Don't Give Up the Ship
As a part of our ministry each week, we read, reflect on and respond to a series of questions called ‘Journey Markers’. They are created by AIM specifically to walk us through our own spiritual journey. By requiring us to press into hard topics and sort through our own junk, the hope and heart is we find Jesus in the refinement. Thus far we’ve dealt with our false-selves and reflecting on what it’s been like to live in community literally 24/7 (which has been really, really amazing — just FYI).
This past week’s topic was all about living a life saturated by the Holy Spirit. Our mission: to go out as a team and actively engage life beyond human ability as we listen to the Spirit’s promptings and walk boldly into His invitation of participation in the lives of those around us. This could take on many forms including prayer for healing, speaking with the power of wisdom, using the gift of prophecy, etc. Simple, right? Wowza…it’s a good thing this is what God has been pruning me for in the last four months, huh? Still…NOT easy. But that’s the beauty of it — it’s not about what I or we can do! It’s only about where our hearts are in relation to our Father. Am I or am I not walking in obedience? That is the question.
We spent time in prayer before we left and I read from Acts 2. Side note: if Acts doesn’t light a fire under your butt for the gospel, I say go read it again. It is so freaking cool! As I read, I was struck with one commonality between us and the disciples of the first church: language — more specifically, overcoming language barriers.
“And divided tongues as fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance…And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language.” Act 2:3-8
As we prayed, I asked God to meet us as we speak and overcome language barriers by means of the gift of tongues or otherwise. We decided to split into groups of two and I was paired with my sweet friend, Kat (katwilder.theworldrace.org). After our first hour, I told her God was actively working on my heart, reminding me that no matter how much I try…if He isn’t the center of actions, all my ‘good’ works are filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). I don’t struggle with boldness but if I’m honest, performance has always caused me to stumble. Kat’s excitement to just tell people we are missionaries made me realize there is such beauty in just relating to people in friendship and joy rather than needing to be a huge ‘ah-ha’ moment. Again, I was quickly reminded that there is no ‘success’ in evangelizing beyond walking in obedience. As I processed with Kat, I felt the Lord’s peace. I gave him my ‘works’ and laid it at His feet.
“You are learning, sweet girl.” He assured me.
With fresh eyes, we walked further into the market and I noticed a man selling bracelets and necklaces. He flashed a smile and the Spirit spoke to me. I casually called out, ‘you have a nice smile’ with the proper hand movements for clarity. He laughed, waved both us over and gifted us each with bracelets. I asked his name and he said, "Leo." I laughed and told him my name to which he gave me a huge, toothy grin and big hug.
Then I noticed his tattoo.
It was 2 bands around his left arm. The top one was solid and the other had a cityscape that turned into a forest. In between the two bands was a sailboat. Now, it just so happens that since the beginning of the summer, Jesus has been speaking to me through sailboats, water and anchors, so I was obviously intrigued. I asked him what his tattoo meant and he explained he has a dream of selling his home and car and owning a sailboat. As he explained, I glanced down and there was a bracelet with an anchor on it at my feet.
“Okay God, I see you. What do you want me to say?”
We chatted a bit more and through google translate, I explained I am a missionary and that God spoke to me through his tattoo and the anchor bracelet. His face said more than sharing the same language ever could. Hesitant, confused, skeptical…yet…curious and open. I then typed and asked if there was anything he needed prayer for. He paused, giving me a once over and then stepped into a place of vulnerability as he explained his brother, Sebastian is a drug addict and it’s causing his family much grief. He said he can’t get his boat until his family is in a good place and his brother is better. I nodded my head in understanding, placed my hand on his shoulder and prayed.
When the Spirit manifests in you, prayer pours out beyond natural ability and that is exactly what happened with me and my boy, Leo. After many moments, I closed our prayer, unsure of half of the words that came from my mouth. Leo stepped back and rubbed his shoulder where my hand had rested. “Tu energía es diferente…really good!” he exclaimed and then he shivered. I explained that energy has nothing to do with me but everything to do with the Espíritu Santo (Holy Spirit). “That’s what you were feeling, friend!” I exclaimed. I prayed and without knowing a single word I was saying, Leo felt.
Y’all, God met my prayer of communication surpassing language barriers by way of the actual feeling of the Holy Spirit! Hallelujah!
I then told him the testimony of our Squad Leader, Myles (myleswillman.theworldrace.org), once a drug addict turned freedom warrior for the kingdom and hope flooded Leo’s face. But his reservations held fast as he explained he knows religion to be a strict, rule-following, demanding, no-freedom prison. Hearing his heart, I remembered what God called me to in the first place: “Be honest.”
I typed, “But that’s not the truth. God is about forgiveness, freedom and love.” He nodded.
I ended up buying that anchor bracelet and gave way more than he asked for it. “This is my donation to your boat, Leo. I want it for you just as much as you do.”
His eyes teared up and he gave me a big hug. As I looked into that man’s eyes, welling up with tears, I told him my favorite quote from the summer: “Don’t give up the ship.”
You know why I want that boat for Leo? Because if he buys that boat, it means his lifelong dream comes true. And if his lifelong dream comes true, it means his family is healthy. And if his family is healthy, it means Sebastian found freedom from his drug addiction. And if Sebastian found freedom from his drug addiction, it means Leo didn’t give up the ship, he didn’t give up his brother and he didn’t give up on God. He felt the Holy Spirit that day and whether it be a seed planted or a seed watered, God was on the move in his heart. What joy, my friends!
And that is the fervent love God feels for all of us! If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking and He will never, EVER let us give up the ship. Why? Because you’re worth it. Because Leo is worth it. Because we are ALL His children that He has insurmountable, unfathomable, inconceivable love, beyond love, beyond love for each and every one of us and THAT is something worthing fighting…worth dying for.
When Jesus came down as a man, He chose to tie His Godly power, strength and right to control, at the post of humanity. He chose to walk into a life full of weeping (John 11:35), suffering (Luke 23:63), heartache (Luke 22:44) and even death (John 19:28-30) so that we may feel True love with a capital T. He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) and nothing outside of Him is anything worth anything at all.
So my dear friend, don’t give up the ship. He is in the waiting…in the forbearance of your souls...and He is worth it!