Saturday, 5 January 2013

A Word (or two) on New Years and Buckle Up When Praying Dangerously

It is a new year.  I’m a little slow on the uptake, it being five days into the New Year before I celebrate with you - Happy New Year!  Some people get pretty excited about this New Year thing, and that’s great.  I don’t really.  To me, Jan. 1 follows Dec. 31, that’s it.  Each day has new mercies, for which I am eternally grateful, for who could stand?

I have noticed this week, around the bloggy world, that many are beginning their new year with a word.  One word.  And, I suppose, they feel that by speaking this word at the beginning, the change we all seek may come forth - similar to a New Year’s resolution, but just a word instead of a whole list.
I’ve never done this before, but I thought I’d try this coming up with a word for my year, this 2013.  And being me and always having to be different (I don’t try, it just happens), I ended up with two words I would like to see this year to represent.
Two words to describe 2013 – the year after the world was supposed to end.  Twice.  (Seriously do they NOT read their Bible?); the year I go on my first missions trip. Ever. And my daughter joins me; the year my first born son gets his driver’s license.
First word.
And a prayer that 2013 will be a whole lot more of Him and a whole lot less of me.  That my heart would love like Jesus loved; that He would fill me with compassion which would compel me to do something, like Jesus who was continually moved to action by His compassion.  Even if it makes my heart explode, I am praying for more Jesus love and compassion in 2013, for more of Him.
Second word.
First a story.  Have you ever read God’s incredible promise, “that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give you”?  Or how about, “Ask and you shall receive.”?   When praying such things as near and dear to the Father’s heart, these promises need to come with a warning:  Buckle up when praying dangerously!
I asked Him to break me.
Guess what?
He did.
Making the second word for 2013, ‘broken’. 
Just so we’re clear on the word ‘broken’, let’s see what Merriam-Webster says about it:
adjective \ˈbrō-kən\

1: violently separated into parts : shattered
c: violated by transgression <a broken promise>
d: discontinous, interrupted
e: disrupted by change
3a: made weak or infirm
b: subdued completely : crushed, sorrowful <a broken heart> <a broken spirit>
c: bankrupt
d: reduced in rank 

Ah, yes, all these feel very familiar after that answered prayer the second last day of 2012: violently separated into parts, shattered, disrupted by change, made weak, subdued, crushed, sorrowful, and definitely reduced in rank.
Broken to self, self subdued. Violently separated from the world and the stuff it’s full of; the stuff that numbs the heart and soul to the burden and call of the Lord.
Broken, so He can put me back together; broken, so it’s His way, His will, not mine.
You see the Lord has laid a burden on my heart for those hurting, oppressed and living in poverty, for the fatherless child who has no hope. He woke me up and through a dangerous prayer and some cupcakes two years ago now, and since then He has literally changed my life and its direction.
And now He is sending me on a mission trip, which I’m praying will change me forever.
But something happened along the way, since that first dangerous prayer. The burden that burned in my heart and soul, it cooled over time, and I didn’t even notice it.
Maybe it happened when the focus changed from praying and longing to go, to raising the money to go.
Maybe it happened during the many trips to supersized box stores for restocking an already over stocked pantry.
Maybe it happened when life got busy, distracting me and drowning out the silent cry of the oppressed.
Maybe it happened while I was sleeping.
Somehow the fire had cooled to an ember. I speak from the experience of cold winter weather warmed only by a fire in the furnace, when the flames die to embers, everything cools quickly.
Apathy had set in, and I wasn’t even aware of it.
The Lord has something to say about apathy. He speaks it through Jeremiah:
“As a cage is full of birds, so their houses are full of deceit. Therefore they have become great and grown rich. They have grown fat, they are sleek; yes, they pass over the deeds of the wicked; they do not plead the cause, the cause of the fatherless; yet they prosper, and the right of the need they do not defend.” Jer. 5:27-28
I noticed as I read this that the people the Lord is warning, rebuking, speaking out against, are not those actively doing the oppression or wicked deeds, but the ones who pass over, who do not do and do not plead.
He is finding great fault with those who, because they are rich, full and therefore comfortable, are saying, “someone else will do that, yes, it is a shame, but that’s someone else's problem, not mine”. The Lord is condemning the apathy and inaction of the comfortable. The Lord is bringing charge against the sin of omission.
The scripture continues,
“ ’Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the Lord. ‘Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’” Apathy is not a sin the Lord takes lightly.
And so I asked the Lord to break me. He answered quickly.
Broken. It’s a good way to start a new year. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Broken is blessed according to Jesus. I believe Him.
The Lord can do things through us when we’re broken. Jesus can fill us with more of Him, His love and compassion, ending apathy, spurring action. That’s my prayer for this year and beyond.
Here’s to 2013, to Jesus, to broken.
Here’s praying that 2013 will find you broken, yet filled to the fullest with Jesus.

Linking in with Michelle DeRusha's "Hear It on Sunday, Use It on Monday"


At 7 January 2013 at 16:25 , Anonymous Sarah said...

Wow - sounds like God is on a similar path in our I am going on my first mission trip, with my mom! Where are you heading?

I also find him breaking me this New Years...breaking me down just enough to rebuild those places which need it.

At 7 January 2013 at 16:53 , Blogger Stephanie said...

Hi Sarah, We are headed to Uganda on a Mother/Daughter trip Mar 28, with Sixty Feet. Where are you going? It's awesome how the Lord works isn't it?


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