I wasn’t sure I would write a blog post on this book, FerVent. I finished the book feeling like I came away empty. I read it with a book group. Slowly, so that we could take a day or two to put into practice the things that Priscilla Shirer was trying to teach us throughout the book.
I finished the book a couple days ago and was left feeling like the book didn’t make a difference. Like I still didn’t get prayer. I was praying through my strategy cards. Asking God, confessing my sins in these areas, and praying back scripture to God. Asking for the things of scripture to be evident in my life.
FerVent will take you on a journey.
All the while, while reading this book, the thoughts in my life have taken a crazy journey. I’m not going to go into details because the specifics don’t really matter. What does matter is that Satan realized I could learn something from this book if I allowed myself to “go there.” He knew I would be afraid to really let go, and so he distracted me with some pretty big things that have occupied my mind for the last few weeks and caused havoc in my heart.
While finishing up the book, I began to make our guest room my prayer closet. Unless I’m folding laundry or packing for a trip, this room doesn’t get used often. And when it was being used, I was listening to sermons and filling this room with the truths of God. It was a natural fit to slip into this room and make it my holy place to meet with God. It might be one of the most finished rooms in the house, despite the pile of book boxes still unpacked and hiding in the corner. But it does have photos of my favorite place on the walls, Paris. And it’s bright. The sunshine in this room in the morning is amazing. And I digress.
This morning, I continued my journey through the prophets. The idea to start reading the prophets was burned into my heart while reading Fight Back With Joy. So I started with Habakkuk, and just kept on going. Zephaniah. Then I started Haggai yesterday. I really didn’t want to read it again today. I was feeling like there was no point to reading these old prophets and that there wasn’t any truth there for me to glean. (Again, Satan was messing big with my mind.)
But I settled into my quiet place and started journaling and some truths started to spill out over the struggles I’d been dealing with. I put my headphones on this morning because I’d been reminded again this week how big a role music plays in my life, allowing God to speak to me and tune out all the distractions. The soundtrack for the morning started to remind me of truths that I seem to have so easily forgotten.
I picked up my Bible and turned back to Haggai. I’m not following a plan, just reading as much as feels right. I’ve got no agenda, or check boxes to fill, and it frees up my morning time. Haggai chapter 2.
10 On December 18 of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the Lord sent this message to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says. Ask the priests this question about the law: 12 ‘If one of you is carrying some meat from a holy sacrifice in his robes and his robe happens to brush against some bread or stew, wine or olive oil, or any other kind of food, will it also become holy?’”
The priests replied, “No.”
13 Then Haggai asked, “If someone becomes ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person and then touches any of these foods, will the food be defiled?”
And the priests answered, “Yes.”
14 Then Haggai responded, “That is how it is with this people and this nation, says the Lord. Everything they do and everything they offer is defiled by their sin.15 Look at what was happening to you before you began to lay the foundation of the Lord’s Temple. 16 When you hoped for a twenty-bushel crop, you harvested only ten. When you expected to draw fifty gallons from the winepress, you found only twenty. 17 I sent blight and mildew and hail to destroy everything you worked so hard to produce. Even so, you refused to return to me, says the Lord.
18 “Think about this eighteenth day of December, the day when the foundation of the Lord’s Temple was laid. Think carefully. 19 I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn. You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you.”
You might find this strange. But I’ve been working hard to break through some fears, and many of the books I’ve been reading and the courses I’m taking have been talking about being brave, taking time to trust God’s process, and essentially, build a foundation from which to work from. The foundation to my temple. The foundation to my belief. My understanding of who God is and what he does.
And in building that foundation, I’ve been expecting so much, and when it hasn’t happened, I have just fumed. I’ve become the two-year-old who is made because she doesn’t get the treat for bed when she wouldn’t eat anything good for dinner (yes, this happened yesterday so I have a very vivid picture in my head of what this looks like to God).
Today, I realized the power of those FerVent prayers. Some of the prayers I crafted spoke directly towards things I’ve been afraid to do, the ways in which I’ve been hurt by the story God is writing in my life, and focusing on the fight against Satan for my mind and my family and my home.
I began to see that I was putting in little, expecting much just like the Israelites in this package. I wasn’t being ruined by my sin. I wasn’t taking control of my thought patterns, my actions and behaviors. I was giving excuses. Being lazy. Giving lip service, but not letting God reach to my heart because I’m afraid of being hurt again.
But there’s no hope for the future when you’re protecting yourself so fiercely that you can’t let yourself really live or love.
When you feel you have to numb yourself to get through every day, you color the back with the good. And that is not the way I want to live my life, especially given my word this year is Presence.
This morning, I realized the power of praying scripture back to God. I may not have it all figured out, but that’s the beauty of having resources and books that we can turn back to again and again to help us learn and understand. And there’s power in the practice. Simply arriving each morning and praying. trying. maybe not getting it right, but certainly putting forth the effort.
[bctt tweet=”Today I’m trusting God for those seeds. For that harvest.”]
I’ve been building a foundation, and though it takes time, I can’t rush that process. When the process is finished, I know and recognize that God will do amazing things. There’s a promise in Haggai 2:19 that while spoken to the Israelites, I felt God saying to my heart was true for me as well. When I deal with my sin, and build my foundation strongly and securely on God, He will bless the harvest for the seeds that have yet to be planted.
Today I’m trusting God for those seeds. For that harvest.