As she remembers…
This week last year, the Lord graciously and faithfully provided a way for me to venture through the land of Israel. My encounter with the ‘Promise Land’ just so happened to interrupt the most conscious season in my life of doubting God’s love for me. It was in the land that I began begging and pleading God to make me so very brave to believe and receive His promises specific and significant for me. And, it was there, in the land that He began to open my eyes, ears and heart to just how specifically and significantly He thinks of and cherishes me.
We met Gamla, one of the oldest synogugues in all of Israel, on our 6th day of hiking. Initially, Gamla was not the first place that came to mind when I thought about the providential ways God revealed Himself to me while in the land. However, looking back a year later, it is evident, that it was here, in Gamla where my Father’s promises for me began to blossom into my present understanding of how He loves.
Though the history, rarity and reverence of Gamla is radically noteworthy, it was in the hike to and from the ancient ruins that captivated my attention. As our shepherd lead us on a worn trail, I began to notice the radiance of these mustard plants that paved the path.
As the hike progressed, this wild vegetation seemed to overwhelm me. The mustard blossoms bloomed high above my stance and blinded my twists and turns ahead. Additionally, as I braced brisk steps for footing among mist covered slippery rocks, a variety of other flowers of every size, color and shape popped up to reassure my awesome wonder. I had never seen such a vast assortment of vibrant wildflowers.
I took note of the immeasurable spread of the mustard plant around me and looked intently into its seed remembering Jesus’ words in Matthew 17:20, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Lyrics by a beloved songwriter, Donna Stuart, surfaced in my heart, “I have dreamt and I have wondered how my scenery would change, if perhaps one day you watered this tiny mustard seed of faith.” So, I began to dream and wonder what my scenery might look like if I came to truly believe God’s love for me as specific and significant. The views were vast, broad, unfathomable, more than I could ever ask or imagine… and as much as I longed and hoped to see those views, I doubted, and cried, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mk. 9:24)
An overflow of my thoughts and wrestlings poured into a conversation that ignited a dear soul friendship on our hike back to the bus, and left these questions feebly chicken scratched in my journal,
- What makes God’s love for me significant?
- How do I know that it’s personal?
- Why do I continue to trust and chase after human love that is not promised, is disappointing and is finite?
- Why don’t I believe that His promised love for me is relentless, lavish, significant and specific enough to fill me?
In reflection of what God stirred inside my heart, I asked Him to show me evidence of ‘his precious and very great promises’ that are specific and significant for me. As I prayed for God to ‘fill my love cup’ each morning upon my return to the States, I began to see that evidence of his precious and very great promises everywhere I turned, and even more so, how He so delighted in showing me how these promises are specific and significant for me.
Then, I remembered Gamla, and how in a field of overgrown mustard plants, in spite of my awareness, there, my Father got me. He swept me off my feet, threw me high into the clouds only to captivate me into His warm embrace.
Not only did my Daddy chase after me through a breathtaking field of wildflowers that day in Israel, but He is in relentless pursuit of me every single moment- lavishly, recklessly, specifically and significantly… His divine power has granted me to his precious and very great promises. (1 Peter 2:4).
In looking back on all of God’s faithfulness since I began praying these prayers a year ago, He has indeed moved mountains, and my eyes have seen miracles. The sky is so much bigger, and I know that His words are true. But even now, I forget. I’m just like the Israelites, losing sight of the wonders of old, letting them slip from my heart and misusing and abusing the land He has promised me. I wresstle. I doubt, and frequently, I put greater confidence in the rickety ways of man to satisfy my desperations as I neglect the promises He so delights in pursuing me for. So as I and remember, I continue to beg and plead, “Lord, make me brave to believe.”
“Brave to Believe”
By Donna Stuart
Have Your way with my heart
Father not my will but Yours
For I know I am chosen and You’re calling me forth
But Father I am frightened
I’m terrified to fail
God of wonders please remind me that You’re here
Cause there is so much more to the story
Father give me eyes to see
As I wade into Your Jordan
Help me walk upon Your seas
I long to cross over to the land You promised me
I feel the weight on my shoulders
LORD make me brave to believe
Tell me where I must go
And Give me Your strength to fight
In this war I’m a soldier
In this war You are light
Father I am willing I trust You with my life
God of Wonders I’m convinced that You are here.
You delivered them from Egypt to the tune of Miriam’s song
You sustained them in the desert all along
So Father help me be like all the faithful before
The souls You reckoned as righteous
cause they believed You are LORD