At the Presence meeting at the start of this year the Lord highlighted to me the following verse from Jeremiah 6:16:
"Stand at the crossroads and look
Ask for the ancient paths,
Ask where the good way is and walk in it,
And you will find rest for your souls."
Stand. Look. Ask. Ask. Walk."
This same verse was echoed from across the room.
Another verse was highlighted with another promise, Isaiah 40:31:
"Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles
They will run and not grow weary;
they will walk and not be faint."
What I believe the Father was saying to us was that we have stood and asked consistently where the good way is, He sees that, and He has been faithful to speak. However, there is a time to move from standing still to moving forward along the path He has set out for us. We have to take action and not stand around continuing to ask without walking and running with purpose, energy and commitment.
He promises peace and rest if we move forward, He promises to give us renewed strength as we hope in Him. He, therefore, expects that we will run along the path He has laid out and is leading us on. He goes before us and calls us to keep up! Follow Him! Because He is going to transform Huddersfield for Jesus and we get the privilege to jump on board and be part of that amazing opportunity for Kingdom change.
Interestingly God challenges us, I believe, in another scripture, He has spoken while many have been praying for the Oasis Centre/Springwood area over the past year.
"Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past,
See, (Look) I am doing a NEW THING!!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way (path, route) in the Wilderness and streams in the Wasteland."
The Father is doing a new thing and it is not going to be how it has been done in the past… He says forget that, stop going back to the past and how things were done then. That was the best for then but not for now.
This is a new season and He asks the questions: Are we getting it? Do we recognise it? Do we understand?
I love God’s challenges, they get me excited and motivated to continue the journey with Him. It’s the way I grow, by paying attention to His rebukes and little nudges in my spirit that may be uncomfortable.
He is challenging us… How do we handle new things? Things being done a new way provokes emotions in us that may unsettle us or disturb us. We can be less comfortable with change than we like to admit, but we have a Father who will strengthen us, give us peace and enable us to soar on wings like eagles if we trust Him with all our heart.
If He is doing the ‘new thing’ we are secure. We need to pray for an increase in faith so we can trust Him wherever He wants to take us for His Glory.
This does not mean it will be easy and free of trouble. A life lived with God is a life of perseverance and endurance as most of you will know; sometimes at the start of new seasons it is good to remind ourselves of that.
God gave Jeremiah a little 'telling off' when he was worn down by opposition and feeling sorry for himself. I found this when reading the amazing book about reflections on the life of Jeremiah by Eugene Peterson called Run with the Horses! This made me smile and I guess we’ve all been there… Rather than God comforting him and saying ‘There, there, Jeremiah, it’s OK. Give, yourself a break' in Jeremiah 5:12 He said:
“So Jeremiah, if you’re worn out in this footrace with men, what makes you think you can race against horses? And if you can’t keep your wits during times of calm what’s going to happen when troubles break loose like the Jordan in Flood?"
He expected excellence from Jeremiah despite the difficulties he faced and did not expect him to quit at the first wave of opposition. God called Jeremiah to live courageously, pursue righteousness and sustain a drive towards excellence. He promised him adequate strength to fulfill his destiny.
I believe that the Father asks the same of us as a faithful community of Christ-followers. He asks us what will we do when the real race starts along the course laid out for us? Shuffle along with the crowd? Or run with the horses?
Jeremiah’s life was the answer to God's question; He counted the cost and ran with the horses.
Let our collective response to God’s call on this church, for this community in Huddersfield, be as the Psalmist cried out in Psalm 119:32:
"I’ll run the course you lay out for me, if you’ll just show me how."