This year has probably been one of my hardest to date. I am not sure it is a season that I would have coped with at any other time, but somehow God has given me the strength to keep walking forward. Daily, I have to make the choice to trust in Jesus and what He promises despite the circumstances before me and I have realised that it is truly a choice. At times like these it takes an effort of will to keep my focus on Him and not on the anxiety and uncertainty that surrounds us.
These are not new revelations, but I have found I need to do three things in order to strengthen my faith.
The first is to remember my past. To remember the many times when I have felt stuck and had no path forward. How God has answered my prayers, provided for me, healed me miraculously and spoken directly into my situation on many an occasion. This reminds me that He is real and actively interested in me. Father God is my provider, protector and healer.
The second is to feed on the Word of God. To meditate on the promises in the bible. To remind myself of these promises and to let Him speak to me through the verses that I read.
The third is to worship. Sometimes this starts as a sheer act of will, a sacrifice of praise, but soon it shifts and worship becomes almost like a balm to my soul. It quietens my fears and reminds me of who He is. It supercharges me.
I suppose it is surprising that I don’t list prayer in this list. Of course, it is incredibly important, but when I am struggling my prayers can feel ineffective and God can seems distant. I am sure He still hears all my prayers (which are often as simple as “Jesus Help!”), but I struggle to hear Him, if I don’t take the time to sit and remember and read and worship.
Last night my daughter climbed onto our bed and started randomly jumping/running/ stamping and waving her arms in the air (she is 2 years old). She had a huge grin on her face as she said, “Dancing for Daddy”. Daddy wasn’t even in the room, so I had to call him to come and appreciate his daughter delighting in his delight and love for her.
That must be what our Abba Father feels when we dance for him. I am sure He delights in this expression of worship from even the most unskilled of dancers. I come from a “gently charismatic” Anglican background and any form of dancing in church would lead to stares, frowns and possibly a request to restrain oneself. I am not actually sure what would happen as no-one has attempted this feat in my knowledge. Why when we are in the presence of the King do we worry so much about what other people might think. We become inhibited in a place where we should be our most free.
David danced before the Lord with wild abandon. We know that God approved of this selfless act of praise. When our bodies join in with our hearts and minds in celebrating the Lords goodness, the Holy Spirit sits up and takes notice and Jesus comes into the room to be present and to watch us delighting in Him. Perhaps dancing in church is to much for some (people and congregations). Maybe we could start in our homes (with the curtains drawn and the doors closed if need be). Turn up the worship music and “dance for Daddy”. Who knows where we may end up dancing…
I am busy looking at the life of David and have noticed something for the first time. In 1 Samuel 15 Samuel anoints David with oil and the Spirit of the Lord is on David. Then in 1 Samuel 16 David goes to play the harp for Saul. This is because the Spirit of the Lord has left Saul and an evil spirit has taken its place. Now the interesting bit for me is that the evil spirit leaves Saul when David plays the harp.
David does not pray for him or cast out demons. He plays music. He is filled with God’s spirit and a creative act has a direct effect on the spiritual realm. I find that really inspiring. I am becoming increasingly aware that as artists we have access to and a direct influence on the spiritual world. I think this applies to either side of the fence.
It is time Christian artists stood up to be counted amongst God’s army as legitimate members of the body of Christ.