Hello all, I'm hoping to keep my post today pretty straightforward. Today was difficult. I'm still working through it with God, and I've been struggling with how disengaged I felt tonight. But as we enter into our last day, I want to encourage those of you who might be going through that valley with me right now. I have no good names for these sections I'm writing, so let's just make it easy.
The morning session with David Platt saw hundreds of people accept Christ for the first time. Did you hear that? HUNDREDS. Praise God for all He's doing here, I can't express that enough.
My one seminar that really stuck out to me today was Speaking Like Jesus: Sharing Your Faith with Muslims. I ended up with a practical and hopeful look at what loving on our Muslim friends looks like. Never have I been so excited and ready to engage in prayer and dialogue to do this.
All was well, and I was riding on a wave of forward moving momentum, up until the evening session. Then, for whatever reason, I struggled. I felt so disengaged from what was going on. From the skits, to the worship, to the communion, and much of the message. Like David Platt's words early in the morning, it felt as if I was manufacturing my faith tonight. I left the stadium frustrated, confused, and tired.
When I got back to my hotel, I found to my dismay that a lot of others were feeling the same way. Frustration with how the evening session didn't seem to come together. Fear of what it was going to be like going back home. Ending the night on a sour note despite having a day full of good things.
We decided that perhaps our most important job right now is to simply pray. It felt as if we were under spiritual attack, and the enemy was seeking to derail what God was doing with us here at Urbana. So we prayed.
You see, prayer is both a beautiful and sucky thing at the same time. It's beautiful because it reveals all the ugly parts of your heart. It's sucky because, well, it reveals all the ugly parts of your heart.
As soon as we began praying, it hit me. Oh God. What have I done? What have I been thinking? How did I so quickly judge an entire evening in one broad stroke? How did I disengage from something so holy as communion? Here I am, receiving from the Most High God. Here I am, before the Holy of Holies. And my callous heart decides that it's alright for me to reduce an entire day of receiving to a bad conclusion because I wasn't quite satisfied with one evening session.
I repented, and I'm still repenting, working to turn my heart around. It's hard. But all of this came around because I keep remembering what we've been receiving these past few days. How many times have we heard messages about how living out our faith will be difficult? When there's this dry spell, where was my faith and joy to proclaim that my God is still at work? Why was my response to despair rather than lean in and pray with holy assurance?
There's beauty in prayer. Not only did it reveal the ugliness of my heart, but made way for truth to take it's rightful place.
Brothers and sisters, I don't know how you felt after tonight's evening session, but if you felt like me then I know it can be very difficult. For me personally, it feels like I've been sitting here with a lot of good material but nothing to bring it all together. Today more than most other days, it felt as though everything swirled up and I was caught in a storm of being lost and confused.
But God is still at work. I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, whether if God will provide that spark for me to make sense of this whole conference. But even if nothing "big" happens, let us still be able to say, "Your Kingdom come. Your will be done." So I'm fighting through this, and I invite you to join me in this fight as well.
Press in with me and pray. Let our response always be to pray. In the midst of spiritual warfare, let us anchor ourselves in the truth of the Gospel. If tonight you've been facing spiritual warfare and a temptation to disengage, pray victory and truth over that. When we can't "feel" God here or "hear" Him speak, let the entirety of our being rise up in defiance to the lies of the enemy by declaring the truths of God. God is still here. He is so worthy our entire surrender.
Let our faithfulness to the task ahead not be defined by how we feel, but what we know to be true. Let Urbana not be about us, how much we receive, or how capable we are at the end of it. Let Urbana be about God, and let's keep our eyes fixed on Him.