In the previous posts I have given a few windows into our attempts to cover issues from history through going on site, praying, acting and declaring. It is great to be able to connect some dots along the way, and very satisfying to see the path from 2008 (piracy, betrayal and murder) through to the day we moved to Madrid. Of course there is no way anyone can claim that one’s actions at any point were key. Maybe it all would happen anyway, or any ‘results’ were down to some other event. Faith is faith. We all have to do what we believe is right. There is no voice coming from heaven saying that God has never found anyone so obedient and smart in all of history! The great aspect also concerning faith is that it is not based on getting it right. Sometimes we have just got to do something that resonates with our spirits and the situation.
It would be great if we could show that when we faced up to the very real possible betrayal and loss of money that it had an effect into the original issues (piracy…). We certainly hope so!!
Ultimately we want to see substance, but signs are an important element on the way. Symbolism / signs in Scripture are important and seem to be two-fold in significance:
- they point to the substance, and so are a real boost to sight. We are to lift our eyes when a sign appears so that we can see what they are pointing to. That is a real help, but beyond their obvious purpose they
- draw to themselves the substance they are pointing to. This is so key. When the sign takes place they accelerate the shift, and act beyond a time marker. Something actually moves.
Signs can be external to ourselves, but so often the sign will manifest much closer to home. There is a reason for this. When it is close to home we have leverage, and leverage means we can move something way beyond our weight. This is something we see so often in Scripture with the prophets. They become signs and symbols, living through in their bodies and circumstances what is in the land. This was not to make them victims but to give them an authority to shift something in the land.
Of course there needs to be a caveat in all this. We can be in danger of making everything a sign… NO NO and again I say NO! Yet there are times when we have an inner conviction that what we are experiencing is a sign. Or we focus in prayer on something in the bigger picture, and then at a personal level we begin to experience the same but at a smaller scale.
Something small and personal can shift something big and societal.
40 days in the wilderness… and 40 years… 400 years… all is ready to see a shift.
There are two errors to avoid:
- Taking on a victim spirit – this is happening because of the filth in the land and I am experiencing this because the church is so passive and lukewarm.
- Proclaiming how victorious I am in Christ, getting personal freedom and missing what else could come through.
Both of the above are focused on ‘me’. Poor me or victorious me. The promises of God are corporate promises so that life can flow through us, not simply to us.
We have consistently had to battle through at a personal level whenever we have pushed into corporate issues. There seems to be three possible outcomes in those times.
1) a personal breakthrough but nothing changes on the wider front.
2) a breakthrough on the wider front but the personal circumstances do not.
3) a breakthrough on both fronts – that is the one we pull for!!!
Of course the third option is the one we all like to have 100% of the time. There are so many factors that mean we do not quite live in an ‘ideal’ world (as if!) but at least let’s kick in that direction.
The challenge of recounting stories is that the impression can be given that the story teller lives above all of the rest of us, with ‘I did this’ and the heavens opened and… Scripture is full of stories but not all the stories are full of ‘success’. Indeed success is not the measure, but faithfulness, and if we are faithful somehow there is an effectiveness. Success is my story; effectiveness is there is change somewhere else and I often don’t know how I contributed to it. A success syndrome means we have no need of a final assessment day; effectiveness means that on that day we will hear a voice something along the lines of ‘well done’.
So now in danger of success story-telling but seeking to outline the principle of ‘close to home’. I have recounted before of rupturing a disc in my back. Those things happen and there are so many testimonies of healing. However, it was not too long before we realised there was a major parallel between my physical experience and the land. This focused our prayers two ways – personal and land.
The final shift came when I had my back tattooed with a compass over the problem disc and the words ‘true north’ on the spine. Symbolism for sure. The problem disc was clearly where Madrid is positioned on the land and where ‘true north’ needs to bring about an alignment. (For those who want to think about the practice – I once read about someone who spat in mud and slapped it on a blind person’s eyes… just a little out there?)
We do not come with great success stories and any breakthrough is always challenged. The latest book from the Fascist wing of Spain is roughly translated ‘Vertebrate Spain’. Now there is a challenge!! That is life. A great move forward today, a kick back tomorrow… but the faithfulness of the saints is being stored up in heaven, the materials that God is building the New Jerusalem with. (Apparently ‘with’ is not how to end a sentence, but ‘with’ is a God word so no apologies there!)