… desert >>> highway …

Last week was such a monumental spread, not because it’s a week marked on calendar for the world to celebrate, not because there is a date marked with price-tagged surprises.  In fact, none of that came to scene!!  It’s a week marks a leaping milestone in my family.   One so concernedly asked me “So how are you doing, Jessy? We have been praying for you and Paul and the girls!”  I am so truly thankful for prayers and concerns raised especially soaking into all the devastated news we had prayed into as of late.  Even with all these devastations heaping on all the unpromising circumstances, I also cannot deny the work of the Spirit shivering down to my bone every day as I wake up to a new day of His, a gift He casts on my hands to squeeze His goodness out from.   One of my favourite writers puts this eloquently :

…. There is physical beauty and vitality that bloom on those in whom God is doing a deep work.  I have seen this so many times –

a brightness in the eyes

a glow in the skin,

a sheen in the hair,

a bounce in the step,

a squareness in the shoulders,

a lilt in the voice – (do all these sound and look familiar??)

when someone is experiencing God’s closeness or distance.  Their bodies tell so.  Their eyes say so.

There is beauty in this hope and this assurance.  There is beauty in their defiance and their acceptance.  There is beauty in their standing in the hope that death can’t steal or destroy…..

He is right, especially when one constantly experiences His closeness at every turn.  Your body is the first signpost that tells you so.  You would be aware the very latitude and longitude readings show where you stand is at the center of His will.  No mistakes.  No second guesses.  No maybes.  No whatifs.  No howaboutthis.  Even as you start to question how accurate its reading is, He would immediately send you promises to shake that away in no time.  It comes to you as a squirrel walking on the power line again for the 3rd time in a row.  It comes to you through a late night hour-long conversation about “what is the meaning of ‘Born Again’, Mami?” with your daughter.  It comes to you through a 2-hour long quietly listening in your husband’s sharing about God’s heart for Cambodia which sent you thrills of shakes as you sat at the end of the phone line, and heard him saying “I could pay lip service into all these facts and statistics.  All are in my head, but now I could say I have seen and experienced what my wife saw and experienced when she was there and what God called her into this ministry.”   This is a loaded statement.  This is a promises-filled statement.  Truly when God grind me into heaps of ashes, that groundbreaking effect also shakes his, as well.

When we both held our hands and prayed for one who is so dear in our hearts that Sunday morning, Paul took the lead to pray over her the entire time when our church shaked its ground on asking for healing.  I wished I remember what was in that prayer, but it was simply a travel on a highway, the Spirit was so powerfully flopping her down to the throne of Grace as we groaned without words, He groans with all the Words He knows how!!  In my mind all I wish is to have her transported into the palms of our interwining hands.  As I opened my eyes, I saw my dear husband dabbing the corner of his eyes.  God breaks his heart as we cried out for His mercy for this precious one.  A life so devastatedly broken and destroyed by so many traumas and hurts.  When we were asked to walk out to the middle of the sanctuary, I could hardly made myself move.  Who needs healing more than her?  Who needs a community of faith to pray for one who needs His healing touch?  Not us, not us at all.  Paul saw that right in the depth of my heart, seized that moment so rightfully, and lifted her up so highly and powerfully for her to be healed and restored.  What a moment to see passed our own need for once, but choose to do something for someone who can never ever repay you!  She will never know at that critical moment, we prayed for her, despite all the time zone differences.  Our faces were raining over her.  Our hearts were agonizing in pain for her.  Our fists grasped tightly with each other as if she were in them, and for once, we would not want to let her go out of our sight.

You have no idea how a desert could, in His hands, become a highway (Isaiah 35).  Yet month after month, weeks after weeks, I found myself in Ratanak meetings which would “turned into war councils, where we plotted strategy to push the kingdom deeper into enemy territory, or where they were parties, where we loudly celebrated God’s many good surprises.”

I see this at work in my brothers’ and sisters’ lives with whom I have the privilege to go on battle every day, when one writer puts,

“When their devotion to God shifts from burden to delight, from struggle to glide.

They read God’s word with hunger and the thrill of discovery.

They pray with a sense of intimate closeness to God.

They experience the joy of the Spirit shivering down their bones, as if what they just thought or said or did tickled God’s indwelling presence in his rib cage, and his laughter shook them.

They seek and enjoy the company of other believers.

They share with wisdom and winsomeness their faith with unbelievers.

It’s as if the narrow way Jesus describes becomes, for a season, broad, smooth, flat, straight.  It’s like the goat path of obedience becomes an autobahn.”

h

We know, Lord, the road you called us to walk on is not getting any easier, nor it is getting any broader or smoother.  However, Your promises enlarged every single pathway into a plain and leveled ground so that Your glory will be revealed, so that all people will see it together.  This passage in Isaiah 40 comes to mind so timely and this becomes my prayers.

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

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