When God Interrupts

I try to start each day with some time with God. Usually, this is reading the bible or a devotional-type book, but sometimes it's writing down prayers for my kids or going on a prayer walk. It was something I was really disciplined about in my youth, but got away from about a decade ago. However, in recent years, I've been trying to reclaim that discipline and make it a habit, and it's been really good to do so.

But then there are days when I just want to rest, and so I don't do anything. Today was my day off and so I sat down for breakfast after the kids had gone to school and decided to watch TV. I just wanted to relax and turn my brain off, which isn't a bad thing. Well, whether or not my brain was off, the TV turned on but the Firestick inexplicably wouldn't, so after a little hesitation, I decided this was my signal to do my devotional time instead of watch (God interrupts us in ways like this sometimes).

Like I said, my time with God isn't always the same thing, and today I felt inclined to pick up a Daddy-Daughter Journal that Katie had bought for me and my youngest to write back and forth in (I highly recommend these things). And today, one of the questions for me to write about was, "Do you like your name? Would you ever change it?"

Honestly, I don't really like my name. Rick feels too harsh on the tongue, Ricky felt too kiddie after I left high school, and Richard seems like a snooty British author or something. But I do like what it means: "powerful ruler." That's a pretty awesome meaning, right? However, though I believe that what we are named is very important, and that I was given Richard for a reason, I rarely feel like a powerful ruler. More often I feel like something of a joke, not really measuring up in most of the metrics of success that this world values.

In the journal, I wrote that I like the meaning of my name, but I feel that God has a lot of work to do in me, and then set it aside.

Next, I picked up King Me, a book by Michael Thompson that I've been slowly going through. He wrote Heart of a Warrior, which was massively impactful to me last year, and this is his newest book, all about reclaiming the masculine heart that God gave you, so that you can love and lead well. Here is what I read today:

Passivity is the inability to engage -- in current circumstances; in relationships that need a man's strong and kind presence, his discerning and helpful words, his strength against anything that is untrue. 

You have to know your strength to offer it, and you have to have earned your wisdom and learned the way of love in order to bring the weight of who you are into the arena of life and people. And even still, to engage takes courage. Because engagement doesn't mean we fight the battles we can win; it means we fight the battles that need fighting.

That phrase, "You have to know your strength to offer it," really stuck out to me. I felt led to ask God, "What am I strong in?" And He answered...

The first thing I saw was "Faith." I've been a Christian for over twenty years now, which means I've walked through lots of tests, lots of doubt and still see God show up (like today!). All of this leads to a stronger faith, which I know is a thing that always needs to grow, but which I've felt hat God has really solidified in many ways these last couple of years.

Next, I saw an image of light, as if it were shining through an opening door. Light is a common theme in my music and a thing I've always felt a strong presence of in my life, mostly in its representation of truth and positivity. 

After that, I was reminded of the deep Love I have for the people in my life -- my wife, my kids, my family and friends. God has planted a great capacity to love others in me, listening to them and attending to their needs. In all of these things, I know they are aspects that God has grown in me, Him doing the hard work and heavy lifting in cultivating my character.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. (Philippians 2:13 NLT)

I stepped back and looked at the three words, areas in which God told me I was strong. And then I saw another phrase that goes along with light: Hope; and it clicked. "Faith, hope and love." I've seen those three put together before...

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:8-13)

Though I often feel weak in this life and that I fall short of the metrics of success, this verse tells me that, when everything before us is gone -- this world and its culture, governments, nations, money, careers, houses and all the things we work for; even prophecy and knowledge -- there are three things that will still exist: faith, hope and love. 

And then God tells me in His own quiet way that, because of what He has done in me, I am strong in those three things. Not just competent, but strong...well, how can you not just praise Him after that?

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-11)

So if God ever wants to interrupt your day, make sure you let Him. It might be a little encouragement or something life-changing, but it will always be good