Today, I am sharing an article I read recently by Karen Hardin – it is a very good article, very insightful. I believe it will be a blessing to you.
I was driving home a few months ago and talking to God as I drove. Although I had some pretty huge issues before me that needed answers, I wasn’t talking to Him about them. I was simply thanking Him for who He was and the beauty of all He had created.
As I turned down the road to my neighborhood, I looked up in the sky and right in front of me was a square of blue sky with a rainbow in it. It wasn’t a full rainbow, just a patch. The best way I can describe it was that it seemed almost like a picture frame with a rainbow inside.
When do rainbows appear? After the rain. But this was the deal, it wasn’t raining and it hadn’t been raining—for days! It was just one of those moments where God shows up. Immediately the Lord began to speak Promise to me of things to come and regarding some of the big issues that had been on my heart, but which I hadn’t brought up to Him in that conversation. I was praising Him and He responded with a reminder of Promise. It was one of those wow moments.
Flash forward to a prayer time this morning. In a situation in which my husband and I are facing some big needs and issues in our personal lives and ministry. You know the kind that can overwhelm you if you look at the waves of the storm. I know many of you are in that same situation because the number of emails I’m getting regarding situations people are facing is increasing. The emails are all very, very similar.
“I’m doing everything I know to do and the situation isn’t changing. It’s so discouraging.”
“I’ve prayed and asked God for direction and provision and yet, things have actually gotten worse. I’m ready to give up.”
“No matter how hard I work, I can’t seem to get ahead. I’ve prayed and feel like I’m following what He has told me to do and that I’m in obedience to what He has said. I tithe. I pray. And yet, I haven’t been able to take a paycheck in my business for months. I can’t keep going like this. I don’t know what to do.”
I was praying for those situations this morning-many which are desperate. Almost immediately several scenes began to play before my eyes.
The first scene was of a writer who was praying for help, knowledge and breakthrough. I saw they were frustrated, even angry, and cried out in prayer for insight and knowledge. I knew this person well-we were friends and they lived in the same city. I then thought about a webinar I had offered through my business recently that helped train writers in the very area where I saw this individual in the vision praying for insight. Yet I knew they hadn’t signed up to participate in the training offered. I sensed it wasn’t a $$ issue as the Lord spoke the word, “familiarity.”
The old saying “familiarity breeds contempt” came to mind immediately. Perhaps because they knew me well, what I had to share wasn’t valued. They were looking for an answer to prayer and a “big insight” but from a “big” source. Yet that which they had prayed for was offered to them– in a familiar package.
That scene was replaced with another, only this time I was on the other end. I saw myself seeking knowledge and praying for insight into a situation. I needed breakthrough. I then saw someone I was very familiar with-even frustrated with. That person had a book out that covered the very area that I was looking for insight. Yet I had not purchased the book because of the exact same situation as above—familiarity. The value of what that individual had to offer—which was an area of expertise for them—I had simply overlooked/ignored because I didn’t value it or their gift as I should have because of familiarity. And to be honest, probably some offense mixed into that familiarity.
When we value the Word and give time to the Word, we receive from the Word. It is the same with people God has put into our lives. When we value their gift and who they are, we can receive from the value and gift of who they are. It’s Matthew 10:41, “Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.” When we don’t receive the value that is within someone, it is closed up to us because we can’t even see it.
When we are only willing to receive from someone outside or from that “big name” person, we can miss the actual thing God wants to do. God often offers an answer to prayer that can be overlooked when we aren’t looking with the right eyes or heart.
Yet I also could sense God’s deep desire to see these desperate prayers answered. As these visions played through my head, I sensed what seemed like almost desperation on His part to respond and provide the answers that His children were cried out for response. His Father’s heart was moved and He was just waiting to act.
Therefore, the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore, He waits on high to have mercy on you, for the Lord is a God of justice; how blessed are all who long for Him. O people in Zion, inhabitants in Jerusalem, you shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry. When He hears it, He will answer you. Though the Lord has given you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet He, your Teacher, will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes shall see your Teacher (Isaiah 30:18-20 MEV).
At His very core, God is a God of justice. He sees the situation you are in and for many, it is not of your own making. It is unjust. It says, you are blessed because you long for Him. This next part is important. The word “mercy” in that verse can also be translated “compassion.” In the Hebrew it means, the Lord longs that have “deep and kindly sympathy and sorrows for the one who has been struck with affliction accompanied with the desire to relieve the suffering.”
The Lord is deeply moved by our entreaty of prayer. He feels our pain with a “deep and kindly sympathy” that moves Him to action to relieve our suffering. His desire to alleviate suffering is followed by verse 21.
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.
Are you crying out for insight? He is speaking and He promises we will hear a word specific to our situation which way to walk and which direction to go. But that promise is followed by a command.
You shall defile also your graven images overlaid with silver, and your molded images ornamented with gold. You shall scatter them as an impure thing, and say to them, “Be gone!”
The “graven images” overlaid with silver and gold were the impure things holding back the insight of the Word of instruction. I sensed in this situation it was that pride/familiarity. When these images are before our eyes, our eyes cannot see what we need to see and our filter is skewed. So as in the two visions above when “familiarity” became the filter the provision was overlooked.
Familiarity when we break it down is really just another word for pride. We value ourselves, but we don’t necessarily value others-not the way that God does. And when we don’t value who they are, we miss what they have to offer. That is a graven image that must be destroyed and we must tell it to “be gone!” in our lives to receive the promise of the next verse—provision.
Then He shall give you rain for the seed which you shall sow in the ground and bread of the increase of the earth. And it shall be rich and plentiful. On that day your cattle shall feed in large pastures. The oxen likewise and the young donkeys that work the ground shall eat cured fodder, which has been winnowed with the shovel and fork. There shall be on every high mountain and on every high hill rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. (Isaiah 30: 18:23-25 MEV).
Now that is provision! And that is His Promise, which comes from praise, as we cast out pride/familiarity (the graven image) and receive not only provision personally (bread of the increase of the earth) but for our businesses and all we set our hand to (your cattle shall feed in large pastures…)
Do not think the Lord doesn’t hear you. Do not think He has been silent for for He hasn’t. He has plenty to say and is speaking.
We love the moments where He causes a rainbow to appear in the clouds when there is no rain. Or when He shows up in a burning bush, or when He turns water into wine. Those are unmistakable moments and we love to see the “big things”! But He often speaks in silence and through the ordinary. He speaks through the one sitting beside us or a familiar friend.
Look for Him today in the ordinary and the familiar. His provision is there…it is His promise. More often than not He uses the people around us to speak to us, when we have ears to hear and eyes to see and through that source there is provision–the next step.
Prayer for Today: Lord, give us a heart that values others and help us not to miss your big things even if it comes to us in what appears to be a small thing.
To read more articles by Karen Hardin, go to: www.lightandremnant.org