What is it all about?
What is the “it” that I am talking about? It is life; the thing that all of us are involved in.
If yours is anything like mine, and I am pretty sure that it is albeit with your own flavour, then it can be a very complicated and sometimes confusing affair with seasons that change very regularly, emphases that pull similar tricks because now this thing is important than that, questions that pop up demanding answers, quests that we embark on for various reasons mostly to experience the elusive sense of wholeness or completion that we yearn for and so much more. There are many moments when we feel we have hit the jackpot and they are good moments, but I have found that they are transient.
Many years ago, sometime during the 1980’s, I listened to a prophetic word given by Charlotte Baker that really spoke to me in this regard and it has stayed with me through the years. It is quite a lengthy one, but worth the read (she spoke in King James English):
The Lord came unto me and said, 'What is it, son of man, that thou wouldst have?' and I said, 'Lord, if I could only be among those who play sweetly upon instruments, and who sing well in the house of the Lord, then would I do great things for my God.' The Lord came unto me and gave me the desire of my heart, and He stood me among the sons of men and let me play and let me sing. And I saw the day when the hearts of men were moved by that thing which the Lord had given me. As the hearts of men were moved, I stood back and said within myself, 'Now will I be content, for I have been able to move the hearts of men.' But in my secret hour I bowed my head before my God and said, 'Lord, Thou hast given me what I asked for, but my heart is heavy and I have a longing for something more.'
He came again unto me in the night season and said, 'Son of man, ask Me again the thing that thou wouldst have of Me.' I said, 'Lord, I've seen men bowed low by burdens, discouragement. Oh, give me back the power of the spoken word, that I might speak a word and hearts will be delivered.' And the Lord said, 'Son of man, I have given thee the thing that thou hast desired,' and with great joy I marched before the people of God. And in my youth and enthusiasm, I spoke the word and men were delivered and their hearts were made whole, and I knew what it was to bind up the broken-hearted, and to pour in the oil of joy for mourning. While men were praising Him and magnifying His name, I went back to my secret chamber and bowed my head in sorrow as I said, 'Oh, my God! I am not satisfied. I am not satisfied.'
And He came unto me and said, 'Son of man, what is it that thou dost again desire?' and I said, 'Oh, my God, give me but power in my hands that as Thou didst do, and I might lay my hands upon the sick and I might see healing flow; that I might have power. He said, 'It is done as thou hast commanded. Go out and heal the sick in My Name.' And I went to the nations and I saw the sick raised from their sickness, and I saw pain and suffering go away. I was rejoicing and bowed my head and said, 'Now shall I be satisfied, for Thou hast given me that which I desired.'
No sooner had the words come out of my mouth than my heart began to ache and cry, and I said, 'God, I do not understand this, for again my heart is sad. Lord, wilt Thou just one more time give me the thing I asked of Thee? I desire to go against principalities and powers - the powers of wickedness of this world, and spiritual darkness in high places.' And He said, 'Surely I give it unto thee. Now go.' And I went, and the Lord allowed me to go into dens of iniquity, in holes and dives where men hide from the light because of the sin and evil that is upon them. I saw demons cry out at the very presence of the power of God. "I went back to my place, broken, and I said, 'God, I have asked thee for all that I desire, and still my heart is not satisfied, nor do I feel that I have touched the thing that Thou hast called me to.'
In my youth I had expended myself with all the things that my heart had desired, and then, one more time, a gracious and loving God visited me in the night season and said, 'Now - what is it that thou dost desire?' And in brokenness of heart I bowed before Him, and said, 'God only that thing which Thou dost desire to give unto me.' He said, 'Come with Me, and I will take thee on a journey.
He took me past my friends, and He took me past those with whom I had come into the House of The Lord, and He caused me to go into a place alone in the wilderness.! I said, 'Oh, my God, Thou hast cut me off from those I love. What art Thou doing unto me?' He said, 'I take thee to the place that all men must come to if their heart's cry is to be fulfilled.'
And on a certain hour, I bowed before a gate that is called The Eye of the Needle. And there I heard the voice of the Lord say, 'Bow low.' And I bowed low. He said, 'No, lower!' And I bowed lower and He said, 'No, yet lower. Thou dost not go low enough.' And I went as low as \I could go. But I had upon my back my books of learning, and my instruments of music. I had with me my gifts and abilities. And He said, 'Thou hast too many. Thou cannot go through this gate. And I said, 'God, Thou hast given me these books, and these abilities.' And He said, 'Drop them, or thou dost not go.' And I dropped them, and I went through a very small gate that is called The Eye of the Needle .
As I went through this gate, I heard the voice of the Lord say, 'Now rise to the other side.' And as I rose, a very strange thing had happened unto me. For lo, the gate which was so small that I must lay aside everything, was so wide that I could not fill it! And as I stood in the presence of the Lord, I said, 'God, what is this thing that Thou hast done unto me, for my soul is now satisfied.!' And He said, 'Thou hast come through the Gate of Worship. Now come up to the circle of the earth, and I will show thee a great mystery. I will reveal unto thee the thing which I am doing among the sons of men.’
The Spirit of the Lord caught me away, and took me to the circle of earth, higher than the eagle's eyes, beyond where the sun shines or the moon shines, and there at the throne of God He said, 'Look down toward My people.' And I saw a strange thing. I saw my companions gathered around a very small gate. I saw them wringing their hands and crying, and saying one to another, 'God hath given us these instruments of war. This sword is my sword. I will wield my sword and I will bring the enemy down. I cannot go through this gate, for if I go through this gate, I would put down my sword and my instruments of war, and God has called me to be a warrior, therefore will I not do it.' I heard another one say, 'Me? Lay down my instruments of music? Lay down all that God hath given to me to go through that little gate, to be nothing but a mere man who comes out on the other side, stripped of everything? I cannot do this thing!'
And I saw as they stood aside, afraid to bow themselves before a very small gate. And then I saw again as the Lord brought me closer to the gate. I saw men bow low, laying down everything they had, and as they came through the very wide gate on the other side, their instruments of music were there, their swords were there, their books were there, the power was there.
The Word of the Lord came unto me, 'Go now, and tell this people this thing. I have given unto this people extreme talent and much ability. I have caused you who are instrumentalists to play. But I say unto you this night, if you do not come through the very small gate, which is the gate of worship, and bow low and lay before me thy instruments and thy talents and abilities, and thy vision and thy power, thou shalt always be those who will only be able to minister to the hearts of men and bless the hearts of men. But there is a gate open in the Church in this hour which is a very small gate and through that gate only, men who are worshippers will go. These men will fall on their faces before Me and will lay their talents before their God, and will say, 'God, we will be worshippers,' and through that wide gate they will come. And as they come through that wide gate, hear the Word of the Lord, they will arise, not to minister unto men, but to minister unto their God. "And I have brought this people together this night to make unto you a choice. You can minister unto men - and I will cause you to sway the heart of men with your talent - or you can go through a very small gate, and in making you worshippers, you will minister unto Me.
Although I was touched by these words all these years ago I now look back over the intervening years and see how the truths that they contain have been, and are still being, worked out in my life. I can identify with all the principles. I can see how the Lord helped me to help others and I am thankful for that, but mostly I can see how He has been, and still is, dealing with me in the process. My gratitude has no bounds because I am discovering that my true fulfilment is dawning through surrender.
The road is not a trouble free one, but I am discovering that the troubles I have are always because I am not in touch with two important truths:
The magnificent and relentless tenderness of His love and care for me; unconditional and no holds barred; and
The extent to which I need to see my self-sufficiency in the light of His mercy and grace.
The following scriptures from Romans 11 and 12 have become more precious to me:
Who could ever wrap their minds around the riches of God, the depth of his wisdom, and the marvel of his perfect knowledge? Who could ever explain the wonder of his decisions or search out the mysterious way he carries out his plans? For who has discovered how the Lord thinks or is wise enough to be the one to advise him in his plans? Or: “Who has ever first given something to God that obligates God to owe him something in return?” And because God is the source and sustainer of everything, everything finds fulfilment in him. May all praise and honour be given to him forever! Amen! Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvellous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.