in vain. You'll be out there all alone.
the TRUTH: You are God's masterpiece, created to do good... You're not common! You're the Beloved. You'll never be alone.
HARVEST: "filled to be emptied again"
psalm 51 "Create in me a clean heart... restore to me the JOY of your salvation... and renew a right spirit within me."
romans 3:23-24 "for all have sinned and fall sort of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus"
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."
the LIES: You're stained. You're used up. You can't be made whole. And even if you were, God can't use you.
the TRUTH: Grace has been poured out on you to restore you and give you joy. This joy will overflow to others to the glory of God.
DESERT SONG - Hillsong
This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides
This is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame
I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here
This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand
All of my life, in every season
You are still God, I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship
This is my prayer in the harvest
when favour and providence flow
i know i'm filled to emptied again
the seed i've received I will sow