Last week I talked about being in the place of transition and for many of us that place is extremely narrow. In today’s podcast I want to focus on our response to these transitional seasons in our lives. There is always a new beginning regardless of how we respond. The narrow place will enlarge eventually but our response determines whether it is a time of refreshing and restoration or a time of confinement. Moving forward is not automatic and demands action on our behalf.
I likened the narrow place to crossing over a deep ravine on a swinging bridge. It is difficult, scary, and we often feel unstable in our walk. Some of us make the decision to move forward in slow deliberate movements. Others become stuck and cannot move in either direction. They remain in the instability and confusion for extended periods of time. And some step backward without turning around believing the very situation they want to get away from is safer than moving forward.
Numbers 22 reveals a response by Balaam that came from his own desires and not what God had told him to do. God sent an angel to stand in the way. Balaam did not tune into what was going on but his donkey did. Determined to have his own way, Balaam struck the donkey to get back onto the road.
Sometimes what we desire or think is the right path is not God’s will for us. We can become so blinded by our desires that God is forced to squeeze us to get our attention. Two more times the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path to get Balaam’s attention. Both times, Balaam struck again the donkey and forced his way. The third time, no more options were available. There was no way to turn to the left or the right because the way was too narrow. The donkey laid down under Balaam which aroused Balaam’s anger. The story becomes interesting because the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey and still Balaam did not listen. It was not until the Lord opened the Balaam’s eyes and saw the angel of the Lord that he repented. In the end, Balaam blessed Israel when the spirit of the Lord came upon him.
Jesus taught the apostles in Luke 18 beginning in verse 1 to keep praying and never top or lose hope. The illustration he used described a situation of the narrow place this widow was facing. Jesus described the judge who neither feared God or cared about the opinions of man. The widow kept pleading with the judge and even though he ignored her pleads, she kept asking. She refused to give up. As I read this passage, we first think it is not about prayer only but it is also putting action to our prayers. She repeatedly approached this thick-skinned, uncaring judge seeking the justice she deserved. Jesus was teaching us to pray, to not give up or loose hope, but also to put action to that which we know is just and true. He tells us in verse 8 to be ever expecting. This requires action within. Persistence and expectation are inner forces that expands our faith to another level. The judge says he is tired of listening to her. Her persistence in going to the judge and pleading her case changed the outcome of her narrow place and brought her into a more spacious one.
Jesus also tells us that God, the true judge will grant justice to all of his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night. He expects us to be ever praying, every expecting, and ever moving forward in our faith for that which he has for us.
We have choices in our narrow places. This widow made the choice to move forward in deliberate steps of prayer and determination to get through her confinement. As I was walking this morning determined to build back my body after being in the hospital for an extending period of time, I was reminding by the Lord to expect complete healing. Several times a week since getting out of the hospital I not only have been praying for my healing but also actively stepping out in faith for it. When I first started walking outside, I could barely reach the end of my driveway. Then I walked to my neighbor’s driveway and back. I set new goals every two or three days to increase the marker of how far I could go. There were times I had to stop to catch my breath and wondered if I could make it home. My persistence has paid off. I can now complete the distance I had previously been doing before I became sick. Sometimes, I feel like I am on that swinging bridge, but I am determined not to get stuck nor go back to where I had been.
We must not lose hope in this season where injustice seems to be winning. We must continue to plead and take whatever action the Lord puts on our hearts as we fight for our rights and stand up for truth. Oppression is never an option whether it is in our home, community, or our nation.
Remember there is an ending to the transitional season but never to God’s enlargement or expansion. Become determined to expand your faith through persistence in prayer and action.
“So it is with your prayers. Ask and you’ll receive. Seek and you will find. Knock on heaven’s door, and it will one day open for you. Every persistent person will get what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he needs. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door.” Luke 11:19-10
God knows how to give good gifts to his children.
Listen to the full message on my podcast, A New Level Awaits You!, on Charisma podcast network or on my new Youtube Channel, Lois Flewelling.