I am so thankful to walk with you and know you and know those who know you. As I walk the journey on which you have set my feet I sense that you have more. You have more for me, more for my family and more for others. I know you are not like a cosmic lottery, or a divine thrift store in that something of value will be given away or cheapened by the ease through which it is obtained. I believe that intimacy with you will come through the thing it always does...conflict. Intimacy with you is my desire. Conflict is an obstacle.
I think any conflict I experience will be more like dissonance. I will experience dissonance as the template of your call is so much larger than the pattern of my life. Dissonance will flow when submission and service to you will take more than I feel I have to give. As difficult as those thoughts are to me, I anticipate that dissonance will become excruciating when you ask me to sacrifice my comfort and maybe even my families well being through the call to suffer for you Kingdom.
I haven't always considered suffering for You to be part of the call of Christ. My eyes read and my mind accepts the stories and quotes of Job, Stephen, Justin Martyr and Bonhoeffer...but somehow my heart has always missed the message that suffering may well be required of all who call on the name of Jesus. So as I desire closeness with You and for my heart to beat in rhythm with Yours, I find myself asking, "what will you require of me?"
I would love to be a visionary in your Kingdom, but will you ask me to suffer the ridicule and loneliness of Noah? I would love to lead your people but will you ask me to suffer the anguish and frustration of Moses? I would love to speak prophetically for your name sake, but would that require me to suffer threats and even death? Maybe I could just love people and serve others in Your Name...but even those noble tasks lead Jesus to a cross. Would evangelism along the lines of Peter lead me to a cross too? If I had the zeal and devotion of John would I be thrown into a vat of boiling oil? God, what will you require of me?
There was only one Abraham, one Malachi and one Timothy. In the same way I know there is only one Blake, but I also know that the unique gifts given to each person in no way negates Your call of complete surrender, absolute submission and living as though I am already dead.
God, I find the very words I speak haunting and constantly lingering in the background of fun family outings, in the silence of the black morning and in hustle of the daily grind. Could I sacrifice myself on the Your alter, God?. I could. Would I be willing to risk the life of my wife in service to You? Yes, but only because I know her heart's desire is the same as mine. Will I risk money, comfort, career and friendships? Yes, Lord. But, could I place my sons on Your slab of sacrifice? I don't want to answer that question and I don't even want to ever ask that question. But I sense from You that I must.
God, I ask that you facilitate my maturation to a point that my grip will never be firm on anyone or anything other than You. I will only be able to lead my sons to Your Throne in so far as I have released them to You, their Creator...the Author of their faith, as well as mine. My paradoxical realization even as I seek your guidance is that my tight grip on them doesn't protect them, it only strangles them and their potential to seek You. Perhaps this Father's Day will stand as a landmark in their history and mine as we all celebrate our freedom to seek You and to live and suffer in Your abundance and love. God. I want this Father's Day to be your FATHER'S DAY.
Father, plant my feet firmly in a faith that does not waiver in the face of circumstances. Set me on a path that is not decided by convenience, comfort or preference. Give me sight that is blind to the things you would not have me see and allow me to only follow Your voice as I tune my ears to hear my Shepherd. Father, I trust you to lead me in ways that advance your Kingdom, display Your love and glorify You. May it be so. Amen