I recently spoke at the King's Arms about how we can increasingly step into the healing momentum I believe God is opening up for us in this season. I was surprised that the words repent and lament were two of my main points, with the third being that we need to keep taking risks. Repenting and lamenting don't seem to be words that naturally lend themselves to stirring people's faith and expectation for healing. In actual fact, they're absolutely crucial. Let me show you why.
We need to repent so that our thinking is more in line with scripture
I was reading in Matthew recently when John the Baptist came declaring that the Kingdom of God was at hand. It was a scripture I had read many times before, but on this occasion it seemed to jump out at me. The Kingdom of God was at hand. It was close, it was near, it was within touching distance. And this was true before Jesus had started His ministry, before He had gone to the cross to finally and unequivocally defeat the enemy and secure absolute victory over sin, sickness and death. If it was at hand before the cross, imagine how close it is now in light of Jesus' resurrection!
When you look at Jesus and the disciples in the Gospels and Acts, God's Kingdom broke in with healing ALL the time. Healing was the norm rather than the exception for the early church. It happened wherever Jesus and the disciples went, and it happened A LOT! When God's Kingdom is at hand, healing flows. It's a natural outworking of God's superiority; of His rule and reign; of His victory.
As I read and reflected on this truth in God's word, I realised that my thinking about God's Kingdom was wrong. I realised that I was expecting it be hard-work to see people healed and that I was believing that healing was actually the exception rather than the norm. My thinking was wrong, mostly because of my own journey with sickness and the many experiences I've had of praying for people and not seeing breakthrough.
I realised afresh in that moment that God's word is true irrespective of my experience, so I took some time to repent.
I took some time to repent of my wrong thinking and to change my mindset. The truth is that God's Kingdom is at hand, it's near, it's close by. God's heart for us, for the church, is that we would see healing as the norm rather than the exception. That's what He and the disciples modelled. Is that what you're expecting?
We need to learn to lament so that we can keep faith alive in our hearts and keep trusting God for more
I read such a helpful book recently called Dark Clouds Deep Mercy by Mark Vroegop. It unpacks what the Bible teaches about lamenting and it gave me so much faith for continuing to lament well; for making lament a normal part of my life as I pursue God's Kingdom.
I've done my fair share of lamenting over the years where I have connected with very deep pain. There has been a lot of snot and a lot of tears, and if I'm honest, I've often resented the journey. I've longed for more times of joy and celebration, where the pain of mystery is eclipsed by God's Kingdom breaking in with power to transform lives. So often I've longed for more than I've actually seen and it's been hard to process. I've known that God is able and willing, and yet there often seems to have been a disconnect between His ability and my experience.
Reading Mark's book has given me fresh vision for lamenting. One of the most helpful things he says is that lamenting is actually a sign - a fruit - of living with faith. He makes the point that you only lament when you have faith. You only lament when you expect God to break in, because you know who He is and what He's able to do, and He doesn't break in in the way you hope. You lament when you long for more: for yourself, for your friends and family, for your church, for your nation. You lament when you're hungry to see more of God's Kingdom come and you're not yet seeing all that you know is possible. Reading Mark's book has given me fresh faith for lamenting.
When I lament, it's actually a sign that I'm living with faith.
The truth is that if we go on this journey of repenting, of changing the way we think about God's Kingdom, we are going to find ourselves praying for more breakthrough. What's great about that is we'll see more of God's Kingdom come. It's also true that our repentance will make it all the more important for us to learn to lament well, because we won't always see the answers to prayer we're longing for. When we learn to lament well, we take the pain of the mystery we experience to the Father and offload it to Him. As a result we're able to come back to a place of faith and trust in His unchanging nature, and we're able to go again - to ask God for more of His Kingdom to break out on the earth.
Lamenting is meant to be a very normal part of life for those who are proclaiming and demonstrating the Kingdom. How are you doing at learning to lament? It's a wonderful fruit of living with faith in your heart and longing for more. Where there are dark clouds, there is deep mercy.
I want to encourage you to take some time with Jesus to repent and to lament. There is SO much more of His Kingdom to be seen and experienced this side of heaven. His Kingdom is close; it's near. In God's Kingdom, healing is the norm rather than the exception. Don't you long for that to be your reality; to be the reality of your church?
It's time for us to go after more; to hunger and thirst for His presence and His fame and for His Kingdom to advance with great power. The Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of us and wants to flow through us. Let's change our thinking, lament for where we haven't seen what we've longed for, and then ask, seek and knock again. The hungry always get fed.
Wendy Mann Equip | www.wendymannequip.com
Building Family, Prioritising God's Presence, Extending God’s Kingdom