From my bible study, the Uncommon Woman, by Susie Larson: the chapter on believing His Promises are True, tells this story, “James is the most amazing man of faith I have ever met. He knows what he possesses in Christ. It’s like he brings an increased sense of God’s presence with him wherever he goes. His understanding of the promises and the purposes of God surpasses anyone I know.
“James was invited to Africa to minister to some missionaries there. The people felt depressed and oppressed and couldn’t seem to get out from under the dark cloud that had descended upon them. They were desperate for James to arrive.
“The plane landed on the tarmac in Africa, and when the door of the plane opened, a man was standing there waiting to meet James. The host weakly grabbed James’s hand and said, ‘Brother James, we’re so glad you are here. We’ve been so depressed, Brother James. Now that you’re here, can you feel the darkness and oppression in this land?”
With a pregnant pause, excited to tell us the best part of the story it was said, “James stepped onto the tarmac, looked this man square in the eye, and said, ‘You listen here. I have the living, powerful God of heaven alive in my soul. When I step foot on this land, that oppression feels me.”
(The disclaimer here is that we are not defective disciples if we come upon times of oppression when we need someone to loan us their faith in order to help us stand).
However, this story challenges us to “more firmly, more resolutely…walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth” (Psalm 116:9). God’s presence is rich with promises, provision, and protection…when we lay hold of what we possess in Christ we will also believe that everywhere we place our feet, God’s Kingdom comes to bear. James’ story can be ours!
Point 1: Ms. Larson also goes on to remind us that “when we keep Jesus on the throne of our life every single day, and when we determine to be done with attitudes and activities that are beneath you, you will be positioned to march into your next place of promise.” Some of the foremost attitudes and activities that come to mind are worry and fear. I worry very little. But I fear about certain things. When I do I dethrone my King from His throne.
Point 2: The Israelites took forty years to take a journey that should only have taken them a week or two. Their delayed journey more than likely was a direct result of their rebellious fears and unbelief. “The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them. Instead, they grumbled in their tents and refused to obey the Lord” (Psalm 106: 24-25, NLT). The Israelites refused to believe the promise and then they grumbled because their lives had no promise. Do we grumble without a promise and not even consider taking our need to our Father too? Do we worry instead of believe and therefore delay whatever journey God has planned for us – and possibly will never see because we are worrying instead of believing?
Point 3: God absolutely detests grumbling and complaining. You know why? Because God is the source of all things and we are the object of His affection! The Lord is our Shepherd and we shall not want. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says that all God’s promises are “Yes” in Christ. If we are grumbling and complaining once again we are saying God doesn’t get it right. Or he breaks promises! Wow, I don’t want that.
I could proceed on continuing to rewrite Ms. Larson’s entire chapter – it’s that good and full of a heart-full of – well – goodness.