First, the good news.
We have another live birth after a long pregnancy!
The first was on Friday the 4th when Sapphire Austria was birthed. We committed to that project in early January of 2013 so it was a long 18 months of meticulous preparation. It was a journey of many twists and turns. I can’t remember a project so rife with drama. The devil would pull some mean trick and God would do something none of us had ever seen before. The yo-yo effect was immense.
The battle came right down to the last night. I spent much of the night, Thursday the 3rd, warring over this situation. The devil pulled two wicked-mean moves that hurt deeply. God responded by trumping each of those with awe inspiring moves.
I have pondered much the journey toward Sapphire Austria. On the surface, it does not appear that God offered much protection along the way. We would get hit hard. Repeatedly.
Yet, after a hit, God would respond with some amazing lift the likes of which we have not seen elsewhere.
I wondered why. Clearly God was in total control. Clearly God could have blocked the enemy a thousand times. We have learned to ask the question, “What is in it for God, when we suffer?”
I obviously don’t know the full answer, but here is some of the fruit of our journey, and by “our” I mean Serina and myself.
First, there is little sense of control. Normally, humans thrive (or think they do) on a perception of safety that comes from the illusion of being in control. Serina and I got blindsided so many times by the enemy and empowered so amazingly and unexpectedly by God, that the illusion of control is utterly obliterated. We walk gently, knowing only that over the course of any three months, she has progressed toward the dream but knowing the road ahead will have more zigzags than straight patches.
Second, there is a deep sense of awe of God. I pondered that. It seems odd, but the reality is that protection does not produce much awe. In fact, Moses was clear to the Hebrews that when God provided exceptional protection, they would be most prone to becoming wicked. Ponder that paradox for a while!!!
Since God intervened so dramatically, so many times, in big and little ways, we have been transformed from the people we were in 2013 to people who worship God with a depth of intensity we never knew before.
Third, the sense of awe of God has mysteriously unleashed a distilled intensity in each of us to possess a certain piece of our birthright. I am not sure exactly how this happened. I can’t connect the dots in full. In part, the more we see of God’s immensity, the more we believe He will invest with us in unpacking the treasures He has put in us.
But deeper than that is a sense of craving to see our own awe-inspiring design become incarnated. Think of a 14 year old girl who is in the transition from childhood, which can be very cute, to womanhood which can be beautiful. The teen becomes acutely conscious of what beauty is in others and yearns to discover what final expression her transition will hold. Who will she be when HER beauty is unpacked? She wonders deeply and craves to get there.
For Serina, it was the pursuit of elegance with intensity. She is no delicate porcelain figurine to be protected by a glassed-in shadow box. She is a boots-on-the-ground Noble Subject of the Great King, ready and willing to take on the hard task and do the heavy lifting. But in her heart is the desire for people to know the elegance of God in a new way.
This desire was pushed far to the back by the vicissitudes of life, but in the process of her seeing not only the power of God but endless facets of His nature she had never seen before, the latent wish in her design became a burning fire. God is portrayed in many ways in this season, but there are few who celebrate His elegance and lead others to the place of awe through this doorway.
Her website is an initial small step in that direction. It pales in comparison to the immensity of what is in her. She has launched her business with little more than fire in her bones and a determination that the concept of the elegance of God MUST become everyday language for the people she connects with.
For me, it was the issue of being a trailblazer. I have certainly known that for years and walked in it confidently, but mostly in the arena of ideology. However, always in the background was a sense of building something new. As I grew in awe through seeing the poly-variegated wisdom of God in the last 18 months, that desire has been a determination.
Hence the decision to bring a model of healing through the human spirit to the therapeutic community of Austria, the birthplace of psychology of the soul. This will be challenging, will be radical trailblazing and will require some formidable building.
I would not have considered it 18 months ago. Today, I am absorbed in the grandeur of what this could be like because of the journey it took to get here. I know there is something in me I have sensed by never seen that will only come to the light as I embrace a task of this magnitude, against these odds.
A birth with significant implications indeed.
A week later, Chester the Exhorter emerged from the nimble fingers of Ryan, our game developer. This pregnancy was only nine months long and lacked the drama of the previous birth, but it packed a punch anyway.
On the purely mechanical side, it was a new venture for us. One of our greatest strengths as a company is diagnostics, but it is so very hard to mass produce! So this is an attempt to provide a tool that is widely available and could be used individually to suss out the roots of some common issues.
It is vintage Sapphire in that (so far as we can tell) we are first to market with a diagnostic app for spiritual issues. It is also LOADED. In addition to the basic game, there is a wealth of teaching in written and audio files built right into the game. Just reading and listening to all that material will substantially enrich the methodology of most people. I took a lot of heat from staff and advisers for the low price of the game. But in the end, it is part of our brand to give very good value.
Far more significant, however, were two other dynamics. I became aware that somewhere along the way, very early on, it became Megan’s game. Her mother invented Chester and drew all the pictures, but Megan fell in love with the little guy and poured her heart and soul into the game.
I watched, wondered, was amused at her defensiveness at times and marveled at the intensity with which she worked on seeming ENDLESS demands from Ryan for more, more, more graphics.
When the game finally launched yesterday, we sat down and chatted a bit over her emotional enmeshment with the game. We followed the trail of clues and found an old wound in her life that was gloriously redeemed by this process.
Who knew? We thought it was just an app, not redemption in process for Megan.
It will be fun to watch her drive the process of getting Chester to the ends of the earth. So far, we fell far short of her goal of 24 nations in 24 hours. Only seven nations in the first 24 hours, but this will not dampen her passion at all.
For me, it was redemptive in a very different way. I had never given any thought to the redemptive gift of the app at its inception. Nor did I specify to Terri that her icon should have any gift.
But shortly after she sent a handful of trial drawings and I picked this one, his personality emerged and it became obvious to the team that he was Exhorter and the app would need to be that as well.
So, I set to work experimenting with teaching in the Exhorter key of music. Most of the text got written in Prophet in order to clarify the concept, then ditched and completely rewritten in what I fancied to be an Exhorter tone.
The same with the audio. At least a third of it was recorded a second time because the first time sounded too much like, well, me!
According to initial responses, the Exhorter portion of my spirit acquitted itself well. The teachings are warm, engaging, lighthearted at times but highly effective in communicating the core concepts.
It feels like a significant vindication of the long hours of hard work I have done over the years pursuing healing of my spirit.
As I am beginning to work on the notes for my upcoming series of seminars in Uganda and South Africa, I find that I will be teaching each one from a different tone. All I know is that Mercy has stepped firmly to the table and has already grabbed one of the events and is holding it tightly. I wonder which one she claimed and who will opt for each of the other ones.
Servant just stepped up and said that the Saturday event in Kampala will be hers. Fun.
So it has been an incredibly intense two weeks, as vast investments of energy have come to fruition, leaving me a changed person.
OK. Now that I have held you hostage for 1605 words that had nothing to do with last week’s prayer focus, let’s move on to that.
There is good news and bad news. The good news is that God answered your prayers very precisely. The bad news is, I am not too happy about where the darkness is in my life, nor am I at all clear on where to go with this.
All week long I have been circling around a particular topic with a couple of friends, trying to put language to something just out of reach. This morning around 8:00, it came into focus.
The issue is trust. I have a massive amount of trust in God. I find it very difficult to trust people. And foundationally, I do not trust God to protect me from people.
Darkness and light cohabiting within me.
The distrust of people is no mystery or surprise. On the one hand, I have a lot of people who are overtly proud to be my critics and enemies. Then there are those who claim to be my friends but let me down 1,000 different ways. Nothing particularly complicated there.
On the flip side, I have very little experience with people having my back. Just to use one example, consider the comments on this one blog. There are over 4,000. The vast majority are really affirming, supportive and loving. But every year there are a goodly number of cheap shots and downright mean comments made on the blog which I allow to go public and be read. I don’t sanitize my world.
For all the people who say they love me, respect me, value me, and all those other terms of endearment, they sure don’t protect me. I can only remember one comment out of the 4,000 by someone who had my back. Rosa Miller wrote very firmly one time that the person who had made a rude comment about me was flat out wrong in their assessment of my character and in what I meant.
One person. One time. (By the way, Rosa, I sure did notice! Can you tell?)
This is typical. When I am under fire, I am on my own. People don’t have my back. Fact. History. Consistent. Reality.
So, from a soul wound point of view, it is quite natural for me to not trust most people on most things and to feel that most of the time, no one has my back.
No mystery. No real concern.
My life is a contact sport. Simple.
But to have an asterisk on my trust of God . . . I trust Him except . . .
That is not acceptable.
I trust Him to have my back when I go up against the demonic realm. It is quite wild the areas I get involved in and the calmness with which I engage because of the depths of my trust. I’d rather confront a demon than a person any day. God and I do demons. I feel like I am on my own with people.
I trust Him with investments of time and money. I will travel far to pray for a piece of land He sent me to with no concern for how it will all work out.
I trust Him with seemingly failed projects. We had a table at the CHEA convention this year because I felt He wanted me to. It was a bust on many levels. I was quite at peace with it. And sure enough, yesterday His purposes emerged, and I saw an extraordinary payoff for the Kingdom for that piece of obedience.
This is common for me. And when I know God has sent me, I am immensely OK with apparent failure, knowing that He works in larger more complex ways than I can see at the moment.
But I don’t trust Him to care for me when it comes to selfish people, mean people, religious people, people with a political agenda and 1,000 other kinds of people.
So ya done good at exposing the darkness that is in the midst of my light. Tomorrow I need to figure out what kind of a prayer strategy we need to fix this mess.
Meanwhile, I am going to take the rest of the week off.
Copyright July 2014 by Arthur Burk
From the Hub at 6:54 p.m.