God is moving today, amen? God is always moving—praise him! He’s moving in our lives, pursuing us with his love, wanting us to thrive… even if we can’t seem to hear his voice. Is God not speaking—is it possible we’re missing him? Tune in for a fiery faith pep talk that… God gave me as I recorded this episode. He’s got so much for us this season, friends. Let’s say yes! Only abundant life with the Lord.
Listen via Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Keep up with the latest updates by following You Are You Podcast on Instagram! Below is a transcript of the episode.
Today I logged on to Instagram and saw a Story from an acquaintance from the food blogging scene in Hong Kong. She’s currently at a government quarantine camp — a close contact of hers had gotten COVID and she was asked to go to the camp. Outside her door, they placed an upside-down bucket so that when deliveries come, they can be placed on top of the bucket. Then she accidentally nudged the bucket and, lo and behold, underneath it was a dead, dried-up lizard. She commented that the little guy was under the bucket for too long… When people saw her Story, they commented things like “It's a metaphor for everybody in Hong Kong right now...”
Throughout the pandemic, we have all suffered in various ways. Maybe the bucket is closed borders. Maybe the bucket is a cloud of depression. Maybe the bucket is joblessness after seeking for so long. Whatever it is, with God we know that we don't have to stay shriveled up even if we feel shriveled up. If we're alive, God has a plan for our good. He is our living water. He is our daily bread. We can seek him and seek the life that he has for us.
The lizard situation also reminded me of a conversation I had with God earlier this morning.
God, the all-knowing One
Do you ever feel like, when you sit down to reflect, that there are so many moments throughout the day where God is speaking to you? Sometimes, maybe we're so busy that we just remember that one time last week where God gave us that specific download. Or sometimes, maybe we feel like we haven’t heard from God in a while — that God is silent this season. But I think often God is speaking to us and we miss it because we’re distracted. During those times where we feel like God isn't speaking, I pray we press in and we continue seeking him. May we fast, pray, wait… for God says that those who seek him will find him, and he never lies, right?
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
I'm recording this in the evening and I basically spent all day doing my best to wait on God because there are certain big things in my life that I really want an answer to. It's been hours of waiting — hours of just lying down, trying to process the emotions, and waiting. Not hearing anything. Then worshiping and not hearing anything. Praying. Taking a nap. And now as I'm recording this podcast, I'm realizing how a download from this morning relates to that Story that I saw earlier, which relates to my Bible passage of the day, which relates to things that I'm continuing to pray about. And what I thought was this long period of waiting and not hearing today… I realize now that actually I have heard from God a lot today.
God, the gardener
This morning after I read my Bible, I streamed service and the sermon was basically all about the importance of forgiveness. Now that Hong Kong has… I want to say exited the fifth wave but it's sort of a phased exit. As of Thursday, restrictions have started to lift. But anyway, our pastor was basically saying that sometimes when physical restrictions lift, it seems like life is getting back to normal. We are moving forward. But we need to be careful that we’re not carrying hurt from previous seasons into the new season — so we can truly move forward.
He told a story of how he needed to get his appendix out when he was a child. But after the appendix was out, he still needed time to heal. Just because the problem was removed, it doesn't mean the healing is complete. And for many, there may be a lot of anger and unforgiveness as we’re coming out of this phase whether it’s towards people or policies. We need to be careful that we’re not letting bad fruit — like bitterness or quarelling — come with us. To remember that we are to shine God’s light in this world — always but maybe especially during this period where so many are hurting. We know there is a better way. At the end of the sermon, during closing worship, there was a time for reflection — a reminder to seek God on what he might have for us to release to him today.
Sometimes, as much as I know that God loves me, I can still go into these sessions being like, “Ooh, God, don't yell at me.” You know? I think I need to sit with God and deal with that. I guess I know there are areas where I need to grow. In the past couple of podcast episodes, I've mentioned how I'm definitely in a new season in various respects. And with that, with these new experiences, these new opportunities, I am realizing areas that I thought were healed are not fully healed. Places where I thought I'd matured maybe aren’t as mature as I thought. But getting to walk it out and having these new opportunities to share with God… it’s awesome.
God is pruning.
God is revealing.
God is shaping.
God is changing.
Whenever we come across these opportunities, may we give thanks that God loves us so much that he is lovingly and gently revealing them so that we can go to him and rely on his Spirit to overcome — never our own strength!
As I reflected during the reflection time, I saw a vision of this fresh flower with large petals, beautiful colours, and the sun was shining on it. It was so beautiful. And I felt God ask me, “How does a flower stay fresh?” It needs to be properly watered. It needs enough sun. It needs time to grow. It needs someone to cut off rotting leaves. It needs time for its roots to grow deeper. An experienced gardener knows what the flower needs in each and every season — how to nurture and protect it. And the flower can become food for others. It can emanate a sweet fragrance. It’s pleasing to the eye. People are attracted to it and may pause to think about who made it and who it belongs to. He reminded me that we are all more precious than flowers to God and more intricately cared for.
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! (Luke 12:27-28)
God, show us what you see
I think we all know this truth. It's just, as we go through life, as we go through different situations, as the pressures pile on, as we think of solutions… our minds can go into overdrive. We can over think, we can over plan. We can compare, we can covet. We can want to dwell on our feelings. There are so many opportunities to rely on ourselves, on our minds, on other humans, rather than going to God. And it might be especially tempting if we think we aren’t hearing from God — or not in the way that we want to. But may we remember that as God's children, we will only thrive and be the best that we can be if we do life with him and obey him. He wants us to thrive in the path that he has placed us on.
In those times where we feel shriveled, like we've been under this bucket for too long, may we:
Go to God and ask him to show us what he sees.
Take the food that he is offering
Wrap ourselves in his love
Confess all of our hurts and our anger,
Surrender to having the rotting leaves and the bad fruit cutoff
How wonderful that we can go to God for water and nourishment. Why would we bother going to lesser sources when we can have the choicest morsels from the God of all creation? Let’s encourage one another to do better — to seek God more and do what he is saying.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)
May we take our identity and responsibility as God's children seriously. And with joy, may we pass on the abundant love that he has so freely poured out to us and be wise, follow him and really just enjoy walking in the knowledge that we are daughters of God.
This week, wherever we go, whatever we face, let's do our best to seek God with all our hearts and just see where he takes us. Let's see where we are in a week. He's got so much for us this season, friends. Let's not miss it but encourage each other and share and testify. In Jesus's name, I pray. Amen.