I promised you we would get practical, and that’s what we’re doing today. Today, we will consider one practice that I believe will position us to more readily recognize and experience the presence of God in our actual lives. That practice is what I call “telling God the whole truth,” which is based off of an encounter recorded in Mark 5: 25-34, where a woman who had been suffering for twelve years experiences the healing power of Jesus and in response “tells Him the whole truth” about what she had been through.
Every single time I’ve turned around, I’ve found myself face-to-face with Him. Right there. He has taken the 10 or the 1000 steps right alongside me, never leaving simply because I failed to see Him. My failure to remember His presence didn’t make Him any less present. My lack of faith didn’t make Him any less faithful.
For so many years, I read the parable of the sower as a description of how other people were going to respond to my words. I read it with the understanding that you and I are called to share the word of God, and I found it a reassurance that I was only responsible for sharing the word—for sowing the seed. I was not responsible for the way that it was received.
And maybe that’s a good reminder, but I no longer think that was the primary intention of the gospel writers as they wrote about the soil.
I asked a question on Instagram the other day about why y’all think you feel more distant from the Lord in this season. The overwhelming majority said that it was because you “lack discipline” in seeking to spend time with Him. I would definitely put myself in that category.
But the thing is, I don’t think we lack discipline just because we are lazy. What if we lack it because we don’t see the value of something? What if we don’t see the worth?
What if we have learned the price of the plowing but forgotten its profit?
I’m old enough not to be surprised that 2021 hasn’t brought the magic cure for 2020, but perhaps I’m still young enough to believe that this year and the last could press us closer to the presence of God in a way that steadies our feet and strengthens our feeble knees for the long-haul of life.
Twenty years ago on December 28, 2000, as a 14 year old high school freshman, I sat at Carrabba’s across from a 24 year old Young Life leader (who I thought was a lifetime ahead of me), and I told her, in halting and hesitant but holy words, that I’d decided to “give my life to Christ” and that I just wanted her to know.
If production is our only measure, we’ll believe we have nothing to show for a season of stillness. But if we’ll let the Lord have His way in these moments, perhaps we’ll know another side of Him. We thought He only came to harvest the fruit. But here He is—He has come to us when all we have to show is a few miraculously green, unwithering leaves.
He hasn’t moved. He hasn’t changed. He hasn’t shifted with the shadows.
We don’t have to go back to find Him where we knew Him.
We turn around to remember His faithfulness to us years ago, and we worry that we cannot climb back in time. We want to return to days when we were more faithful.
But as we turn to look back, a strange thing happens: we find ourselves face to face with the God who has faithfully stuck beside us. We expected to look back in time, but surprisingly, we looked back to Jesus.