Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Freedom Calling

"'If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,' says the LORD. 'I will end your captivity...'" Jeremiah 29:13-14

Beneath the shadow of the cross I placed my list of fears and doubts. I didn't want to be just going through motions. I wanted to be free once and for all. This couldn't just be a walk to the front for momentary reprieve, but a sincere surrender and letting go.

As I turned to walk back to my seat, the P31 Speaker Team was standing at the front handing out verse cards to each lady who came forward. These cards had received much prayer, believing that God would orchestrate each pairing of scripture verse and recipient. I saw my friend Melissa close by, so headed in her direction. As I got within a couple of feet of her, Rachel Olsen stepped forward and handed me a card.

Now, you must understand, I have nothing against Rachel. I'm sure she's a lovely gal; I have just never had any contact with her. I had wanted to receive my verse from a friend, so I have to admit, I experienced a moment of disappointment. Melissa saw me however, grabbed me into a hug and I walked back to my seat.

I sat down almost too nervous to look at the promise I held in my hands. What if it had no particular significance? Yet, it must be God's choice. Look at how He had interfered with my plans and arranged my receiving it. I practically had this card thrust into my hands - it wasn't of my choosing.

The lighting was dim, but I was able to read the words I held in shaking hands. It was from Jeremiah 29. "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you" declares the Lord..."

I stopped reading right there for a moment, thanking the Lord for this beautiful promise. Beginning in January of that year I had worked through a Bible study by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, "Seeking Him". More than anything I want to know God. Not just know about Him, but really KNOW Him. I want an intimate friendship with Him. I want Him to be the very air I breathe. I want to experience Him as my all in all. What a precious verse this was to me.

I glanced back at the card and continued reading. "...and will bring you back from captivity." My breath caught in my throat. Tears swelled in my eyes. My friend Lorie leaned over and inquired about my verse. With awe I said, "Lorie, God is going to bring me back from captivity".

I have been bound by shackles of fear and doubt for too long. The prison doors are going to open. Chains are going to be released. I had laid my burdens down and God was promising to unlock restraints that have kept me from experiencing the freedom for which He had already given His only Son to secure. My life has been nullifying the work already accomplished by Jesus on a hill called Golgotha. I have been living deprived of the effectiveness of the cross and denying its power. Christ's last words - "It is finished" resounded through my soul. My bondage is self-imposed, as freedom is mine in Christ.

In awe I read those words again. God is going to bring me back from captivity. This was the exact promise I needed to hear. Again God had spoken. Across thousands of miles He had placed me here at this moment to receive His Word. As I listened closely, my heart heard freedom calling. I recognized it immediately, because it truly had been there all along.

(For the record, I still carry the verse I received in 2005 in my wallet along now with this one from 2008. I pray P31 never stops doing this - God makes it new and personal every year.)

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Lori said...

Oh Joy~I loved reading about this experience you had...the "God moments," in our days keep us clinging to Him. He knows are every need. He puts us in the exact place and reveals Himself at the right moment. Thanks for sharing!
Lori - AZ

~Grace and Peace said...

Thank you for sharing, as Lori said it, your God moment. Isn't He amazing? BTW, I had the conversation I had been dreading last night. I was scared and didn't know what to say or how to start. My younger son comes to me with the bible verses he's memorizing for the upcoming Bible Bee. And he read me Joshua 1:9. In his sweet 9 year old voice, I heard God say "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
God is amazing!


Danielle said...

Oooh! OH! I loved that, Joy. God has been doing a work in me recently--opening my eyes to the fact that I limit Him because of my fears. Fears which I didn't realize I had! PTL for His continual work in our lives!

And thank you for sharing such a sweet experience with us. Love you, sister.

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Self-imposed bondage....well, I guess that pretty well describes me! Oh how I long for the day when I will no longer dwell so much on the things that I am fearful of! You will never know how much you have helped me in that area this past year! Thank you my friend! Mississippi