"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour"
Oceans, Hillsong United
Have you ever heard this song? I bet you've sang it in church or a conference or maybe heard it on the radio. It's a popular Christian worship song and it's powerful.
But look really closely at the words in the bridge above. Look at what it says. Have you ever stopped to consider what you're actually singing and saying and asking in worship? And if so, do you really mean it? Do you really believe it? Because this song is dangerous to sing and raise our hands for if we don't really want what it's asking. Do we really want to be lead to a place where it's hard to trust our Saviour? Do we really want to go somewhere we wouldn't ever take ourselves? Do we really believe it, that it will be worth it to strengthen our faith?
Do I really believe it?
A few months ago my plans changed and my heart broke and I was left face to face with only God. And it was powerful to see Him move, to watch Him provide peace and comfort and healing in all the ways He had promised. The broken places were made more beautiful again by His grace and my faith was strengthened beyond what I could have ever imagined. It was turning into a testimony that I knew would one day encourage and strengthen others.
And I worshipped and praised Him and sang this song, completely unaware of what I was asking. Completely ignorant of what it would be like to be in that place that the bridge described. I was praying for what was next. I was hoping for more. I was expectant that my powerful and compassionate God would do miraculous things. It wasn't until recently that I started to see answers to those prayers: a loud, resounding no and a constant, steady wait.
I thought I was frustrated with unanswered prayers for weeks on end. I found myself even more frustrated with the response I got. I found myself questioning God's character, His plan, and my faith through all of this. He showed up once, so why isn't He showing up the way I expect Him to now?
It's exactly that - because God doesn't work in the confines I expect Him to. He's bigger and greater than that. He's trying to do Ephesians 3:20 in my life, abundantly more than I could ever imagine, and I find myself doubting Him in the process.
When you've been in church long enough you hear people sharing stories and testimonies of how God moved in their lives, and these stories encourage and help other people. But we usually only hear those stories at the end when everything has been resolved. Rarely do we get to see the middle, rarely do we get to hear about the struggle in the midst of it.
I can't write here and just share the outcomes without also sharing what it took to get there. And in a moment of total honesty I would like to tell you that God strengthened my faith so much but then brought me here, to a place that tests it even more. I surrendered to go wherever He would call me, just like the song says, and it was here. I prayed bigger than ever and hoped for more than ever and the answer was not just wait,but also no, and what do you do with wait and no?
All I can say is that I would rather stay here, near a good God who is not always safe and predictable, than try to create my own safety net apart from His goodness. I would rather wait on and on and on for His promises than try to do things my own way. I would rather accept His no than walk away from His blessings and His grace.
The God who tells me no and wait is the same God who has promised to carry my burdens when I am weary from waiting and exhausted from things not going the way I thought they might. He's still a good, good Father. And I'll keep telling myself that over and over again in the midst of doubt, because if I start to doubt it leads to unbelief, and if I don't believe then I walk away, and what does that say about the faith He helped to strengthen only a few weeks ago?