Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Woods outside of Kaiserslautern, Germany

Poignant remembrances

'Therefore Seeing We Have This Ministry'

Light more light.The haunting death gasp of the great German writer, Goethe, has somehow been brought up out of long-buried forgetfulness and will not let me go. 'God is light and in Him is no darkness at all'

My spirit is preoccupied with light. I know that I cannot speak on anything else this night, though I have not spoken from that text before; it is vague, tenuous, unformed. It will be one of those awkward, peculiar, chokey nights, trusting the Lord to assemble and shape His own utterance in the moment of the speaking. It is clear that the test of walking in the light is not any subjective estimation we may have of our own spirituality, but the concrete condition of our actual relationship with each other. 'But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.'

There is that strange sense of detachment while being driven to the meeting tonight: the weather is dreadful, heavy rain and penetrating chill. Perhaps the turnout (hopefully) will be small. It's an impromptu, hastily arranged final night's meeting in Germany before departure home tomorrow after six weeks overseas. Upon arrival, one finds the opposite is true; a large crowd is gathered at the Air Force chapel and there is a definite spirit of expectancy in the air. Various fellowships have canceled their individual prayer meetings to come and several distinguished ministries in Germany are represented by their directors. To add to it all, German friends have come from a distance at some expense and inconvenience, having learned of the meeting. In the hallway one meets with utter surprise, the daughter of a devoted friend of the ministry. Her husband, we had heard, is alienated and indifferent to spiritual things. In a moment it clicks. This is his base. He has come to the meeting willing to hear. Oh no!

All is calculated for humiliation. An untested message in its first expression and the stakes are high. Still, this utter calm and strange aloofness as if I myself am not involved. It has not to do with my desires, my abilities, and my condition.

'But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of His power may be of God, and not of us.'

Have we trusted the Lord through all these past weeks, proclaiming (and demonstrating) the realities of His Resurrection Life in every place- worn saints in Yugoslavian hamlets, critical German audiences, a Danish meeting (arranged despite us) on a final night in that country (Theme: 'Why do you walk as mere men?') In places scheduled and unscheduled, in major addresses and spontaneous sharings, before few or many, in vital energy or drained, in overflowing inspiration or dispirited (drab) emptiness…have we trusted God?

Trusting God for His Life to be the light of men, trusting God to watch over the family and all the dear ones at home, trusting for needs met, for the long-delayed newsletter to get out, for the responses of God's people, for the rightness of the March tour to Israel, for decisions, for commitments, for the future, for…TRUSTING GOD.

How rich and profuse has been the outpouring of His Life through these weeks; pulsating themes of God - Acts 13: 'The Church that was at Antioch'; Ezekiel 44: 'The True Priesthood of God'; Matthew 27: 'Ultimate Suffering as Ultimate Redemption,' personal ministry, encouragement, counsel, admonitions, times of fellowship, deepening of ties, new contacts and friends, the fasts, the feasts, the sudden sickness at Stuttgart (totally dissipated on the third day!), the calumny and reproach (reports of being described as a false teacher to the saints at Yugoslavia), the lavish reception and honor heaped upon us by Mother Basilea and the Sisters at Darmstadt…TRUSTING GOD.

'Always bearing about in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.'

The song service, special music, announcements and preliminaries are over. I am hearing myself being introduced…moments of silence looking out on God's people…the lighting is murky…strange expressions on faces as the words begin to form…feeling and looking peculiar…speaking mystically…groping…felt…random…a radical word…stronger…a cry…reality…Truth…a call to the LIGHT…silence…they come…they break…it was a word that changes EVERYTHING…GOD!

So do we trust that it will be God in Israel with 130 who are going with us from all over (about 30 from Germany), the meetings with the saints there, the visit to the kibbutz that has recently opened, the Yeshiva (Orthodox Rabbinical Academy) whose doors were also miraculously opened to us. We trust that it will be God at the Army Charismatic Retreat at Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, sharing the burden of ministry with Derek Prince; that it will be God for all 12 days in Denmark that follow (especially the day-long seminar with Pentecostal pastors in Jutland that is being planned), and the concluding five days throughout Holland (through the arrangements of dear friend, Jan van der Hoeven) till our return home again.

Will you pray us through these days? Pray that cities be shaken, the Cross uplifted, His kingdom advanced, the sleeping churches shaken? Pray that our foundation at home be made sure, our families knit, our writing responsibilities pursued, our obligations met. You have blessed us through your faithfulness. May the Spirit of God impart to your souls beyond these meager words and descriptions that which is being wrought for eternity in these days, in the little place where we labor, because you trust us in Him.

- Kaiserslautern, Germany (Spring 1978)

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