July 16, 2009

Some Trust in Chariots

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble;
May the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
May He send you help from the sanctuary,
And strengthen you out of Zion;
May He remember all your offerings,
And accept your burnt sacrifice.

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire,
And fulfill all your purpose.
We will rejoice in your salvation,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners!
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.

Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
They have bowed down and fallen;
But we have risen and stand upright.

Save, LORD!
May the King answer us when we call. (Psalm 20)

This Psalm has been a bright shining glimmer of hope in the midst of those days where I find myself overthrown by the reality of the impossible. Those days where I haven't known how I would keep moving. Times where I've wondered whether God was truly with me, even on the single occasion where I began cursing in my prayer time because I was so frustrated at my outward circumstances. I've even felt the voices challenging my faith to believe His Word that "with God ALL things are possible"(Matthew 19:26). Voices love to flood my heart and mind like sharp arrows hungry to celebrate my defeat. I can genuinely say that my faith has been tested over the past several months (and I pray will continue to be tested until the day I die - with the testing comes perfection - James 1). There have been times where I have, be it ever so slightly, entertained the voices of doubt and unbelief in such fundamental faith basics as the existence of God, the resurrection, God's concern for my seemingly insignificant life, the infallible Word, etc. When honesty trumps our fears, haven't we all questioned this or am I more human than most?

How much God has delivered absolute power and might to my spirit during this time of testing continues to shock me. His ways of overcoming doubt/unbelief have been many and varied. He has used primarily Scripture to come alive in my heart, to the point where I sometimes read a passage (like this Psalm) and wonder with astonishment at how beautifully it applies to my exact feelings or situations. My hunger for His word has grown so much and I find that if I don't have a daily dose, I begin to experience the adverse affects. The Lord has also used many friends and family members to speak sweet words of encouragement and support. On occasion, He has used a few key individuals to give me very specific "words" of wisdom/knowledge as outlined in 1 Cor. 12:8 - these have usually come as a total surprise (I have not gone looking for them) and have at times, brought me to tears because of how accurate they are to where I'm at or where I've been. Through it all, He has provided more abundantly than I could have ever imagined.

In the event that you haven't been keeping up with this blog or my walk so far this year, you can fill yourself in here and here. The short and sweet of it is that I left a very comfortable salary job to trust God to use my life 100% for the furthering of His kingdom. Most of my posts are directly attributed to what I've experienced personally as a result of this desire to follow Jesus where He has called me. I hadn't started this blog with the intent of sharing this with you, but it seems to apply appropriately. July marks month seven of having left behind a great job and committing all of my time and attention towards a vision God gave me to raise missionaries out of artists (and anyone else, really - aren't we all, who claim Christ as Lord, missionaries in one capacity or another? I don't believe discipleship-making was ever meant to be optional. "We are all called according to His purpose" - Romans 8:28). In the past seven months my family has never gone without food, water, or a roof over our heads. I haven't received compensation from an employer in those seven months and yet God has allowed us to pay every bill and our mortgage (to be fair, I have had one bank overdraft and the Lord has many times stretched us about as thin as possible). He has provided provision in just about every way possible - the generosity of others, retirement funds, unexpected inheritance money, selling off of earthly possessions, etc. etc. Just this past Sunday I was able to tithe more money to our church (at one time) than I ever had done working a full-time, salaried job. Only God! Now, none of this is to say that I've done even an ounce of it on my own, it was (and will always continue to be) ALL His mercy. Times ahead may still be very tough going - so much work is yet to be done and we have many obstacles/situations to overcome, but God's faithfulness in seeing His plan through has been a daily wonder.

I have likely prayed Psalm 20 nearly every day for the past three months, that's how much it has meant to me. If you are enduring any trial, testing, tribulation, or any obstacle larger than what you are able to accomplish, I'd encourage you to begin the daily meditation of this passage. You should also look at it in different translations (I love Bible Gateway for this). Here's the same passage from "The Message":

God answer you on the day you crash, The name God-of-Jacob put you out of harm's reach,
Send reinforcements from Holy Hill,
Dispatch from Zion fresh supplies,
Exclaim over your offerings,
Celebrate your sacrifices,
Give you what your heart desires,
Accomplish your plans.

When you win, we plan to raise the roof
and lead the parade with our banners.
May all your wishes come true!

That clinches it—help's coming,
an answer's on the way,
everything's going to work out.

See those people polishing their chariots,
and those others grooming their horses?
But we're making garlands for God our God.
The chariots will rust,
those horses pull up lame—
and we'll be on our feet, standing tall.

Make the king a winner, God;
the day we call, give us your answer.

The Psalm sums it up far better than I ever could. For the sake of a closing statement, please stop trusting in your own chariots or horses. Remember the Name of the Lord your God. May the Lord answer you, May He defend you, May He send you help, strengthen you, and remember every one of your offerings/sacrifices. May He grant your heart's desire and fulfill ALL your purpose. We'll rejoice and set up banners in God's name over your success.

May our King answer you when you call!


Anonymous said...

This is powerful stuff. Thanks for sharing Chad. It's reached me right where I am.
-Ryan Parrish

Josh said...

Thanks for sharing. This is exactly what I need right now. Now I have another scripture to cling to.

Chad Johnson said...

Thanks Ryan & Josh - so thankful that the Lord used this to encourage you both. Praying He continues to guide you deeper into His truth.

love, cj

Chad Johnson said...

Thanks Ryan & Josh - so thankful that the Lord used this to encourage you both. Praying He continues to guide you deeper into His truth.

love, cj