Tag Archives: Bob Sorge

Willing Captive

“One of the purposes of prison is to give the prisoner great quantities of time to spend with the Lord. If we were free, we would be quite distracted with the affairs of our life. But with little else vying for our attention, the prison becomes a time when we can establish an extraordinary connection with Jesus. If you’re in prison, dear reader, don’t be so distressed over your condition that you succumb to despair. Maximize this time—the Lord is waiting to reveal Himself to you in a most singular way.” ~Bob Sorge, The Fire of Delayed Answers, Ch. 3

We are at that interesting stage in the lives of our vehicles where we say a prayer and  hold our mouths just right when we crank ‘em up. And when they do crank, or get us from point A to point B successfully, we whisper a prayer of thanks.

My dear, sweet hubby drives a 1995 Toyota that currently has roughly 260,000 miles on it…give or take a couple. It has been Old Faithful, but it does make special noises and if you hit a pot hole just right, it sounds like the whole thing might just fall into pieces right there in the middle of the road.

For a few weeks, my hubby had noticed that occasionally it would not crank up right away. It got progressively and frustratingly worse and then became an almost daily occurrence, at which time, Hubs would already be running late for work and need to take my car, which is newer, but also has its own little set of special needs.

This summer, for a period of an entire week, my Hubs needed to drive my car to work while his was being repaired. So, I ended up at home for a solid week with the kids and had lots of time on my hands. It meant no carting my daughter to her friend’s house. No running out to do some activity or dashing off to run this or that errand. It required me (a not-so-great planner) to plan things like errands and grocery runs.

captive

I like to think it was a form of captivity. It was inconvenient. I was not despairing. It was not the end of the world or some horrible trauma or some situation where I was desperately waiting on a word from God, but I was captive, nonetheless.

Can I just tell you what wonderful time I spent with the Lord that week? With nothing taking my attention—and me avoiding all household chores, of course!—I got up in the quiet of the morning and sent Hubby off to work, put on my tea kettle and gathered up my Bible and my journal and my favorite pen, and plopped myself down in my favorite chair. It was so lovely. I look back at my journal and study notes from that week and I love the sweetness of that time. The complete intentional focus. The closeness I felt to Him.

For that week of forced captivity in my home, it was Jesus and me (and teenagers who slept really late). No distractions pulling me away. It was beautiful and refreshing. And there were things He showed me that needed work—heart issues that had to do with humility and the words that I speak and meditating on His Word. Apparently, I needed a word and just didn’t know it!

It was Him reminding me, “I’m here, just waiting for you, each morning. Come visit with me and I will show you awesome things.” It was Him removing me from the dregs, as Sorge mentioned in Chapter 3 and as it is described in the book of Jeremiah; it was me being emptied from vessel to vessel.

Sorge describes in the book this process of winemaking where the dregs of the wine settle at the bottom of the vessel and then the winemaker has to pour the wine off into another vessel in order to separate it from the dregs—a necessary process if the wine is to taste good. Otherwise, the taste of the wine sitting with the dregs will change and become bitter. The same is true for us. From time to time, we must be separated from the dregs of our heart if we are to mature and avoid tasting bitter and displeasing to God.

In the past, I always aspired to having a daily quiet time, but fancied myself too busy, or not a morning person. Something else always seemed more pressing. But that week, I felt the blessing of carving out that time. Since my “week of captivity,” I have purposed each day to sit with the Lord, in my comfy chair. I have missed days, of course, because life happens. But when I don’t start my day off that way, I really miss it. I miss Him.

I think we all get stale from time to time. And we need these times of “captivity” so that the Lord can have our rapt attention. We need the periodic pouring out from vessel to vessel. We need to embrace captivity when it comes. We must allow ourselves to be held captive by Jesus, so He can create something beautiful in us.

“God is using your imprisonment to perfect the wine of your love and to prepare you for greater fruitfulness.” ~Bob Sorge, The Fire of Delayed Answers, Ch. 3

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I am excited to be joining in on a weekly book discussion led by Jason Stasyszen  and Sarah Salter. Please visit them to see other posts in response to The Fire of Delayed Answers by Bob Sorge, at Jason’s blog—Connecting to Impact, and Sarah’s blog—Living Between the Lines. And even if you are not reading the book, please feel free to jump into the discussion!

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The Legacy

“God’s purpose was to do such a deep work in Job that every generation after him would benefit from it.” ~Bob Sorge, The Fire of Delayed Answers

what is my legacy

Through the fires of this life and the waiting for God’s answers, we are inevitably changed at our core—one way or another, for good or for ill, toward the face of God or away from it. We have a choice about which kind of change will come. And that choice can leave a legacy of faith and victory or a heritage of bitterness and self-pity.

Before all Job’s afflictions, he was a man of faith and great material success and wealth. But Sorge says Job “was living in a dimension of limited fruitfulness spiritually” and was unsuccessful in “igniting his own children with his love for God.”

After he had come through the fire, we see in Job a radical transformation—from a man who genuinely loved God, but was missing out on that deep, intimate understanding of who God really was and what His purposes were, into a man whose “faith had survived the crucible, and now he owned an intimate knowledge of God that would radiate to others a profound confidence in his Lord.” He had come forth as gold. And that spilled over into his new life and children.

The father Job can be on the other side of his suffering is a father who gives his second set of children a glimpse into the Father’s Heart, a testimony of deep and abiding faith and obedience to God and the knowledge and understanding that God will accomplish His purposes. He can teach his children about God’s love and mercy, about restoration and about perseverance and victory in difficult circumstances.

Because of his suffering, Job could be a man who bore spiritual fruit and could reach his children and every generation after, for God’s Kingdom.

And so I ask myself, what kind of legacy am I giving my kids?

Am I lighting a spiritual fire in my children and showing them what true and deep faith and utter dependence on God looks like? Am I living a life that produces fruit in the kingdom of God? When times are tough, do my kids see a mom who perseveres and is faithful and willing to suffer according to God’s will?

Maybe, but is it enough?

And if it is not, I am not only cheating my children, but I am also cheating myself by merely scratching the surface of the deeply intimate relationship that God desires to have with us. I want to show them that there is more.

It is hard to acknowledge my inadequacies as a parent. But it is only more proof of how desperately I need Jesus and His mercy and His work in my life. I want to go deeper and I pray that He will do that deep work in me that will produce lasting changes that bear fruit, so that I can pour that out into my children to the glory of God, for His Kingdom, and for the generations to come.

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I am excited to be joining in on a weekly book discussion led by Jason Stasyszen  and Sarah Salter. Please visit them to see other posts in response to The Fire of Delayed Answers by Bob Sorge, at Jason’s blog—Connecting to Impact, and Sarah’s blog—Living Between the Lines. And even if you are not reading the book, please feel free to jump into the discussion!

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Who can you trust in the fire?

When I see people struggling, hurting, suffering, I want to help them. I am a fixer. I want to fix and make things better. It seems to be a “thing” in my family—a need I am pretty sure I inherited from my daddy, who is Mr. Fix-It!

trust His heartOn the other hand, when I am struggling, I find myself wanting someone who will listen to me, encourage me and want to help me. I have a select few friends and family members I will reach out to in those difficult times. Sometimes those who love me and know me well, will recognize that something isn’t quite right and will offer their support unasked.

Think about Job for a moment.

Job, of Old Testament times, the blameless and holy man, who suffered unspeakable pain and loss at the hands of the Accuser. Job, who had done nothing in his life to deserve such atrocities, lost everything—his home, his family, his property. And then, he was left with his body covered in horrible boils. And yet, Job remained faithful to God. Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him.” (Job 13:15 | NIV)

Enter Job’s friends.

Job’s friends came to his aid. Three guys showed up to sit with Job and they began to talk to him. Now, some things they said were not wrong, just misguided. In fact, in The Fire of Delayed Answers, author Bob Sorge says that “Eliphaz and his friends spoke godly truth. They laid forth many biblical principles that are supported throughout the rest of Scripture. The problem was they had the right words for the wrong situation.”

Job’s friends did not know the whole story. They were offering advice based on what they could see going on in front of them. They were unaware of the spiritual battle going on behind the scenes. They also did not know that Job did not need to hear any scriptural platitudes to ease his suffering because Job, even though he was suffering beyond anything I can begin to imagine, was keenly aware of the fact that what was happening to him was not due to any sin on his part, but it was because God had chosen to test him in this way. Remarkably, Job recognized God’s desire to refine him.

Job had to be careful, though.

Even though he knew in his heart the true reason behind all that was happening, he still had his friends chirping in his ears. Of course, they were only trying to help. What if Job had been distracted those guys? Perhaps he would have missed the whole point of what God was trying to do.

We have to be careful too.

In the midst of our trials, we have to be able to filter out the advice we may be getting—no matter how helpful and godly it may seem to be. We have to be careful of what voices we listen to as we walk through the fire. They may be the voices of those who love us very much. But they may distract us from the One Voice. The only voice that matters—the voice of God.

How do we do that?

I have to remind myself, that in times of struggle, I need to reach for God first and not the phone. Open His instruction book. Seek the counsel of God Himself. Be still and know and trust and listen for His voice. Then I will know His voice and I will be better equipped to filter through the helpful, or perhaps misguided, offerings of others. I can seek godly counsel, but filter that based on His Word and on what I know to be true about the heart of God for me.

Likewise, I need to be cautious in my desire to help others. Before I jump in and make the same mistake Job’s friends made, I need to, as Mr. Sorge suggests, “stop first and ask the Lord how [I] can pray according to His heart.” Then I can help as the Lord leads.

“I desire greatly to bring the mind of the Lord to needy situations now rather than simply pooling from the reservoir of my own experiential wisdom.” ~Bob Sorge, The Fire of Delayed Answers

I don’t want to be like Job’s friends who rushed in spouting off words at people without thinking it through and praying about it.

I want to be like Job, who trusted in God’s design for his sufferings and who remained steadfast and believed he would hear God even when he felt that God was silent. Even though he could not hear God’s voice, Job knew God’s heart and trusted in His ultimate plan.

And so can we.

8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there;
if I go to the west, I do not find him.
9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
11 My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.
12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than  my daily bread.                    

Job 23:8-12 | NIV

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I am excited to be joining in on a weekly book discussion led by Jason Stasyszen  and Sarah Salter. Please visit them to see other posts in response to The Fire of Delayed Answers by Bob Sorge, at Jason’s blog—Connecting to Impact, and Sarah’s blog—Living Between the Lines. And even if you are not reading the book, please feel free to jump into the discussion!

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