As I watched the rain come down in long, wet sheets I felt the Spirit of the Lord. He was in the cool wind that blew rivers of rain down the sidewalk and in the laughter of my nine year old as she laughed, jumping through puddles gleefully. He was everywhere, but mostly He was in my heart, whispering His desire to pour down His rain. As I watched the summer storm blow through my neighborhood, I knew this was what we needed most. A washing, a refreshing, a cleansing, to take away all the things we cling to, all the things not of Jesus, and to bring us back to His heart.
His heart. That is what had come to me earlier. As I drove and prayed the word “heartbeat” came to mind. Don’t laugh, but for some reason I thought of that scene from the movie with Patrick Swayze, Dirty Dancing, where he is trying to teach the clumsy Francis Houseman how to find her rhythm. He places his hand over hers, on his heart, and he says “lubdub, lubdub,” showing her that moving through dance steps is like feeling the beat through your whole body. I think his words were, “it’s a feeling,” and I understood God was wanting us to get His feeling for the world.
I felt like the Lord was telling me that we needed to get in sync with His heartbeat, and until we could do that, we couldn’t move in the right direction. The Word says we’re one body, but the fact is a body has a head. Unless we’re following the leader it doesn’t work. If one foot wants to go right, and the other foot wants to go left, you don’t end up actually going anywhere.
Naturally this thought led to political parties. I’ve heard a lot of that going on lately. People being accused of leaning one direction too far, and it made me wonder if we couldn’t just go straight, following the true compass for our direction. I have always considered myself a Republican, a Conservative Christian, but society had left me lately feeling like a vagabond, like a wanderer, a sojourner searching for my way home. The thing I was discovering was that perhaps the place I had always felt so comfortable wasn’t my home anymore. Perhaps the Lord was leading me to His home.
Democrat and Liberal had always been like dirty words where I came from, and I certainly couldn’t bend on my moral views. Some things the left stood for I couldn’t stand with, but many ways the right was acting didn’t settle right with my spirit. To me, we all had it jacked up, and we had gotten so busy building our own agendas, we forgot the cornerstone that had been laid down. God was calling us back to that foundation, that heartbeat, that place of love we had wandered away from.
Over the past couple of months I had seen more bickering, more disagreement, and more division than ever before. It’s like the country had two sides, you had to pick which camp you wanted to be a part of, but sadly neither seemed to be a place I’d want to lay my head down at night. I certainly wouldn’t sleep peacefully being a part of either. Then I started to notice other lost children running around in the wilderness in between. Good people, with good hearts, who couldn’t find there place in what the world had become. God was opening the eyes of His children, and once open many of us couldn’t believe what we were seeing. Had we always been blind to how off track we had gotten?
The more I’ve fallen in love with scripture over the past few years, the more I consume the truth therein, the more I see what Jesus wants for His church. One body, unified. His Spirit, in us. Us in Him, seated together with the Father in Heavenly places. Not just after we die, but now, while we wait for His return. We have been commissioned to draw all people to His table, but we forgot that along the way. Instead we decided to throw our own dinner party.
We’ve stopping listening to God’s word and applying it to our lives. We separated church and state, yet stand on our religion to throw large stones at those who are different than us. We have built idols out of our political party, and we’ve covered our home and families with banners made of cloth, rather than banners of His protection and love. We have thrown down the greatest commandment, in favor of cherry-picking the ones that meet our agenda. We have made our buildings and our denominations our house of worship. We have forgotten the temple is us, and the work of Jesus starts in our hearts. Like the Pharisees we have become more consumed with what goes into a man, and turned a blind eye to what comes out. We’re ok with leaders who speak hatred, because they give us better employment rates. We’re ok with leaders who don’t emulate the love of Jesus, because that only matters when we need His love to apply to us. We want the favor of God. We even say we want our country built on that same God in which we trust, yet we close that country’s doors to anyone we deem unworthy of entry. We shout for threat of someone taking our religious freedom, yet we spit in the face of Christianity when we treat our fellow man with hatred, inequality, bigotry, and rage. It’s as if religion has become our God, not the actual Savior who redeemed us.
Gosh, there are so many examples of current policy that somehow go against the teachings of Jesus, and while I feel like it’s as plain as the nose on my face, for others the veil of deception is heavy. If we hold the title of Christian then we are good. If our leaders hold the title of Christian, we/they are good. We can check that box on our ticket to Heaven, yet God is asking more of us. We can no longer be the church just in name. God is calling us to be the church in our actions. He is calling us to follow the beat of His heart, not the beat of our own drum. If our politics are beating out of sync with the lubdub of His love, then I believe we are entering a season where He is calling us to a new way.
What if the things we have always known, the sides we have always taken, and the direction we have always stepped needs a revamp. Instead of going to the left, or going to the right, the Lord is saying, “come this way. Follow me.” That is what we have forgotten. How to follow the way of Jesus. It’s right there in red print, but we miss it all the time. Instead of doing things the way we’ve always done, we listen for His heartbeat for our steps. We follow His directions, His example, and we stop supporting anything that doesn’t measure up to that.
I think one hindrance to following the Jesus beat is that it requires us to admit we’ve been doing things wrong. It requires us to humbly confess our wrongdoing and mistakes. It often means doing an about-face and taking another way. It means letting go of our pride in favor of His truth, truth that’s not always easy to swallow because it’s so different from what the world feeds us. But guys, the systems of this world are broken. We can’t keep expecting them to work. It’s time to develop new systems, systems built on Jesus, His heart, His way, His truth.
The systems of this world are like a stain that clings to our Spirit. This is why the enemy can so easily deceive those of us under the spell of our beloved worldly systems. But I believe we are in a rainy season. I believe storms have been building, brewing, and the Heavens are going to pour forth a cleansing rain. Eyes are opening, ears are hearing, and hearts are breaking for truth. Gifts are being poured out on God’s people, and He is calling forth those who follow Him to speak what He is saying. He is calling us to be the new church, one body that doesn’t try to go in opposite directions, but that stays centered on the heartbeat of His love and grace.
Are you tired of the way the world has been going? Me too. I believe God is saying it’s time for things to change. It’s time to do things differently. I don’t know all the answers of how this will work, but I believe as we listen to His heartbeat for people we will gain wisdom for next steps. I’m not naive. I understand the country is run on more than love, but I do strongly believe that should remain the foundation and the filter through which we make our decisions. Join me in prayer as I pray for rain, as I pray for our Nation to get the feeling of His heart, and that we may begin to walk in step, as one, in Spirit and truth, towards the future the Lord has for His church.
As I finished up this post, my husband called me outside to see the large rainbow that covered us. It was God’s covenant, not to destroy us, His promise for our future. If ever there has been a time we need that promise, I believe it is now. But first comes the rain.