One of the main themes throughout the P31 She Speaks conference was "God is big enough". Over and over we heard beautiful stories of God's provision and amazing work despite their human efforts, despite their human failures. This only comes about when one walks in faith...not skipping in and out, but step-by-step focuses on Jesus no matter the circumstances. It is walking in faith even when we slip from a sin or failure. Which reminds me-July 1st Lelia will be hosting "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith" blog Bible study from Lysa TerKeurst book. Click on the book in my side bar to get to her blog site for this study and join us as we walk this path of faith in a new and improved way!
I believe it was Wendy Pope who referenced the verse above from Joel. I felt drawn to this verse because it is what I want to be...gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in loving kindness, relenting of evil. Relenting of evil? "Relenting" in the Hebrew Bible is 'naw-kham' and means "to be sorry, be moved to pity, repent of". Yes, that is my heart-it has been moved to pity, I have been sorry for my failures, and daily I repent of the sins that I commit. In doing this-relenting evil, each one of those characteristics listed in this verse will develop as one walks in faith.
What really captured my mind within this verse though was the word "rend". It nagged at my thoughts...what is it to rend? The Hebrew word for rend is 'Kawrah', which means "to rip apart, to tear in pieces". What a powerful descriptive word. When a person in the Old Testament was remorsed or grieving, they would tear their clothes to display their pain. The symbolism, our prophet Joel states here, is the same as we deal with our sins, our failures, our pain. The writing of the book of Joel occurred at a time when God had been forsaken by His people. He instructed them to "rend" their hearts and to come back to Him. He was saying, "let your heart be broken"...ahhh, broken. Have you ever been broken? Spiritually broken? It's a beautiful thing, painful, but beautiful.
God today is calling us to brokenness, to be ripped apart from sin. It is in this state of living that we find we can be gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love, and relenting of evil. It is in the state of living that we can be broken and beautiful at the same time. It is a part of being real in our faith-authentic, transparent, as was demonstrated in the testimonies of the P31 ministry team. It is what will make us better at seeing and hearing our Lord in all things. Rend your heart daily and relent evil! Live graciously and compassionately! Be slow to anger and full of love!!
Lord, I choose to walk in faith, and to love you and your word compassionately. I choose to live in brokenness so that I may be humble enough to know your presence in my life. I choose to seek you each day, in all things, to focus on your light and not the shadows of what I have been or where I have been. I chose to be transformed so that I can go out and fulfill your calling. I am yours Lord, totally amazed at what you have done in my life and completely in awe at the power of your presence and work in and through me. I am your servant. Use me.
Broken and beautiful...