Hold Hope. Host Heaven. Heal Hearts

The Ask

I pray that you would have experience after experience this week of not only knowing God loves you but feeling it deep in your heart and with every cell of your being.

So ended the prayer that a pastor I just met prayed over me on a cold Sunday morning in February. I was visiting a friend’s church in Chicago, or at least that’s what I thought I was doing, but God had different plans. Looking back I realize he brought me to this specific place for a very specific reason. This was the place and time he would answer my ask.

The pastor who prayed for me discerned the cry of my heart. I desperately wanted more for my life and relationship with God but didn’t know how to have it. I couldn’t even articulate what I really wanted. I just knew something was missing. For months, I had tried to name what felt like a dull ache, the kind of heartache that doesn’t terribly affect your life on the surface, but deep inside, you know something is missing. More specifically, it felt like something was missing in my relationship with God. I felt the need to fix it, but whatever it was eluded me. In fact, it eluded me for a whole year. The more time passed, and the more I tried to fix the ache, the more disillusionment I felt. I wondered, Maybe, if I pray more, read my Bible more, or spend more time at church, I’ll snap out of this and feel better. But despite all my efforts, I continued to feel the dull ache of disillusionment. My heart was hungry for more and my head thought it was responsible to provide all the spiritual nourishment so I kept doing more instead of letting God do more for me. 

I have More for You

I had been trying to meet a spiritual desire that only God can meet. It’s the kind of desire which is unintelligible to the mind because it is not conceived by the mind. This desire had been gestating in my heart and spirit. This kind of desire is so big and other worldly we think we are a little crazy to believe it’s even possible. 

God had been using that year of disillusionment to bring me to a place in my inner most being to be ready to receive what I now affectionately call the more. He wanted me to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would be the one to provide all I was seeking.

I left my friend’s church that day overwhelmed by God’s answer to my ask—“I have more for you.” The pastor had experienced what I was looking for, and because of this, he was able to use his faith to not only pray I have a new experience, but experience after experience. The apostle Paul prayed a more prayer for the members of the church at Ephesus:

So I kneel humbly in awe before the father and child in heaven and on earth. And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power (3:14-16). 

He unveils it in us and then its flow carries us. In God’s economy there is always more. He loves us that much and he is that good. 

There is something so exciting about the word unveil in this verse. It implies an amazing truth. The riches of God’s glory and favor are not only unlimited (the more), but they have been right beneath your nose the whole time. Before any unveiling their exists a preparatory or waiting phase. In this preparation phase there is no movement forward. Instead, a kind of potential energy is brewing. In physics, potential energy is defined as the energy possessed by a body by virtue of its position relative to others, stresses within itself, electric charge, and other factors. Since by nature we are citizens of heaven, existing in the world but not of it, we experience an inner stress relative to our position and relation to God. I believe this stress is reflective of a deeper knowing inside us all—the kingdom of God is in our midst! It is during these times of preparation that we eagerly await the unveiling and are fueled by a deeper spiritual awareness—we are created for more. And for those who are passionate, we experience this inner stress paradoxically and most especially when all is well (i.e status quo) recognizing we live in a heavenly kingdom that is forcefully advancing (Matthew 11:12 ESV). Like an arrow drawn in its bow by a marksman, when God brings us backwards its to allow his power to propel us forwards and further than we’ve ever gone before. It takes us further than we could ever go without him. It’s the “and then suddenly” moment where all the work he is dong deep in us finds its expression in a new and even more purpose filled way. In the twinkle of an eye everything changes as we move out of the season of potential energy and experience the kingdom’s kinetic energy.

Sir Isaac Newton observed, for every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. He unveils it in us until his supernatural strength floods us and its flow carries us. This unveiling is not for the faint of heart. It requires passion and a supernatural strength to be able to take hold of its power.  Jesus described John the Baptist as one of the passionate ones in Matthew 11. Jesus said, the realm of heaven’s kingdom is bursting forth, and passionate people have taken hold of its power (32). Passionate people hitch a ride on the kinetic power of God’s kingdom which is forcefully advancing.

Photos by Sam Graves.