Lessons I Learned in the Promised Land
My life has been one of marketing, whether I was in direct sales, fund raising, planning events – I was always marketing something. If I believe in something, I can sell it; absolutely, no question, I realize that this is one of my gifts.
The problem is I realize that there is something that I cannot market – me.
I am not sure why this is, I am an author, blog writer, Bible teacher, wood worker, but to let people know these things about me, well I have a hard time sharing this info.
It was for this very reason that I went to Israel last year.
Here is an excerpt from the back cover of my new book: Lessons I Learned in the Promised Land, which I just finished and released this month:
“I did not want to go to Israel, in fact I argued with God when He told me He wanted me to go, I was going to Scotland. I had decided in my heart that my next trip would be England, Scotland and Ireland, but alas, my way was not the way that won in the end.
Now, knowing what I know, would I have changed it and gone to Scotland instead? Not on your life! Israel met more than my wildest imaginations ever could have imagined.
I was asked by the group that I was going to join in Israel about why I wanted to come, I dared not tell them that I really did not want to. Put on the spot with this question I racked my brain for an answer and out came something like this:
“I want to go because I think I settle instead of expect God to show up. I think I am willing to take the leftovers instead of thinking God will show up extravagantly. I want to know the God of the extravagant and I know He wants to show me that is who He is. I want to break off my thinking that I am only worth settling for, I want the dump truck, not the little pieces. I want to know the God of the extravagant. Guess what? He showed up!”
I believe that many of us, if we were truly honest with ourselves, would say that at this time in the world of the corona virus we feel defeated. Isolated alone in our houses, not allowed to do this or not allowed to do that, we have given up on hope and replaced it instead with fear and are willing to take the leftovers. Our fear is not really in the virus, it is in the fact that we think God has been beaten or worse: He has forgotten us.
We feel that this pandemic is so large, so unprecedented, so unfamiliar that there is a part of us that fears that perhaps, God is maybe not noticing. Perhaps we think, that if we had a small bit of faith, God would show up and save us by the skin of our teeth. That my friends is wishing for the leftovers.
This is the Creator of the Universe we are talking about! He never simply saves us by the skin of our teeth. NEVER. When He shows up it is ALWAYS BIG AND HE ALWAYS BRINGS THE DUMP TRUCK!
I experienced this in Israel.
I feel like the mood of many people today is the same mood the disciples experienced once Jesus was dead, hanging there on the cross. To them, if He was showing any signs of breathing or movement, then there was still a chance that He could have come off the cross and save Himself, proving Himself to be who He said He is.
But those disciples ended up taking down Jesus torn, lifeless and broken body, wrapped Him in a cloth and placed Him in a tomb, defeated, all their hopes and dreams shattered. They had thought He was going to be King. He said He was going to be King. Then they hid in fear, in isolation, alone with their thoughts, questioning how they got it so wrong. If Jesus said it, why did He not do it? We wonder similar thoughts today.
What a jolt the disciples got when 3 days later, His body disappeared from the tomb and some of them saw Jesus and talked with a dead but very much alive resurrected Jesus.
They could not understand it but they could see Him standing right there. He showed up in a very HUGE way. In a way not one of them could understand. In a way that not one of them could have imagined. In a way that showed the entire world who He truly is. He showed up in His own time, His own way and very much according to the plan of the Bible.
Do bad things happen to people? Absolutely they do. But they do not happen without the knowledge of this very same Jesus. The one who also said in His plan that He is coming back again and when He does, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord. Philippians 2:10-11 It will be the Dump Truck!
We do NOT serve a small God. Our small amount of faith does not negate who He is! The creator of everything, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. He knows it all!
We can follow along behind this world into fear, in distrust or we can believe in the very same Jesus who said, “I will never leave you or forsake you,” Hebrews 13:5
He is really holding us up.
It has almost been a year since I was in Israel and this book has remained stuck on my computer for most of this time. The trip changed my life, it was mind blowing, it was more than I could have ever imagined. It was not that I did not wish to publish my story, more it was fear of man and the fact that I could not answer the questions: “why me?” We, you and I, have this same question today.
I cannot blame anyone for this question because I could not and still cannot answer it myself, so I sealed up the hope of sharing my experiences. Just like we think God cannot stop the virus and heal people. That is until God convicted me, this month, of being selfish, afraid and not sharing the extravagant gifts He had shown me, more scared of the questions of man then the consequences of disobeying God.
Are we more scared of the virus than relying on God?
Consequences that come with fear threaten to unsettle us, make us weak, take our confidence and halt our faith. Those are not the ways of God. God says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.: Proverbs 3:5-6
The Bible does not say you will understand it, it simply says “trust”. What a stretch that is for us, if we cannot control it, cannot see it, cannot understand it, how can we possibly trust? God never says He will explain it, He simply says “trust me”.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
He showed up in Israel for me and He has shown up time after time for the people in the Bible, in Big and Amazing ways. Guess what? He is not finished yet!
Do not look at what is before your eyes, look up and keep looking up, knowing that God who knows all, is not absent, forgotten or asleep. He is the God of the extravagant, the God of the Dump Truck – and He does not do things small. I for one expect Him to show up!