To my AAIV brothers and sisters,
I wanted to write out this letter to you all and I hope and pray that the Holy Spirit would bring hope as well as conviction. I know these past couple of months have not been easy and in this season, we are learning that we really do not know what will happen tomorrow. Through it all, our God is still Lord over it all. Even when we can’t see Him, He is still working. Even when things do not happen in our desired timing, His will will still be done in His timing, for a day is like a thousand years to the Lord. (2 Peter 3:8)
I feel led to share some truth and hope that God has been teaching me and it might not be easy to hear. But please, wrestle with God. It is okay to be furious, to break down sobbing, to acknowledge our humanity, to feel tension when we do not agree with those around us, and to realize that we really are not in control no matter how much we want to be. There is freedom when we surrender, when we do not harden our hearts, numb our emotions, and turn to distractions. Let God refine you during this time. Let those around you sharpen you. Let God dismantle your thoughts and theology so that He may reveal to you more of Himself.
It is okay to doubt, for deep calls to deep and what is true faith without tribulation? What is a firm foundation without the storms to test the sturdiness? Pain is such an integral part of the Christian walk. Discomfort leads to growth. Do not settle with where you are at. Do not settle with where our country is at. Do not sink into apathy. Resist it. Because there is a world waiting desperately, eagerly anticipating for the CHILDREN OF GOD to be revealed (Romans 8:19). So please press in. Let God transform you during this time so that God’s kingdom will come.
In January, God set a prayer in my mouth. One in which I did not understand the gravity until now. The prayer was and still is, “God, bring down all of the kingdoms of the world.” Ah yes. He is answering my prayer. And He is now bringing all the sin to light to make us clean. How beautiful! Redemption will come but not without the growing pains.
This time has made me reflect on the Israelites for they were so acquainted with pain and suffering to the point where they could not rely solely on themselves. They needed God. And so does the world. And so does the church. It is so easy to forget our Maker when we are “in control” of our own lives. And when we try to control our lives, we have no need for God. When we create safety nets for ourselves, does that not show our lack of faith? When we chase happiness and try to avoid pain at all costs, is that what Jesus did? And when we refuse to give, have we forgotten that God so loved the world that He gave us His Son? And when our eyes are fixed on just this world, and not on Him, we lose sight of the things that actually matter.
And that is my greatest fear for the church; that we forget the greatest commandments to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. And instead, are only focusing on the latter, loving ourselves and those that look like us, agree with us, affirm us, and love us back. That we are too focused on how others view us or are working on how we view ourselves that we forget our purpose, and God’s will for our life, The Great Commission. That is His will. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Our life is not about us. We only need to look up at the sky to realize how small we are. To look at a tree and realize it will outlive us. But our God will remain. And the things we do now CAN have eternal impact if we surrender our life back to Him.
When our earthly life is over, and we face God, it doesn’t matter what we think about ourselves. It doesn’t matter what others think of us. It only matters what He thinks of us. And He loves us and accepts us already and died for us already to show us the depths of His love. And I pray that we too would live from a place of already knowing that we are so loved. That we would STOP living for ourselves. Our decisions, our time, our thoughts, our priorities, our resources, our education, our relationships, all of it is His. All of it belongs to Him. All glory belongs to Him.
And so I pray too for all of you that God would completely transform you all during this time. That you all would know the freedom that only Christ can bring. That we as a body would be united. That we would allow space for ourselves to mourn, lament, pray, and ACT. That we would have Holy Spirit encounters no matter where we are at. That God would change our focus back on Himself and that we would stop living our lives focusing on the things of this world, focusing on our lives, and only our communities, being brought down by what Satan is doing and not fixing our eyes on our almighty God. I pray for ascent, to be taken to higher places. That our eyes, ears, and hearts would be aware of where the Spirit is leading. Because He is moving.
The same God that was so patient with Israel, is being patient with us. The same God who vindicates and brings true justice for the oppressed, who has said “I have indeed seen the misery of My people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their oppressors, and I am aware of their sufferings. I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey…” (Exodus 3:7-8) Is giving a voice to those who have been oppressed in our country. And through it all, He will remain constant, so hold onto the hope that is in Him.