A year and a half ago my husband and I, plus our three tiny little ones, moved across the country to help start a church. Church planting, they call it. I call it soul stripping. In all the best, most painful ways. Nearly one year after moving here, I find myself, our family, never more aware of either the weakness in my spirit or the power in my soul. Everything has changed, and yet everything is just the same. There are still bills to paid, children to be raised, cheeks to be kissed, toilets to be cleaned, clothes to be washed, and apologies to be given. And in addition to that there is a church to be nourished – as an entity and as a gathering of individual, imperfect hearts. Our own insecurities, insufficiencies, inadequacies – they bob up and down on the surface of our hearts, demanding to be seen, making us weary with their dependable returns. In short, we – I – am laid bare.
But this is beauty, you see, to stand in my dining room waiting for the extra pot of coffee to brew and know that I am responsible for the rough start of the day. I am. There is no way around it. But to also know that wearing that responsibility like binding chains is exactly the opposite of what Jesus has done, is doing for me. And to, instead, bow low to the ground, eye level with the dried up cheese bits and the smelly old carpet, and whisper, “Jesus, I am out of wine.” I do not self-deprecate or moan, I simply look him in the eye and state the obvious, “Do you see me down here with everything that is gross about my life? I have no magic fairy dust. I have nothing lovely or delicious to offer anyone. I cannot support a husband, raise children, keep a house, hold a job, be a friend, be part of a church-plant, and start a new ministry. I cannot. I do not have what it takes. I. am. out. of. wine. But I love you. And I believe that you are who you say you are. I don’t know what that means in my particular situation, how exactly you will work a miracle, but I know you will – because you are my Jesus.” And then I stand up and walk through my day, expecting him to do the miraculous.
Jesus turns water into wine.
Please do not miss that in this Bible story Jesus first tells his mother, “No.” He tells her that it isn’t time. He asks her what she wants him to do about it. And what she does next shows unparalleled trust and faith. She holds his gaze, orders the servants to do what he says, and then she walks away. She doesn’t kick or scream, but she does show him that she trusts his heart, that she knows he cares about every minute detail of the hosts’ lives, and that he is capable of doing the miraculous. She doesn’t try to make a plan and force his hand. She just orders obedience and then fades out of the story, trusting him to be who he says he is, who he has proven himself to be, choosing to be an instrument in the manifestation of his glory. There is room – no, necessity – for both quiet trust and bold action in our lives, and often times they are actually the same thing
I was talking with a friend a couple of months ago and I said, “But what do you do when you know you are right but you can’t see a way to make it happen?” Her response was strong and beautiful and honestly pretty kick-butt. She said, “You submit. And then you pray that junk down.” So, there it is. If you are standing before the monumental task of life living, and you cannot see a way through it all, bow low, take a good hard look at the old dried up cheese bits of your life, own them. Then submit – submit to this season, to God’s very intentional ordering of your life, and pray.
Pray that junk down.
This is the essence of faith, friends, and God is laying us low every day so that we can receive the rich reward of knowing this kind of life-altering faith-power!