I have good news and I have bad news…which do you want first?
Who actually chooses to hear the bad news last? No one. No one wants to be the receiving end of bad feelings, of worry, anxiety, distrust, stress—the list goes on. But maybe we need a shift in our perspective here. Maybe it's not always about what we feel, maybe it's never about what we feel, but instead about the reality to which we have been called and how we are to enter it. I often find myself needing this perspective shift. What if I—we— started claiming the "bad feelings" in relation to the church body specifically, and calling it blessed. This doesn't mean we are to claim darkness as light, but instead speak the Word of God as truth over it until it turns. It means speaking the Word of God over it so that it will turn. To have that faith that moves mountains and sets captives free…literally...
So. Let's shake it up a bit, let's hear the good news first:
The sisterhood is rising. Within the past two years, our European sisters have claimed ground within ministry and their cities that is literally changing the face of the planet. This past year, Paris held France's first ever national, pentecostal women's conference. Poland, a nation where 6 million were killed in WWII, 3 million of whom were Jewish, where communism reigned up until to 15 years ago, a nation that has literally never in it's history has any kind of movement among it's women, a nation where the church has been said to be decades behind in time because of all the tragedy the nation has experienced; this nation too saw it's first national pentecostal women's conference…45 minutes away from Auschwitz.
The church as a heavenly army is gaining an explosive piece of God and His character with every new feminine heart that rises up to take it's place among her united brothers and sisters.
For we were born for such a time as this.
So what's the bad news?
The list is endless: the Nigerian school-girl kidnapping, natural disasters that claim thousands of lives, the millions of humans being trafficked for work and sexual exploitation every day, the ebola outbreak leaving thousands of children orphaned, a murdering hatred among opposing races, famine, war, lack of clean drinking water...
Our world. Our reality.
Just because we don't see it doesn't mean it isn't real, it doesn't mean it isn't the reality we all live amongst—a lot of which is probably a lot closer to home than comfort would care if we were actually aware. And so we close our eyes and we close our ears. We are concern ourselves instead with what conferences to attend this year, with what Pinterest recipe we should bake with our small group, what picture of our latte is the cutest to Instagram, and what Bible verse would make the cutest caption to go with it.
Hear me out. I'm all for conferences, baking, and instagram-ing my lattes—real life, I instagramed one this morning…with a Bible verse in my caption. I'm for all of those things, but with that is a stronger will that is not for neglecting the reality of my "such a time as this." And the reality is harsh. The reality is dark.
But my hope is stronger. My hope is brighter.
So herein lies a beautiful little nudge for the women of F + B this month: as each new day drips light down into the comfort of our safe, first-world homes, let's not neglect our part in history. Let's not be so occupied with what we see around us that we forget to fight for that which we cannot see, or perhaps simply have chosen not to.
Jesus says those who have not seen Him, but believe, are blessed.
Let's keep believing that our girls will be brought back, that the rise of human trafficking has become a decline instead, that God is exactly who He says He is, and healing is about to sweep the face of the African population facing disease, that though so many have been left fatherless, God will show Himself to them in dreams and visions and that they will rise up as a generation of fathers unlike any in history in strength and faith, that racial division is crushed in the name of Jesus…and let's not just believe it because we are on the tail end of a great church service, conference hype, or social campaign. Let's believe it because God is who He says He is.
Let's believe so that those who we cannot see, the ones living in the same "time as this" as we are aren't irrelevant to our lives, but instead recognized as part of a Holy strategy. Harsh? Maybe. But if we recognize them as anything less than counterparts to our "time as this," if they are counted as anything less than part of His holy strategy, then how relevant can we truly think their lives are? And if we aren't thinking about them more often than not, the answer is simple: we must not think their lives are that relevant.
Let's be done with putting our lattes before people, before souls.
This isn't a fluffy, feel-good charge, it's an urgent one. It is the wake up call that I need weekly, that I need daily. It is one that so many eternities are dependent upon, and it rests in our hands. We are a global church, and we need each other. Simple, beautiful, urgent.
I pray we answer the unheard calls of hopelessness with haste and the word of God, living and active, sharper than a double edged sword. The single weapon that divides deeper than soul and spirit, joint and marrow…may we use it for more good than an occasional Instagram or two.
Our—your—time is now. Rise up, lovely.