If your day went anything like mine, you likely clocked in more than 14 hours of nonstop action. We ran from morning devotions to the morning session. Then we went from one seminar to the next. Then, at least for me, I went to the prayer ministry room to be prayed over before proceeding to curl up in the corner of the worship and reflection room. Then came dinner, the evening session, and then the roommate huddle.
I wanted to take in everything. To be honest, I found myself in a not so good place: Overwhelmed and lost.
Under attack from what seemed like a firehose of information and lessons, I felt like I wasn't making sense of it anything. Even worse, I didn't feel like I was fully IN the presence of God.
If you're feeling kind of that way yourself, this post is for you.
My Struggle Began…
With an inability to fully quiet my heart. There was some AMAZING content in everything I attended today.
The morning session's exposition of Matthew 8 left me with pages full of notes and a lingering conviction of what it means to follow Jesus in obedience. The poverty track's "Conviction" seminar drove deep into the fundamental theology of combating injustice and what it means to bring Shalom, or peace with justice, into the lives of those we aim to serve.
Yet for all of this, I just felt like I was missing something. I couldn't for the life of my figure out what it was. Frustrated, I headed over to the prayer ministry room. My intercessor (shoutout to Sarah Chen) worked diligently to dig deep into why I was feeling the way I was.
We waited in prayer.
In my silence, the burdens that were holding me back washed over me. The burden of career expectation. The burden of being a senior and making sure all the younger ones at Urbana were doing alright. The unreconciled emotional baggage I brought with me to the conference. As I listed out these things to be prayed over, I felt God calling me to be assured that He would reveal all things in His time. That I was to wait on Him and be at peace.
As Sarah prayed over me, she received an image that I was standing over the crowds in the Urbana dome. I was watching over what was happening, but not fully part of it. Yet God was inviting me to step down, to lay aside my burdens and responsibilities, and to fully take in what was happening. God was saying that I had all these intellectual pieces. Now I just needed that spark, that go-ahead from God to bring it all together.
My Time in the Prayer Room…
Brought to me a great sense of renewal and refreshment. There's still so much to be processed and made sense of, and I doubt all of it will fall into place in this one week. Yet there, in the quiet space, God's assurance to me was that I was exactly where I needed to be.
It was not up to me to figure out everything and piece it all together. It was not up to me to force myself "into" the presence of God during those sessions in the stadium.
The only way I can really explain it is to look to the leper from Matthew 8. "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."
Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.
Lord, if you are willing, you can make sense of my calling.
Lord, if you are willing, you can give me what it takes to follow you.
Lord, if you are willing, you can use me to bring Shalom to the impoverished.
A lot of you may feel like me right now. Maybe those pieces haven't all connected yet. Maybe you're still looking for direction. Maybe you haven't "felt" God here yet.
But the only response we have, and really the only response Jesus is deserving of, is our utterly complete surrender and worship. We can trust that the One who commands the waves, takes our sicknesses, and casts out demons is the same One who will meet us here. It is not our job to dictate terms to the King, but to simply say, "Lord, if you are willing." Then, in our quiet surrender, let us rest assured that we will hear those long awaited words,
"I am willing."