“Haal-e shoma chetoreh?”
In Persian one asks another “Haal-e shoma chetoreh?” It’s like our version of “how are you doing?” In fact it’s better than that. Translated, it is actually asking about the transient state of one’s heart. In other words “how is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?”
How is your heart doing? Is it overwhelmed? Maybe your heart is full of joy? Of hope and expectation? Perhaps feeling weary? Maybe you are like the tribe in South America that went on a long march lasting days. All of a sudden they would cease their walking and rest, explaining that they needed this time of rest so that their soul could catch up with them.
We see too in Psalm 42 that King David enquired after the state of his own heart. He asks where his peace, his quiet has gone.
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” (Psalm 42:5)
He then speaks to his heart with faith, with hope in God.
“Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.” (Psalm 42:5)
If your heart is not doing well there is no better place to be than in the presence of God, in the hope of God, in the love and in the safety of God.
“When my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2)
First Leicester City won the Football Premier League in England. The Chicago Cubs then won the World League series after a 100 year drought. Then after 111 years of silence Ireland stormed to victory against the All Blacks. 2016 has also been the year that no one saw of Brexit and Trump for President of the United States. 2016 it seems is turning out to be the year of the unexpected.
Regardless of whatever Sports Team or Political Party that you support and whether that made this year a good year or a bad one, 2016 has shown us that sometimes things get turned on their head. That sometimes the underdog wins. That the Outsider makes it inside after all.
It feels unnatural, upside down. But in a way it illustrates God’s Kingdom. For God’s Kingdom is also topsy-turvy and works on different values to earth’s. What is under valued on earth is valued in Heaven. The poor are the ones that Jesus says are the blessed. The last shall be first. With God the weak are the strong. What God treasures is different to the World, and certainly success doesn’t look the same.
More importantly we can go no further than the Cross. What was meant for defeat by the enemy became the victory of Jesus. Triumph over sin, over death. What was supposed to be game over was a game changer! Resurrection! Reconciliation! Hope!
“Bold faith stands on the shoulders of quiet trust.” (Bill Johnson)
Faith is not knowing what the future holds, what the outcome will be, but knowing and trusting in our God. We can be bold in our faith when we trust in God. When we trust in His character, His goodness and His love for us. No matter how scary the future might appear we can trust God’s heart for us.
Faith is Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego trusting in God as they are thrown into the fire. Faith is Abraham and Sarah holding on to God’s promise when everything on earth suggested it could never come to pass.
Faith is trust.
Recently we told our boys that our little one has down syndrome. We explained what it meant and told them that while he would be able to do everything that they can do, it might take him a little longer and be harder to learn how to.
We waited for the reactions. We wondered what impact that this would have. With a shrug of his shoulders, my nine year old said “those words mean nothing to me” and went on to cuddling and playing with his baby brother. And that was the end of that. No barrage of questions, no concerns or worries evident. Those words mean nothing to my boys when it comes to their baby brother and they have not mentioned them since. The love that the boys have for their baby brother is unaffected, unchanged.
When we’re labelled by the world for something, for anything, we need to shrug our shoulders and say “those words mean nothing to me.” Those words could be your own medical diagnosis, they could be words of others belittling your faith, your abilities, your character. They could be words that darken your future or words that seem to frame your world. Shrug them off!
Instead declare the words that do matter – what God says about you and your situation. Speak God’s promises over your life. Make sure the words you say over your life match the future you want. That your soul and body would be strong. That you will prosper and know favour.
I know for my little chap – well everyday he gets told that he is strong and clever and that he will have the grace and favour of God and man in his life. (He’s told he is cute and gorgeous often too!)
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)
“Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” (Matthew 21:21)
(Note: All evidence is currently proving that delay is not a factor with this little one! He’s a star!)
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour
Trust without borders. Dare we? Dare we remove the limits to our faith? Those safeguards that lie at our faith’s edge? Dare we declare to God for Him to take us deeper than before?
We all have those borders – those places of security. Our health, relationships, our financial provision, our job security, our reputation, our identity. Without borders is putting that on the line. It is saying I will trust you to what you call me to, to what ever happens, I will trust.
It sounds scary to live a life without limits. But actually trusting in God is what makes us appear brave on the outside. It’s when we choose to ignore what our circumstances are telling us. It’s when despite the reality around us we choose to step out of the boat to what God has called us to. We choose to trust Him. To seek Him in the deepest waters, to seek Him in the mystery .
It means that there is nothing that will halt our faith. Nothing that puts limits on our trust in God.
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand