You know sometimes I read about a story of what God is doing in someone else's life and I think, "Man, that person must have the most amazing walk with God!" Before I know, I have put that person on a plain higher than others, and think they must be super spiritual! I know I have done this with musicians, preachers, teachers, pastors, authors, and others. I tend to start thinking they have found the key to living above a normal human being.
I remember the utter SHOCK when I watched the movie "Ragamuffin, The Story of Rich Mullins!" I literally grew up thinking that he had to be the most spiritual person alive to sing songs with such depth, emotion, and passion for his Savior. Then I watch a movie that shows a man who struggled with loneliness, anger, fear, and drinking. Then I saw video clips where he talked about his struggles with pornography. I was literally crushed! I thought to myself, "How can a man sing about an Awesome God and cry out "Hold Me Jesus" if he wrestled so heavily with sin?
However, I also identified with this same man because I know my own heart and the darkness that dwells in it. I know how easily I am brought to the miry clay and like a pig, I roll in it and revel in the depth of my struggles. I see how much I want to accept the glory for things in my life that only God deserves credit for! My heart cries out to be holy, but my flesh screams out to be noticed and loved!
That is why I feel sometimes it is important to just Keep It Real!
I started this journal of God's provisions and lessons to me in order to encourage others to know God is still alive and active and providing for his children. I wanted others to see the amazing story He had done in my life and have hope that He knows their needs and is their to provide as He has promised to do! Not to be a genie in a bottle to give us what we want, but to uphold His word that if we seek His kingdom first, that he would add to us clothing, food, drink, shelter, and all the things the world craves and lust after! So when He did an amazing story in my life I felt compelled to share it! (If you have not read it from the beginning, start HERE)
Amazingly enough though, even after GOD did such a MIGHTY and unbelievable work, and I have shared it with as many as who would listen, I realized this week that maybe to some I had become the guy I talked about in the first paragraph. To some, they see me when I am in the middle of the Passion and glory of what God has done, and they miss the moments I am under the covers hiding in fear because I wonder if tomorrow He is going to finish what He started. Or they miss the guy who tells God's story of giving him a farm (literally) who then turns around and thinks it is by his own efforts that his Barndominium is being built. Yes, I am one and the same guy! I wrestle with a man inside who strives to be noticed, liked, appreciated, and even important enough to contribute to his own story.
That is where these past few weeks have found me. As I forged through anger toward a man building my barn who took 2 months longer to finish than we agreed upon and then wanted to charge me more. I decided to take it upon myself to set him straight (thankfully, and hopefully, god intervened enough to not allow me to do something foolish to damage His good name!) I also took upon myself to figure on how much money I needed to complete the project and figured I had attained the amount and I was sort of giving him glory, but I was really patting my own back and thinking how I had contributed to it.
Praise be to God who loves me enough to crush me once again! He loved me so much that he allowed me to be slapped right in the face with the realization that I was no where close to being able to finish what I had started. As people started asking things about drywall, trim, doors, appliances, floors, kitchen cabinets, I suddenly realized in all my brilliant planning, I had not stopped to figure on those things. Suddenly I realized how desperately short I was going to come up. The unsettling feeling of failing my wife and not being able to give her her hearts desire began to overwhelm me. I sat down and figured over and over how I could fix the situation without asking for help. What all I could sell to finish the Barn House. How could I do it on my own power so my wife, kids, and others would be like, "Ray you sure are an awesome guy to build a place like this and you even gave up (fill in blank) to make it happen!" The truth however was I began to realize I was going to fail no matter what I did, I became overwhelmed with sorrow, shame, and I started to sink into my pit of despair! I found myself in a bed under the sheets, breathing rapidly and crying out, "God, where are you? Have you brought me this far only to abandon me?"
But like I said, what a GOOD DADDY who loves me enough to say, RAY!!!!!!!!!! Do you remember how this all started? How desperate and hopeless you were? What did you do? Yes son, you cried out to your Daddy. You asked Me for things that were seemingly beyond reason. You asked ME to supply what everyone else would say was unthinkable. You asked me in boldness, just like my servant George Mueller, and did I not prove Myself to you? Did I not give you what your heart desired out of the abundance of MY riches? Did I not promise to finish the work I had started? Remember how I reminded you of all the good things I had already done in your life? And do you not remember how I said I wanted you to share this story so people would know I AM here and still doing amazing works among my children? Do you also remember that the purpose of telling the story was that I, God, would receive ALL the Glory! Why have you tried to take back some of this story for your own glory? Why have you tried to do what only I could do? Remember Ray, only I can finish what I have begun! Give me back my story and my Glory!
Wow! Here I was thinking I was riding a wave of closeness to God, yet I was stealing from Him! I was trying to take credit for part of His story, and He is such a loving God, He let me try, he let me fail, so I would again be laying at His feet, where I love to be, crying out to Him! And there, in an instance, He lifted me up, he took off the burden I was carrying, and he said, I Love you Ray, just like you are, even when you try and steal from me! I love you Son, just like I love myself! Give me your heavy burden that you have put on your back, I have got this all covered. You just go back to asking me for all the things you need to finish your home and this thing I began 2 years ago, and watch me in wonder and all as I pour out of MY riches and give you a home. And when it is finished Ray, don't forget to tell them MY STORY and give me ALL THE GLORY! I like you so much kid, I want to use you to show Myself off to my people and to the world around you!
Man, what an AMAZING God! if you are interested, stay tuned as I look forward to God allowing me to one day soon tell you "The Rest of His Story!"