Monday, June 04, 2007
This is for us!
Room to Dance
Written by: Pam Spinosi
I once saved a page from Look Magazine on which a photographer had arranged pictures taken over an 18- or 20-year period. When his friend’s son was a baby, the photographer dressed him in an adult man’s clothes. Each year at the same time, he would photograph the child wearing the clothes, which gradually became less ridiculously too big until, in the last image, they fit the tall young man in the photo. That piece seemed a metaphor for how our Father gives visions to us way before we are “large” enough to inhabit them. Knowing who He has made us to be and where we are going in Him, He may give a suit-sized call to our toddler-sized spirit, and we may wonder how we will ever fill it. Like the photographer, He knows we will one day—and He is patient for that day.
God sees ahead and declares things that "be not as though they were." Jesus called Peter, "Rock," before Peter’s wishy-washy denial of Him, but Peter later grew into the name Jesus had pronounced upon him. Maybe that word resonated in Peter’s spirit until he could see himself that way, too.
Because I have had to move so many times, God speaks to me through my housing situation. When I first moved from the Paris area to the provincial French town two and a half hours away that would be my home for four years, I had very little time to find a place to live. Having accidentally visited the town on a Catholic holiday, I was only able to view one apartment that was advertised privately; all the rental agencies were closed. The owner happily showed the over-sized and slightly expensive apartment to me, and wishing to have an English-speaking foreigner in his daughters’ lives, offered to hold it for me for a month until I could move in! His offer was generous—and it eased the difficulty of moving to a new place where I knew no one. I accepted.
Only entering my second year in France, I was unaware that I would not be able to buy on credit at the furniture store until I had been in that town for a year—and I still did not have a French credit card. I only had enough money to purchase a few necessary items: a washing machine, a refrigerator, a kitchen table and chairs, a toaster oven and a mattress. Things like couches, chairs and anything reasonably comfortable would have to wait. I had a spacious—but completely empty living room and an empty guest bedroom. A great place for me to dance, not yet the place to receive guests that I wanted it to be. When summer rolled around, I decided to move and hoped I could find something smaller and less expensive, something I could decorate and fill up.
After making that decision, I had one little dinner party to entertain my French friends, their daughter and their son who had just returned from three years in America. I put my little table in the living room, and made my best dinner. The mother of this family said she had not been able to sleep the night before and was receiving from the Lord that my apartment was like an "upper room". We all sensed after prayer that I should keep the apartment; God had purposes for it.
But it was too late. Someone had already signed a contract to move in at the end of the month. Being who He is, God did later give me a great place to live, but at that moment when I realized I had let go of something He had given me, I smarted for a while from regret, and I saw a lesson in my current experience.
What I had been given was bigger than I could fill. Eventually, I would have been able to fill that apartment, but not yet. Discouraged and tired of looking at an empty room, I had chosen to abandon that place to have something tiny that I could fill. I even had looked at a very inexpensive and minute studio that could never have housed a guest. That little place would have suffocated not only me but also God’s purpose for me to open my home to meetings and hospitality.
At times, abandoning a vision seems easier than waiting for it. Peter said, "I’m going fishing!" He had given up. His dreams had died when he discovered his own inadequacy to fulfill his great calling; he was returning to something he knew and thought he could handle by himself. Sometimes we give up too soon and just take the small thing that we know we can do, the tiny place we can easily fill now. Psalm 105:19 says of Joseph, "Until his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him." Waiting for God’s timing or pursuing or believing for what He has called us to can feel painful at times; we are "tried" like Joseph was as he awaited the promises, which proved bigger than even his dreams had suggested.
God is saying, "No! Do the big thing that you can only do through Me!" If the vision is from God, it will always be bigger than we can do ourselves, but we will be able to do it or fill it in Him if we refuse to give up and settle for the little thing we think we can handle.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it shall speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord…