Sorry to leave you all hanging, but that conference I mentioned last week took my full attention. I did not have the opportunity to write my blog as I expected. The good news is that the conference was great and God showed up!
Last week I began talking about Lysa TerKeaurst’s book “What Happens When Women Walk in Faith,” and her 5 phases of dream or calling. Those 5 phases are: 1) leaving; 2) famine; 3) believing; 4) death; and 5) resurrection.
As we talked about Wednesday, God often asks us to step out of our comfort zone or step out in faith. He doesn’t usually give us a complete play-by-play before asking us to start walking. It requires us to lay aside our doubts and to really know our father’s voice.
John 10: 1- 4 (NIV): Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
God told Abraham to go and Abraham went. He did not wait around for a person to confirm what God has told him. No, Abraham knew God’s voice and stepped out in obedience.
When we step out in faith, we tend to expect everything to manifest right them. However, we fail to see that there is probably work he still needs to do in us before we can get to the next step and he often uses hard times to do his growing.
Genesis 12:10 (NIV): 10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.
So, Abraham listened to God, packed his family and moved into unknown territory where God promised him great things only to find a severe famine. Needless to say, this is probably not what Abraham and his wife expected. This is where doubt creeps in for me. I begin to wonder if I heard God right or if it was his voice at all. I think a lot of dreams end in this phase because a lot of us do not have the faith or trust in God to get us over the hurdle of famine. For instance, last February I felt God finally giving me my calling. I got excited, begin the necessary steps to get things going then there was NOTHING but TROUBLE. In the past, this would have sent me off course, but I dug deep into his word and held onto his promises (Jeremiah 29:1). I am still holding on.
I know most of you have heard this, but I thought it may be helpful to mention that what was done in the bible in the physical realm is now being done in the spiritual realm. Therefore, if Abraham incurred an actual famine, it is likely that we will have a spiritual famine, which will probably be brought on by hard times. It is God’s plan for us to dig down deep and trust in him and his word. He wants us to rely on him alone for sustenance. I have heard it said that growing does not happen on the mountain top but rather in the valleys. I agree with this statement. In fact you would be hard pressed to find a biblical hero who missed this phase. As Lysa points out, “Noah left to get on the ark and then had to endure the flood. Ruth left the banquets of Moab to glean leftover wheat from someone else’s field. David left his sheep to face Goliath [only to have to return to the field to wait on the Lord]. The disciples left with Jesus only to discover he was not going to be an earthly king, but a crucified savior,” (What Happens Kindle Version p. 41).
I am not saying it is wrong to get discouraged when storms come. I believe it is not the discouragement and doubt that trip us up, but rather how long and how much we linger there. Abraham got discouraged. God had promised him to be the father of a great nation, yet years passed without Sarah being able to conceive. I am sure this was disheartening and frustrating. I bet doubt began to creep in. At this point, did Abraham give in to those whispers of doubt? No, he took his doubt and discouragement to God. He laid it all on the table and allowed God to work in his heart.
Genesis 15:1-3 (NIV) : 15 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield,[a] your very great reward.[b]” 2 But Abram said, “Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
I have heard people say that we should talk with God in great reverence and never speak our doubts or discouragement to him. I wholeheartedly disagree. God wants a relationship with us. He wants our honesty. If we don’t open up to him and give him the opportunity to work it out in us, then Satan will eventually get a foot hold and use it against us.
After Abraham poured out his heart to God, God began to repaint his dream for Abraham. Let us continue on in the passage above.
Genesis 15:4-6: Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.” Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
God will do the same thing for us if we allow him. We must pursue an honest and open relationship with God and give all of our burdens over to him. Whenever doubt starts to creep in, I pull out Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper and not harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future.” How encouraging that verse can be if we just believe.
Until next time, stay safe and God bless,