It is 10th October today – a whole 6 days since I’ve found the time to write! Perhaps I was just BE-ing? No, actually I was just trying to DO too much and getting my priorities wrong again – or at least having to chose other priorities over blogging because there are just not enough hours in the day for everything. I must remember less is more!
However, today’s date certainly nails my attention, taking me back over the past 2 years and helping with one of those periodic examinations of how far I’ve come and whether I can still trace the thread of grace through the twists and turns and change of seasons. Because this day in 2010 I had the nerve to post a prophetic word about what I saw, called 10.10.10.
Dare I look back to what I said and scrutinise and weigh that word? One of the big challenges prophetic people face is putting any timing on the things we see: God’s timing is so often very different to ours! Was I presumptuous? What did I say about this beautifully well-balanced date 2 years ago that was in anyway informative or helpful on the journey of life? Has that word passed through the fire and proved true? Well, other more knowledgable people may give the number 10 a different meaning – eg, here is an amazing exposition! – but to me it has always been about coming through a season of testing. My references for that are all in the old post, and in fact last week I found another scripture to back that up: “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel 1v12!
Whether it was accurate when taken as part of the bigger picture I can’t objectively claim to know, but it was certainly a marker of what God was doing in a time of severe testing in my own life: challenging, maturing and preparing in a 3-way stretch! Perhaps I hoped it marked an end point of the time of endurance – we are always trying to jump the gun and get the hard bit over with! – it didn’t really. But even if it was not that, at least the principles remain true: we do always have to be tested and prepared before being filled and put to work! I do recall I felt a lot of that preparation applied to the up and coming generation and was part of calling for the emergence of a new move of God in our nation.
Hmmm – big prayers. Well that was 2 years ago now, and just maybe this year we have begun to see some signs of resurrection and God’s favour coming to our land in the Jubilee and Olympic season: ‘inspiring a generation’. There have been many things said and done in the public arena that reflect prayers that have been prayed in secret. Plus there has undoubtedly been a coming together in prayer and repositioning of the church going on around this and a sense that it is time to press forward together to build on our unity across the whole nation. The best thing about the 32,000 who met at Wembley stadium on 29th September was the display of unity in diversity – plus 32,000 people making a confession based on Daniel 9 is not going to be ignored in heaven! But on top of that, the younger generation part of NDoP at Wembley was definitely the most anointed, with the focus on the youth and children touching many hearts, including mine. Surely those who have been in the vanguard can now hand on the baton to others and perhaps even begin to see new release and find new paths themselves – at the very least as parents supporting those with less years experience and confidence. That is what I now find myself doing, being the answer to my own prayers for the mothers and fathers in the land! It’s a different platform but for me it is where I now go to catch God’s train.
Along the same lines, one year ago – 10.10.11 – was also a significant day in our journey as parents, because on what was meant to be Sam and Jessa’s wedding day she boarded a plane back to the US. That was certainly the end of a time of testing! In fact I had been praying through a 40 day period from 1st September to 10th October, asking for divine direction and covering, aware of all that was at stake around this marriage, wanting a smooth ride and a good outcome: if you were following events back then it was a roller-coaster ride! Because we had taken Jess to our hearts as a daughter, it was very painful to say goodbye – however right and wise that decision turned out to be in the end – and I still love her… but I had to let go.
Soon after that a friend in Kent had a dream in which she told me I had to stop being so distracted by many things and ‘focus on my son and daughter walking with Jesus’ and March and April would be important. So starting with running an ‘Introduction to the Prophetic Course’ through Lent (March!) I’ve been giving my energy to teaching and mentoring within the 18-30’s church community we are part of here and developing my friendships with the younger ones. It’s quite funny then, that a year later Open Heaven church were led to call a corporate 40 day season of fasting and prayer from September 1st to today, October 10th!
A 40 day God-season is always a time of testing, refining and maturing – think Jesus in the desert before He started His ministry, facing the tempter offering Him easy ways out. Open Heaven has been no different, as we put aside distractions and intentionally seek the Lord in preparation for what God wants to do in the coming months, the fire refines hearts, challenging motives, attitudes and behaviour: hidden things come out into the open. But in the pain of honesty and repentance we can rejoice that it is through a lovingly disciplined generation, saved from their mistakes by incredible grace and brought to maturity through perseverance and promise, that our Father wants to show His love and include many more children in His family. As the writer to the Hebrews puts it so well:
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it’ Hebrews 12v5-11
So in the end, this testing business is all good – even if it is 10.10 all over again!