Still stirring at midnight, and recompense will come in the morning when the coffee won’t just brew itself, and the minutes won’t kindly wait for me to gain my footing. But tonight has been well spent talking with friends an ocean and a continent away, sharing victories and struggles, praises and prayer requests.
Jesus is ever-present. As it has been said by an oft-quoted preacher, “He [Jesus] can be more real to you than anyone else in the room.” And His Spirit resides within us, comforting, leading, communing with us. But He has ransomed for Himself a people – not just people, but a people. And this faith-walk we’re all taking was never meant to be an individual experience. It’s Jesus and me, but it’s also Jesus and us.
It’s the first week in October, and the other leaders and I take the youth to the annual fall retreat. The theme? Surrender. Identify the thing, the area of your life, the sin that you’re unwilling to surrender to God, and lay it down. Many things come to mind. The call is not simply to just empty your hands, but to take Christ, forgiveness, freedom, victory, joy, peace.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16
I’ve always liked the second half of that verse, and I quote it often. However, I’ve not always been so enthusiastic about the first half. Nonetheless, it is every bit as God-breathed. Do we want to overcome sins? Do we want to be healed? Transparency and vulnerability with the body are so important. And that is why intimacy with the body is so important. And the best way, it seems, to achieve intimacy with other believers is to be transparent and vulnerable! Yes, I see the circular reasoning, and I make no apologies for it. I didn’t make it so; I just observe that it is.
I listen to a sermon online, and the speaker tells me that if revival is to truly come, the people of God are to be broken over their sin with true, Godly, biblical repentance. I read a devotional and a bible study, listen to testimonials at a retreat, and they all remind me of the importance of the body of Christ, of confessing to, confiding in, and praying with other believers. It all comes together, and I make a mad dash for the computer; I know just who to contact. Am I going to sit around and whine, just wishing on a star for spiritual growth, victory, joy, revival? Or am I going to apply the things that God has revealed in His word and through His people?
I, we, have found it does much good to seek prayer and counsel from are brothers. I spent a couple of hours tonight sharing and listening, rejoicing, and taking note of prayer requests. And there’s just a very pure kind of joy in unadulterated fellowship with the saints, no need for pretenses or guards up. And now, after a very nice evening that has left me feeling full in the best kind of way, after forty minutes have passed since my first word typed, I had better try to get some sleep. The minutes are indeed refusing to wait for me.