February 11th will forever be noted on my calendar as my dad’s new birthday.
The verse that came to me was Romans 9:16 — “So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.”
In the past 10 years, I’ve undergone various phases of suffering, praying, indifference, fighting, wishing, hating,… Before 2010, I willed him to get saved so I could get baptized. After 2010, I willed him to get saved so I could go to the FTT. During the FTT, I ran with my team, my house, my prayer companions, my trainer to hasten his salvation so I could stay a second year.
His baptism was of none of that. It was of God who shows mercy.
How can I say that so assuredly? Because I had no expectation, no hope, no thought of it. It was a gospel meeting (and his first, now that I think about it), yes, but he had declined baptism so many times before that it just ceased to be on my radar. Plus I was busy praying for my coworker to be open to salvation.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts…” – Isaiah 55:8
Now I finally know what this first part of this oft-recited verse means.
I guess I still don’t have the full utterance for the enormity of what had happened. In immediate terms, it proved the Spirit’s ability to convict and move man’s heart; it testified to the universe that “the Lord hath won; at length he yielded”; it put God’s enemy to open shame. In the larger view of things, it answered the prayers of so many burdened for my family over the years; it manifested some of the Lord’s hidden operation throughout the GTCA; it added some nuance to the “why” of my not being able to finish the FTT; it was the impossible (to me and my mom) made possible.
What else is there to say?
But to Him who is able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power which operates in us,
To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all the generations forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:20
I didn’t even think of it, let alone ask. This superabundantly above way is God’s way. And I worship and exalt Him.
Along similar lines, my takeaways from the overflow meeting:
“For the country girl to become the Shulammite was Solomon’s doing.” – Lee, Crystallization-Study of the Song of Songs, Message 12
Of Him, not of me. His doing, not mine. Isn’t that so much better, so much safer? I have a new appreciation of the classic banner song:
As we become the same as Christ,
In life, nature, expression, and function;
We are qualified to work with Him for His Body.
As we trust in the Lord helplessly,
Depend on Him as our love and strength
And listen to His speaking
Our hope is to be raptured through the redemption of our body.
And, finally, what br RL shared:
“…we do not know what to do; but our eyes are upon You.” – 2 Chronicles 20:12
Lord, my eyes are upon You.