With three full days of Church Leadership School completed, my mind is on spiritual overload. The same could be said of my heart. This will undoubtedly be another landmark moment that I'll always remember as a time that the Lord spoke direction clearly into my life.
When classes concluded this afternoon, I wanted to take some time to get away and just pray for a while. Mt. Hope Church has a beautiful garden called, "The Valley of Blessings," based on II Chronicles 20:26. Look it up. *Insert grin here* I sat down in a quiet area to pray. To my left was a small fountain with water gently cascading over some colorful rocks, and to my right and directly in front was a walkway made of assorted gray slate stones. Now... God has really been opening my eyes this week to the Biblical idea of vision. Not only what it is, but how to seek it, get it, and implement it. I've heard amazing stories of heaven touching earth, and how ordinary people can call on our extraordinary God.
So as I watched the water cascade, the Lord told me, "Your heart is like that stone. The water will eventually wear the stone down, but it will take many years. Do you have that much time?"
Whoa. No, I don't. I've always felt like I'm on a fast track in ministry, making up for wasted years that I spent wandering in my own personal desert. So God, what do I do? Then he pointed me to three of the slate stones, all adjacent to one another.
"See how the first stone is cracked in half?" said God. "It's ugly. It stands out from the rest of the beautiful slate. It's damaged. But I can take that damaged stone and not only repair it, but make it brand new. Do you believe that?"
Yes, God. I get it. "Okay," He said. "That stone represents the hardness of your heart. It has broken you. Now. Look at the second stone. See the small chips sitting on top of the stone? Small layers, almost as thin as paper have been sheared away. But look underneath. See how shiny and beautiful the stone is beneath that protective layer? That's what I can do for you... peel back the layers of hurt and self-doubt, the condemnation and the wear that's bringing you down. Son, there's beauty underneath all that hurt. It's the hurt that's keeping you from growing. It's the hurt that clouds the skies so you can't see my vision. It's the hurt and the self-condemnation that didn't come from me that has put a shield around your ministry. Let me peel it away for you."
Wow God... okay. How do I do that?
"Look at the third stone," he said. "It's perfect. There's no dirt, it's shiny, and there are no chips or cracks. That's how I created it... that's how I intended it to be. It's attractive. I look at that rock and smile. I feel no pity, no doubt, no, just pride. Pride in my creation. My question to you is... are you willing to allow Me to be all that you have wanted Me to be for so long? Will you let me peel back the layers and expose the beauty underneath? Will you get out of my way, Son?"
If nothing else, this week is challenging me to be authentic, not synthetic. Synthetic is man made. Authenticity comes from God. Only the authentic is created by Him. I want to live authentically. I want to be so much more for Him.
I want to be that perfect stone.