I’m a church planter. I send out prayer letters.
It’s tempting in these newsletters to “hype” what’s happening at Riverside, trying to put our best foot forward. After all, everybody wants to know they’ve prayed for something that’s successful, right? Well, we’re learning that success in God’s eyes has more to do with how much we grow in Christ-likeness than with how quickly we grow our numbers.
These lessons don’t come without some heart ache and a few soul-searching moments. Here’s one I experienced in the Fall of 2007:
During a recent twenty-four hour silent retreat, I brought the questions of my thirsty soul to God. I took a long walk throughout that mountain retreat center and spent considerable time looking into the crisp, clear October night sky. Without the usual glow of artificial light to conceal what is real, I saw stars and constellations I barely knew existed. “I just want to know what’s going to happen,” I complained. “Is this church plant going to make it? What have I gotten us into?” I griped to God like the people of Israel moaned to Moses in the desert. “Have I invited these people to follow me into the desert to die of thirst? Would you have us start Riverside Church just to see it dry up in a matter of months?” I waited for an answer from heaven, but it seemed there was no reply written on the night sky.
After an awkward silence, God answered me with a picture. All at once my eye was drawn to the Big Dipper constellation, and the Lord turned the questions on me. “Do you see how big this dipper is? If it was full of water, would it be enough for your thirst? Am I enough for you, thirsty one? No matter what the future holds, will I be enough for you?” (When the answers to my questions come in the form of questions, I know I’m probably hearing from Jesus. He was prone to pose questions to those who put questions to Him.)
Before I could answer, He continued, “Yes, I am enough for you. I will be your supply.” As I gazed at the stars that night, the Lord reminded me that He would be my Big Dipper, and that no matter what season of drought may come, He would be my supply.
In what dry place are you crying out to God with a thirsty heart? He’d like to know, “Am I enough for you, thirsty one?”
He’d like you to know, “I Am.”
[I’ve posted this one before, but I recently read it again and was encouraged by it. God’s question is just as appropriate today as it was then. Maybe even more so.]