I have recently made a decision. For me it was massive. For a very small number it was big. For others it was just another decision. But the entire world, minus a small handful, was blissfully unaware.
In this online community of followers, questioners, doubters, and followers of something else I have only now realised something even more important. That the community of our Father “here” just might be connected more than the community of local church here. And that I take for granted that others in this online community will hear God guiding my guiding – that they will be tuned in to my guidance in their own guidance – that the Lord really does speak through others to speak to us. And I only realised how much I take all that for granted here – because of the absence of any in local church life here. Apart from one who spoke.
Take it to the Lord in prayer?
How often we pray for others, are asked to pray for others. But how rarely we “talk with God” in others about “stuff” in our own lives – other than a coded “please pray for me”. It is a side of fellowship I have come to value in this online community. A side of fellowship that makes hearing God much easier. One might call it “group discernment”. And if you are unfamiliar with how “it works” – here is how it works for me …
I will simply seek out and chat with one or more of those I fellowship with. I will chat through whatever it is I feel I am guided to or from. Because I know that as I chat – they are listening not just to me – they are also listening to their own God Soft Hands Jesus. They are tuned-in to the same God as me. And they will hear something. Often it is the same yes or no as I am hearing – often it will be the absence of a yes or no – it will be a silence. And that silence is as valuable as yes or no. The silence means that I may not be hearing 100% clearly, but my guidance is in “the same ballpark”, that my intended decision is not catastrophic – it is not dangerous (and may cause me to delay or make a decision). I also do the same with others – what is God saying to me? A “by-product” is that it removes personal preference. If we are truly guided by God, then “hearing” what He has to say may be the exact opposite to our own advice – our own preferences – our own decisions.
And my thought is this – locally we seem intent on having fellowship so long as we can remain in control. That we control what we do, what God does through us, how we work for God.
And that is not damaging. It is not even a sadness on my part. It is simply a new awareness of something I had “lost” in the plethora of stuff that is church life locally. Locally we talk of a prayer life. Locally we have prayer groups that pray for others. We have house-groups that talk about others. That pray for each other. And even though we talk about the Voice of God as one of the elements of worship and relationship – the reality of “group connection” in this way of guidance seems rare.
In this online community one of those I love told of the time they were on their way to tell someone of their decision. It was a decision reached after a lot of thought. A lot of frustration. A lot of asking their God. It was to be an irreversible decision. And whilst they were sitting waiting for their appointment to tell (whoever) how things were to be – their phone rang. It was a fellowship buddy. Who simply said that they had no idea what was going on, it was just God had asked them very assertively to call with a very simple message. That whatever it was they were about to do – God asked them not to (very assertively). That God had pulled this person out of a meeting with the urgency, and this person was simply passing on that urgency: whatever it was – don’t do it! And this person put the phone down and went back to their meeting.
Online or locally we are all connected. Online or locally we are all fellowship buddies if we allow. And if our “prayer life” is always on behalf of others, is always a shopping list of urgent need for relief of pain and illness and poverty and persecution and “trauma” … how much room does that leave for being connected with our Loving Father in each other? For the “small stuff” – the stuff of all our lives week after week?
I said earlier I had no sadness at the absence of “that” locally … I have such a fire of hope.
I have hope that if these connections can begin to spark, that is these connections are “played with” by others, that is these connections become as real for others as they are for the few I have been drawn towards – then just imagine the power we draw upon … just imagine the power that “when one or two or gathered in my name” we both realise and release …
Isn’t the reality that we all believe we are insignificant – unworthy – not up to very much at all – not like those we read about.
But isn’t the truth that we are ALL as “insignificant” as the disciples, as the saints, the heroes, the heroines of the bible – each one of us is them – each of them was “insignificant” before they allowed … before the were guided … before they were who they have become in our minds … Because in this fallen world we bemoan so often – on this glorious gift of a planet that sustains and nurtures such a glowing tapestry of flourishing life …
Imagine the power we followers release in each other if we truly are drawn together in our everyday life. Not just a prayer life for others in need and ourselves in our unworthiness. But a “prayer life” of connection and affirmation in our daily living.
Imagine the power we draw in those decisions we might (never) make on our own with our God – when WE stay in control – when WE call (and don’t) the shots – when WE decide what is possible and what is not! Imagine being released from what we think is possible …