“See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. Many were amazed when they saw him —beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know he was a person. And he will again startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence. For they will see what they had not previously been told about; they will understand what they had not heard about.” Isaiah 52:13-15 New Living Translation
Two weeks ago, while walking along the bluff just down the street from where I live, I met Andy. He was fishing from the top of the bluff and, being the somewhat curious person I am, I asked if he had caught anything. Andy reached into the back of his truck where he had an ice chest. From the ice chest he pulled out a very nice sized fish. He said it had been a slow day for fishing but he remained ever hopeful there were more fish to be caught!
A few days later I ran into Andy again, only this time we engaged in a conversation where we each discovered the other had been a Pastor. To say we were both shocked at this discovery is definitely an understatement. It did provide us with much to discuss concerning why we were where we were: neither one pastoring anymore.
Our journeys, as one would suspect, were quite different. Andy had been a Pentecostal Pastor and I had not. However, there on that bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean we connected, we experienced a divine appointment where we each received the ministry of the other, even as we both felt unqualified to call ourselves Pastors anymore.
For Andy’s part, he had made choices which he felt disallowed him being in the ministry as a Pastor, while for me the impact of my health leaves me less than able to serve as a Pastor. We both wrestled with ghostly images and painful memories that negatively impacted how we saw ourselves.
When I was given my first church, the Pastor who introduced me to my new church family also welcomed me into the ministry with the warning I would be, as all Pastors are, “beaten and bloodied” by the weapons of the enemy. These days I don’t think I know of anyone who isn’t beaten and bloodied, and having some question directed to God concerning their circumstances. We find it so very easy to decide no one has any idea of what we are going through, and we may be right! But just as true is the knowledge that we are often ignorant of what those around us are experiencing. Lives are torn and shredded by pain, fear, and confusion. Questions are cried into pillows at night as circumstances become unbearable. Yet in the morning light smiles endeavor to replace tears, the fears are buried beneath careful lies that everything is going fine and we don’t really need anyone’s help.
If there is one thing humanity is accomplished in doing it is in lying! I know I just made an absolute statement that will more than likely result in a bevy of comments telling me I cannot make absolute statements. Well, I stand by my words because we have all been conditioned to lie about our lives; we have been tricked into believing we are somehow able to handle life on our own. The lie that we can stand alone echoed down from the Garden of Eden and was refuted in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Jesus sought help, comfort, and companionship at the most difficult moments of His life, so how can we honestly believe we can do what He couldn’t? Many times through His life and forward from that Thursday night until His crucifixion Jesus was in need of those He loved. It isn’t any different for us, especially when we stand beaten and bloodied by the dysfunction of this world in which we dwell. Jesus knows the need we each face as we strive to do life in a world intent on destroying us. That need is for Him and each other.
Only as we recognize our need for each other will we be able to experience the power that will amaze nations as they see what they have not been able to see and encounter the One who is able to alter our lives. There is no way for me to tell you how completely weary I am of being ill, how tired of being treated as one who is trying to work the system. Life would be so much easier if I were able to work than it is to have to face the endless questioning of my disability and health issues. On some days the beatings seem to be too much, more than I am able to bear!
Along came Andy at one of those moments, a divine appointment sent to refocus me on the “all surpassing power” of God. He ministers to our hearts even as He is ministering to the heart of another. The ministering of the Holy Spirit works to actively heal us and the ghosts begin to pale a little more with each passing encounter of the risen Savior, Jesus Christ. In these moments of divine encounters with those God brings into our lives we are reminded of God’s Grace, love, intimacy, and the passion He has for those He has created!
It’s not an easy thing to live life on this fractured world with all its destructive terrors! However, we are not alone; the One who was unrecognizable will appear before the nations in all His salvation glory bringing with Him everything He has promised!
Even today with all our internal fears, guilt, shame, and everything else the enemy throws in our faces, God’s truth dictates that because of the divine appointment Jesus had with humanity we never have to be the same or accept the status quo, period! Although I do not have all the answers, I believe in the One who does have all the answers I need even for questions I haven’t thought up or had to face!
Andy is just one of many divine appointments I have encountered along this adventure we call Grace in Process. I believe there will be many more to come. Tally Ho, adventure awaits!
“For I have every confidence that nothing—not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing—can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 The Voice