This week has been full of ups and downs.
I find myself pouring over the Scripture stories of the children of Israel in the wilderness. I am searching for his voice. I am looking for his instruction in what feels like a vast wilderness of unknowns.
And he has been faithful to come – just in the nick of time – with his voice.
One particular evening I lamented again with the same all-too-familiar questions, in search of a response from heaven. I was willing myself to recall the faithfulness of God. That he is always faithful. That he never leaves us nor forsakes us. I needed him to show up with songs of deliverance, seeds of remembrance that his promises will bear fruit in due season.
And so I ran to my Father, the King.
“Where are you, Lord?” I dared to ask him as the Psalmist did. “I cannot see you in this desert place. But I know that you are here. I cannot hear you. But I know that you are speaking. I cannot feel you. But I know that you are near.” And from his temple, he heard my voice; my cry entered into his very ears (Ps 18:6).
His still, small voice came.
Today, if you hear my voice, do not harden your hearts.
I thought that was an odd scripture to come to mind in that moment, but I followed this prompting and looked up the verse. This is what I read:
Today, if you listen to His voice, don’t harden your hearts the way they did in the bitter uprising at Meribah (Heb 3:7-8).
Meribah. The place of rebellion “where your ancestors tested Me though they had seen My marvelous power” (v.9).
Hmmm. So naturally I went on to read about what happened at Meribah. The story is recounted in Numbers 20. It is the familiar story of God bringing water from the rock.
The people of Israel had been brought out of Egypt into freedom – into the wilderness.
This newfound freedom didn’t look all that great. It was wrought with challenges. Their chief complaint being that of provision. There was no water.
The people were afraid that they and their cattle would die in this wilderness of freedom. It was an understandable concern. So, “after hearing them out, Moses and Aaron walked away. At the congregation tent’s opening, they collapsed to the ground, interceding for the people” (Num 20:6).
It was there, in this place of intercession that the Lord spoke. Get up. Pick up your staff, and speak to the rock. Tell it to release its water. You will get enough water from the rock for everyone to drink, including all the animals (v.8).
The God who can bring water out of a hardened rock had spoken.
Today, if you hear my voice, do not harden your hearts.
As I pondered this encouragement from the Lord (and I use the word “encouragement” because in His conviction there is always deep encouragement), I realized how easy it is for our hearts to harden like a rock through unbelief.
Unbelief – lack of trust in God’s ability to provide all we need – reveals the hardness of our hearts.
But we can speak to this rock and tell its waters to flow.
We can speak to the hard places of unbelief in our hearts and remind ourselves what God has done, who he is, the record of his faithfulness.
And without a shadow of a doubt we will see streams of living water begin to flow.
Speak to the rock. I love those words. I will speak to the small “r” rock of unbelief threatening to form in my heart, with the authority and power of the big “R” Rock who is Lord and Master of all things, including this heart of mine.
We can speak to the rock.
And rivers of living water will burst forth from our hearts – not just for ourselves but also for our families, our communities, our nations.
I’ve learned though, I have to daily speak to the rocks in my heart about the Rock of my heart.
I have to position myself to hear his voice. I will take my post at the watchtower and wait for what the Lord has to say to me (Hab 2:1).
I have to recount his deeds. Oh Lord, I have heard of your fame. I stand in awe of your deeds. Renew them in my day. (Hab 3:2)
Just yesterday, I stumbled upon yet another rock (one beautifully gift-wrapped in a few lies and accusations that only come from the enemy of our souls). And I began to ask the Lord: “Have I missed something? Is there something more I should be doing? Did I miss you somehow?”
In hindsight it’s so easy to spot this little trap of discouragement, but in the moment things are often not so clear.
As I closed out this rather pitiful prayer time, the Lord met me again with his Word of truth and whispered to my heart: Even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and he knows all things.
So I went in search of this passage in Scripture. And this is what I saw:
There is a sure way for us to know that we belong to the truth. Even though our inner thoughts may condemn us with storms of guilt and constant reminders of our failures, we can know in our hearts that in His presence God Himself is greater than any accusation. He knows all things. My loved ones, if our hearts cannot condemn us, then we can stand with confidence before God. Whatever we may ask, we receive it from Him because we follow His commands and take the path that pleases Him. His command is clear: believe in the name of His Son, Jesus the Anointed, and love one another as He commanded. 1 John 3:19-23 (VOICE)
When we seek God and earnestly bare our hearts before him, he is faithful to respond with his voice. He spoke very specifically and clearly through his Word to my heart, and he will do the same for you.
He is faithful every time. Every. Single. Time.
We can trust this One who can command water from the rock. Give to him the hard, barren, impossible places that are marred by fear and unbelief in your hearts today – and watch him respond.
Just for fun (and our encouragement!), I thought I’d share with you some of the incredible ways I’ve seen God respond miraculously this year. These are some of the Ebenezer moments that I recount to remember the faithfulness of the Rock of my Salvation.
- I remember God whispering the dream of Unveiled in my heart just last year. A dream I didn’t know was there that has now come to life.
- I remember the many, many, friends and family God placed in my life to bring encouragement, prayer and so much joy to this ministry and to my life. They are too many to count!
- I remember God opening up truly miraculous doors just this year for me to speak at conferences and to leaders far beyond my expectations, and quite honestly pretty out of my league! (I don’t say that disparagingly, only to note that God opens doors that no one can shut).
- I remember being terrified of public speaking years ago, and now loving it and journeying with others in the call to be messengers.
- I remember so many “random” meetings that were divine appointments that led to sweet friendships, ministry doors opening, and even the start of Unveiled’s latest workshops and consultations.
- I remember God handpicking and quite literally sending the first Cohort participants. Each story is a marvelous testimony of God’s handiwork in forming this community.
- I remember sweet time with my beloved Aunty Cynthia in the months before her passing. I could not have known God was rearranging space in my life because he knew I’d soon cherish that time with her.
- I remember precious times with family, new little ones and sweet conversations…all revealing more of my Father’s great and unfailing love.
- I remember so many very personal expressions of His love for me through some of my favorite things (there are way too many to note here!).
- I remember the sound of His voice – always just in time.
In this Advent season, it is easy to forget all that God has done. It is easy to let our hearts grow hard in the waiting. May I encourage you to make your own list and remember all the ways the Lord has been faithful to you (feel free to share with me!).
In our remembering, may we find the God who calls water from the rock and live in its abundant overflow this coming year.
Merry Christmas. Christ, our Chief Cornerstone, has come.