20 April 2012
“… and David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?”
“Pursue them,” He answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue” (1 Samuel 30:8,b).
These are the words of the Lord to the David at Ziklag after David inquired of the Lord. In the midst of David’s distress he did not run not to people or to other gods – but to the only living God, YHVH.
In a few verses before that we read: “David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God” (1 Sam. 30:6). One outstanding characteristic of David was that he found his courage and his strength in Lord his God. Who of us haven’t been at a place in our lives where we could also have said that we were bitter in spirit? That was when you heard the voice of your Goliath telling you that you weren’t going to make it; that you aren’t good enough; that the situation is beyond repair… or when the pain is just so intense that you don’t know how you will go on. Our souls get weary and sometimes discouragement is lurking to take over. Listen to what David said when he felt this way:
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God (Psalm 42:11).
When we feel this way we must quiet our soul, and when we become still we must give it all to God – we must totally surrender all our pain. Then you will hear His voice telling you: “My kingdom is at hand for you, My child. Put your hope in Me. Don’t look at your circumstances, but trust Me.”
The royal dominion of the King is at hand, and it is near to all of those who desire fellowship and oneness with Him. We cannot overcome a broken or grieved soul out of our own strength. This wonderful King Jesus Christ – Yeshua the Messiah – in all His royal dominion desires to draw near to the broken people of His Kingdom. He desires you and me! He wants us to stand up and find healing in Him and to live our lives with joy again. He is the one who is holding on to our loose ends.
In Genesis 3 we read that after Adam sinned and caused the fall of mankind, that “Adam lived”. This Hebrew word “zoë” for “lived”, can also be translated as “to live again.” Maybe you are shattered and broken in your soul today, or have been for a long time, then I want to encourage you – you will live again! Because in Christ is life, zoë life.
We all need to endure in this restoration proses. In pursuing this zoë life you will find strength that you did not even know you had – because you are in Christ, and when you are weak then He is strong (see 2 Cor. 12:9). I did not know that I could fight so hard, run so fast, pray so fervently, and trust in GOD alone in the face of so much hell while facing my Giants. It has nothing to do with me or my own strength – it was, and still is, all because of Christ’s strength. Many times I am surprised at the intensity of our pursuit, but it is the good fight of faith we are fighting, and our strength is found in Christ and not in our own abilities. And finally, at the end of it all, it all comes down to LOVE.
We had to pursue zoë life when the negative reports came in from the hospital, when they said that Aldo would never walk or talk, when had to do battle in spiritual warfare, while trusting God for a wonderful wife for Aldo – and even just for the small challenges we faced every day. We had to keep on pursuing when people threw darts of negative words and criticism about our way of trusting God. Yes, we had to pursue, and we still have to pursue, in the midst of our tears. We will keep on pursuing until the Word of God manifests in our lives and we build our future only on Him and His words.
What kept us going was our belief that God knew best and that He sees the big picture. Maybe it was not the way we wanted it, or exactly what we prayed for, but regardless of our circumstances we pursued in loving God unconditionally. We must pursue until His Kingdom becomes the reality of our lives, knowing that it is not about our earthy desires that need to be met, but that for Him it is all about souls that need to be saved.
Yes, we are still pursuing, and as we pursue I can see that we become less and that Christ becomes more – it is a process of sanctification. It is only by God’s grace that we find our strength in Him to keep on pursuing, because He opens our hearts to know that there is more to this life – there is a life of abundance in His Kingdom and through His righteousness.
We pursue through prayer and petition. He takes our prayers and He adds them to the incense that is burned on the golden alter before the throne in heaven, like it says in Revelations 8:3: “Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne.”
I still pray every day of my life, every night of my life… I pray, and pray, and keep on praying… and when I am too weak to pray He raises someone else up to stand in the gap for me. Many times when I have pursued in prayer I have heard the voice of the Lord so clearing asking me, “Retah, will you pray for this one, or that one…” Intercession is such an important key to life! When Job prayed and made intercession for his friends after his ordeal, their lives were changed forever: “... My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly” (Job 42:8).
Jacob worked seven years for Laban in order to marry Rachel. For the sake of love he pursued. The Word even says that those seven years seemed to him like a few days because of the love he had for Rachel (see Gen. 29:20). After the seven years Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Rachel’s sister Leah. When Jacob found out about the treachery he made a deal with Laban to work for another seven years for Rachel – and he did it all for the sake of love. Jesus Christ also pursued the road of Calvary a because of his love for you and me – He did all for His bride.
Each of us are walking on a unique road of faith, and I am sure we all face challenges. I meet so many different people around the world and so many of them have pain in their soul. I can see the pain in their eyes, and I understand! Some don’t want to pursue anymore, while others keep going forward one step at a time. So many ask me: “Can we live again in the midst of these tribulations? I lost my baby… my child died… my husband walked out on me… I got retrenched…” The answer is yes, yes, yes! Because nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
The Word of the Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever; just as He is the same. He won’t ever change. We need to be rooted in His love and not only want what is in His hand. This unquenchable love is grace and mercy to all of us, even if you experience defeat in certain battles in your life. Remember what David said: “I find my strength in the Lord my God!”
I want to tell you today that you can live again! In Genesis 9 is says that after the flood Noah lived again (NIV version). To live again also means to recover the joy of life again. Please remember these words today: there is always an “after.” After Noah experienced trials, abandonment, loneliness, fear and many more – he lived again. Noah walked out his calling not only to obey Gods voice, but also to raise up Godly sons and daughters who follow the living God. In order to do that Noah had to lay down his own life.
Maybe you feel your destiny is lost… I want to tell you today that there is no such thing as a lost case. Stay humble before God even when you wrestle with your pain, be transparent in His presence and don’t hide your pain. He will raise you to live again and your joy will be restored. The best part of this process is that you will come into this wonderful place of contentment. You will be at peace with who you are, with what you have, and with the calling that God has destined you for. You will start enjoying life again, but it will be so different from before. Nothing of the world will be a part of your new joy. It is a heavenly joy that comes from being rooted in Christ’s love, and knowing that you are unconditionally loved by your Abba Father. And after you have done – just stand!
The Lord calls us to a higher place today; a place where we will stand up and worship Him in the midst of our trials. He wants to make us whole. You can live life again in the midst of whatever your pain is, because His love is an unconditional love – the price has been paid.
I can feel how the joy of life is flowing back into our lives. We are laughing again regardless of our imperfection; we are starting to go out and do things together – no matter if we get a few odd stares; we are starting to travel together – no matter the challenges we have to overcome with Aldo through the long flights; Tinus and I have started jogging again after many years of not wanting to do physical exercise in front of Aldo. I see how Aldo and Chans enjoy living their lives in their own unique and way, not according to the world’s standard of perfection. They are living according to God’s way, just enjoying each other’s company in simplicity. The often go for a coffee or an ice-cream in the afternoons and then they hurry home because Aldo gets tired quickly, but they don’t let that stop them from going!
This journey has taught me to enjoy every second of life! Even if it only drinking a late-night cup of coffee with Tinus while sitting in his lap, looking into his eyes and saying, “Thank you for standing with me.” He always replies, “Thank You Jesus for helping us stand.”
It is a brand new life, a life in Christ!
Reach for that – step by step – peace and life in Christ.
Retah and family.