A friend set it best the other day. “2019 has been unique.” We’re only at the end of March and it feels like a years worth of things have already happened. When I last wrote in January, I was in a place of excitement for what I knew God was beginning to open up and what we were stepping into. By February and into March, it seemed that their was so much opposition being thrown our way. In February, my middle son ends up in the hospital following a diabetic seizure and then two weeks to the day after that, my mother in-law steps into eternity. Now, I won’t get into all of the other details around those things, because so much more was involved, but my wife Amber was at a breaking point and I was doing all I could do to hold her together and comfort her through this. It was a chaotic perfect storm.
At the same time, some of my closest friends were being drawn through the wringer with their own battles. It was this unending, unwavering assault that was designed with one specific purpose. To take us out and to draw us away from the heart of God. The events were fierce and the messages behind them were so deep and dark. They could only be one thing. The enemy at work.
I’m thankful that my wife and I have been able to recognize what it was, and have deepened our prayer through it. It hasn’t taken away the pain, but it keeps us in a place where still turn everything over to God, no matter what is being thrown our way.
Last week, in the midst of all this craziness, we held our 5th Anvil Men’s Boot Camp. In the days leading up, I didn’t know how ready I would be. The men that facilitate with me were each struggling with their own junk and worried about even leaving their worlds and going. What was wild was, in the midst of it, I didn’t think I was ready for the teaching load I was about to deliver, but it all flowed so much better than in the past and I carried it, with what one man said, with greater passion than before.
Granted, it would be easy to say that, “well, it’s your 5th go at it, Richard, of course, it’s going to get smoother each time.” Yes, there is truth in that, but I really felt that God’s hand was in that weekend and a space was made available for the Holy Spirit to work in mighty ways. You know why? I believe, it’s because I didn’t have time to think and think and think on this weekend and what I was going to deliver and how the men would respond.
So it gives me pause to all of that has been going on. We know, hands down, that the warfare we’ve been through, in the spiritual and physical, was not caused by God. What has been readily apparent, however, is that through it all, God’s hand has been at work. This really started to become clear over the course of our weekend. There was a smoothness with the flow and teaching that was very different. I realized that God used all that had happened in a way that gave me and the team no choice in it, but to just surrender it all to Him. I mean really surrender.
I’ve had days when counseling with people where I’ve felt I have had nothing to offer. Where stresses and other things were overwhelming my thoughts and I didn’t think I could really do much to help anyone. It was in those moments that God would remind me that “you don’t have anything, but I do.” The same held true here. There was nothing we really had to offer here, so all we could do is cry out to God and give it all to Him in a way that I don’t think we really had before. It made for a beautiful weekend with these men and led to some huge breakthroughs in the hearts of men that were there. Because we got out of the way.
I was at one point using the word distraction to describe all that had happened. Yes, the enemy was trying to distract us. But what I really saw was the calculation of God through it all to use what was going on. The good and bad to bring greater glory to Him. What Paul wrote in Romans 8:28 was and is absolutely true, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” This is the absolute truth and we’ve seen it play out.
So this is my challenge to you. Are you in the way of allowing God to work? Despite the craziness that this world may throw in your way, what can you do to better surrender your will, fully, to Him, and do as we did, get out of the way.