Scorecard for the Week of July 13th

The prayer focus for this week was to expose where light and darkness were mingled in me in terms of not trusting the King to protect me from mean people.

You nailed it again.

The following conversation was a running dialog over several days, fairly convoluted as His and my conversations often are.  I have neatened it up a lot to make it comprehensible so this is an overview, not a word for word transcription.

The King moved first, asking if I wanted to explore the issue of my not trusting Him with people.  I said, “Sure,” even though I was quite sure I would end up as the bad guy.

He asked if I knew why I didn’t trust Him with people.  I said, “Sure.  Because you have stood by and done nothing on many occasions when people were hurting me.  You did not protect me ahead of time, and You did not rescue me when I asked You to.  That became a pattern that caused me to not trust You when I am around gnarly people.”

He said, “You are absolutely right.  I have done that.  Both of those things.”

There was silence for a day or so, then He asked, “Do you remember Viktor Frankl?”

I certainly do.  He developed Logotherapy after surviving the concentration camp.  I read about it at least 40 years ago and was fascinated by the concept.  Here was a Jew in a place where there was absolutely nothing external to count on.  He was as good as dead.  There was no expectation of justice.  Pain was everywhere.  Yet he managed to keep from becoming animalistic in his drive to survive.

It was my first brush with the Holocaust and I was a bit overwhelmed.  There was no place on my shelf for that package of life skills at that time, but I was in awe of the man and the concept and never forgot.

The King asked, “It wasn’t workable for you back then.  You were too young and green.  Yet you knew in your spirit it was very good but not quite there.  How would His principles work now, with your frames of the soul and spirit, design and birthright?”

I didn’t know.  It has been so long that I couldn’t really pull up a respectable data file.  I ordered the book, but it hasn’t come yet.  Obviously the answer is that it would work pretty well, but I need to see what “it” is and how it all fits together.  Maybe next week.

Silence for a day.  Then another one of those questions.  “Arthur, do you remember the prohibitions I placed on Jeremiah and how it violated his design?  What was that about?”

Of course I remember.  He was an Exhorter who was not allowed to marry, go to a wedding, attend a party, or even enter a home for dinner if they were having a good time.  No fun allowed.  And I distinctly remember teaching on that in “A Hard Life” and saying clearly that I had no clue why God would deliberately violate someone’s design.

But I had a sinking feeling I was next in line.

He said, “Arthur, you have two facets of your design that are warring against each other.  I would like You to trust Me as I kill one, in order to give you the other.  You have a keen sense of justice.  You are rigorous in your own walk, giving over-the-top justice repeatedly.  And you wish the world would give it back to you.  You really wish I would give you justice, particularly in relationships.  But it doesn’t and I often don’t.

“The other side of your design is a deep, aching drive for significance.  You loath even the smallest risk of uttering Solomon’s cry of ‘vanity’ at the end of your life.  You don’t need fame.  You don’t need to see the fruit of your labor in this generation.  But you desperately want your life to ‘count for eternity’ to use your language.

“If I will guarantee that your life will be high impact in MY eyes (not necessarily yours, or the world’s), will you release ALL expectation of justice from Me or anyone else, for the rest of your life and trust Me to make your life significant while I deliberately take you through some injustice that will be transformational?”

He made it clear that I would not be plunged into a morass of no justice, but where there was injustice, I was to use my not-yet-acquired new set of tools, cobbled together from Frankl and my understanding of the human spirit.

No complaints to Him about abandoning me.  No anger at the people who hurt me.  No pursuit of justice socially (like whining on WordPress).  No avoiding situations because I might experience injustice.  Just process the pain with the new tools (which I don’t have yet) and get on with life.

I don’t ask God to make deals with me.  And when He offers, I walk very slowly.  I am quite sure I will not be able to keep from being angry at injustice.  That will take some sort of amazing surgery to excise that portion of my software.  Can I keep from whining about it when I do get hurt?  Probably not completely.  I can try to process it internally, but this too will be a learning curve.

Can I keep from crying out to Him for justice?  The habit is so deeply engrained in me that I will probably slip there a few times too, needing the Holy Spirit to call me on it.

So all told, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  And the King knew that when He put the offer on the table.  I decided to go for it.  He knows my heart is good.  He knows I will make course corrections as swiftly as He calls me on my violations of the agreement.  So yes, I can yield all right to have justice in exchange for a promise of a life that counts.

I did.

It is an odd feeling going forward.  The sense of naked vulnerability is through the roof.  While sitting in the portal at gate A8 in the newly redesigned terminal at DFW, I got my first assignment of the new season where justice is now irrelevant in my life.  I am to assemble a group of people and do thus and so.  It is a very high risk project.  My knee jerk reaction was, “I wonder who the Judas in the group will be.”

Not an auspicious start.  The flesh is a pain in the flesh sometimes.  This no-expectation-of- justice thing is going to be the most serious software update I have ever experienced.

At the same time, there is a settled peace I have never had before from the assurance that my life will count.  I have a profound respect for my capacity to mess things up.  I watch so many spiritual leaders who get stopped at the two yard line or who fumble at midfield and lose much.  I so don’t want to be someone who started well and ended stupidly.

And now I have a promise that He will protect me from myself.  Staggeringly profound.

Oh, and the new project He described could be stupendously significant.  It will take several months to launch, but it might be the first expression of a new season in my life.

Thanks for praying.  I am stunned at the enormity of what God did.  I just wanted darkness out of me.  I never expected God to show up and offer me an over the top covenant like He did Jacob at Bethel.

Copyright July 2014 by Arthur Burk

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20 Responses to Scorecard for the Week of July 13th

  1. lovinliberal says:

    I have been stumbling towards these truths by default for years, but more specifically spent the morning trying to discuss them with my husband. Then I read your post. Trust. I have often wondered if I am operating in the flesh, or following the lead of the Holy Spirit and have looked to results for confirmation. Big fat 0’s. Some truths are not up for discussion. Yet growing up, watching family dynamics, where legalistic adherence to the word of God, and “prophetic” declarations, which bear rotten fruit via the same truth of God’s word has made me double-minded in so many ways.

    I know God’s Word is truth! I fail to see the truth of God’s word in action.

    How do I know if it is of God, when there is NO clear “vindication” as to the veracity of what I’ve done?
    Almost, ALMOST, this week I was willing to walk away from my faith as being more than I can handle. Yet, every time I have experienced such deep pain, I begin paradigm shifts in the spirit and new hope springs up.

    I am going to reach for the meat in what you have posted and ask God to measure my own needs against his standard and ask for prayer to begin the walk in faith that man’s approval is irrelevant.

    I am asking for prayer that I will know I am hearing God’s voice, and not those old messages and will have the courage for obedience.

  2. “You have two facets of your design that are warring against each other. I would like You to trust Me as I kill one, in order to give you the other. “ Ouch!

    Arthur, I don’t mean to add a political charge to this discussion, but my mind immediately went to the question of same-sex marriage and defenders in the church that claim God made them gay “by design”; therefore, their sexual preferences cannot be changed and are, in fact, justified. Even if one were to embrace this line of thinking, their defense is a moot point.

    It seems God is asking us to die quietly on many fronts where we fail to fully trust Him and regularly make our own demands for justice. There are no sacred cows!

    Thank you for sharing a bit of your private history with God. I’ve had it on “replay” quite a bit the last few days. God help us make the course corrections necessary to stay in sync with you– continually yielding, trusting, and celebrating your Lordship in the hard places.

  3. K8 says:

    Excellent. The King wins. I love it.

  4. Tracy says:

    Thanks for posting so vulnerably, Arthur. Our little family is going through a terrible trial with another family perpetrating the most awful theft and injustice against my long-suffering husband (and the rest of us, by extension). As I am RGO Prophet, my default position has been to cry out almost daily for Father’s intervention and justice in the situation. I have a deeply abiding sense that He needs me to simmer down and wait with no further expectations other than that He will do what is necessary and that it will include the hearts of all those involved. In essence, He appears to be telling me that the architecture of what He is about cannot possibly be understood in the here and now. This doesn’t stop me from being moved to tears of rage daily while my hand hovers over the telephone about to call a whistleblowers’ hotline. My raging at the injustice has not produced great fruit, upsetting my very sensitive son (Mercy) and riling my Italian-born husband, generally soft of nature, to the point where he wants to take matters into his own hands. I have not covered myself with glory in this matter and so I have agreed to disagree with Father and rather just go with His plan. Your post is most comforting and confirming. I covet any prayers of support from anyone as I travel through what feels like a really awful and vast wilderness while I try to “starve” my “flesh” of the craving for justice.

  5. linzi says:

    Thank you Arthur for sharing so openly with us. You inspire me to press on in my walk with Him. For years, I have been confessing, standing on and crying God’s word over a certain issue in my life, where I believed I should receive justice, now it looks as though I will have to let it all go.
    Now I will have to remember that Jesus allowed Judas to kiss him on the cheek, and called him “Friend,” in the Garden of Gethsemane.
    For surely, ” My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
    “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

    • SLG says:

      Linzi, I am not at all saying that everyone should let go of expecting justice. You do that and it invites in the victim spirit — unless God is involved with a bigger plan. Just check with Him to see how He wants you to position yourself.

      • linzi says:

        Thank you Arthur for this good advice. I have been waiting on the Lord as to what He requires of me and have come to a place of acceptance of the circumstances in which I find myself, re my family who have rejected me. The Lord has given me a scripture Jer.15:19-21 and I am now declaring that in God’s timing my family will come to me, which fits in with the word from a Prophet, I was given many years ago. Now I have peace in my heart. May the Lord richly bless you and your tribe.. Linzi

  6. Lu-Ib says:

    Thank you! What I recall from Victor’s book is that he lost his manuscript. He thought that everything was lost. But my guess is that was the real beginning. God speed on your journey, and God be with us as we journey with you.

  7. Deborah says:

    This is enormous and amazing! Thank you so very much for sharing these deep places with us. Justice is such a stumbling block. Without the push for justice it feels like we are left like snails without a shell…..BUT GOD!!!!!! Your journey has counted for MUCH in my life! Thank you, Arthur!

  8. Irina Rivera says:

    It wasn’t word for word, but I could here His tone. How I love His voice! Thank you for letting is in on a very intimate conversation. I pray that as I bask in His love for you, it’ll bless you. Having Victor Frankl as a “friend” is a huge honor! That’s some good company to keep.

  9. anne cochran says:

    As a watchman, I am in awe of what the Lord is doing in you and so many others in this season. I am so aware that He really must need all of His kids to get to that place where we don’t let our woundedness affect His advancing Kingdom. He NEEDS us to let go of our “stuff” that is robbing us from being full in our identity. Our entire prayer group, who had the privilege of meeting you back in 2009 in SC, have spent the last year inviting the Lord in to our dark places so we can be whole to walk in our true identity. Thank you so much for sharing your journey! It’s a blessing to be connected with you! Anne

  10. Rosa says:

    I really enjoy reading your conversations with God, for I years didn’t know God conversed with His kids,I thought He just gave orders. This is refreshing, where it would have used to make me uncomfortable.I am learning to see Him in a new light these past few years, and having my own conversations with Him. And, interestingy enough, a few weeks ago,I ordered Viktor Frankls book and am reading it.

  11. Mary says:

    Weeping as I conclude the reading of this post. This is how my late brother, Chuck was just learning to walk with the King. He loved and related so well to your thought process. I vote lots of stars from him. Thank you, Arthur from this disciple.

  12. Paul says:

    Wow! Wow! Thank you for allowing us into the sanctuary of this personal and intimate dialog with your King…so deeply moving! Your experiences of being hurt remind me of the sentiment that I believe Tozer shared: Those whom God uses most profoundly, He wounds most deeply!

    I recently read a friend’s blog about a similar dialog where God asked him to commit to celibacy and never marry. John expressed that after wrestling and finally making that commitment, he has never felt such joy; and the rewards far outweigh the sacrifice that is being made. It’s hard for our carnal minds to embrace the reality that God is incapable of being unjust and His loving kindness (even in the midst of our pain) is boundless and unending.

    Our King’s demands are seemingly overwhelming, but always at a fraction of the cost of what He required of His Son. (and isn’t it easy to miss out on the glory of being able to share in the fellowship of His sufferings?) Thanks for allowing me to process “out loud” so that I could encourage my own heart on this journey.

    I bless you Arthur, as you come into this glorious new season of your life! The best is yet to be. How very, very, exciting for you and all the noble subjects of our great King!

  13. Serina says:

    Wow, this is very exciting about your new season and the covenant God offered you! I am happy for you.

    Thank you also for sharing so honestly your conversation with God. As I was reading, it encouraged me to talk with God about something and it feels it released something in my life. Thank you!

  14. Sapphire Sky says:

    Totally tracking with you on this. My husband and I just came from a prayer time where we totally relinquished any expectation of God executing justice in our lives or on our behalf. Have no idea what will come next other than probably more injustice. Enjoyed your sense of humour about it all.

  15. Pamela says:

    This made me smile.

  16. Taylor says:

    God communicates to me through reading this blog. Sometimes your ideas make me uncomfortable. I’m thankful for it. Since I was a small girl the feeling of wanting a truly significant life has been on my list. I’m afraid of what’s in front of it on the list. Until now, I’ve never heard of anyone saying anything like this… I expect that most of the time from you. I want to make a deal. I’m afraid of it.
    I’ve spent more time than usual thinking about significance since the ninja warrior video, I don’t know you personally but if someone where to ask me if you would choose to give up social justice to live out significance I would have said yes, without a thought.
    I want to give up important things to live a childhood dream. I want to believe that everything is significant. Everything feels up in the air now…
    I’ve learned so much through the light prayers and I’m thankful for being involved.

  17. Sonia says:

    The pain was high this week!!!
    This is a profoud report to me. It lands deeply, deeply in my being. Thank you for the honor of praying into this.
    I have not ever heard of Frankl’s story. But then most everything has been brand new for me coming from you. I celebrate this new transition. I pray into the new project and bless the birthing 🙂

  18. Katie says:

    I am happy for you. Serving Him is the greatest reward. I am finally getting it myself, He never promised to stop the pain, on the contrary suffering is His way, but He did promise to never leave us, and He has a plan….and He loves us enough, and believes in us enough, to have suffered and died for us. Looking forward to see how He makes you shine.

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