What Gives Joy to El Elyon our Father?
But we see Jesus . . .” (Heb. 2:9). God sees us, but do we see Jesus? By the time we get to our stage in life of crossing over the Jordan River into God’s best for our life, have we grown as a Christian to be able to see Jesus in everything? Have we been able to see that all things have worked for good because we are called to His purpose? If so, we have crossed over into spiritual adulthood. Dwight learned the hard way.
First of all, let’s consider the brand-new baby who sleeps for the first six weeks or so of his life (or should); then, one day he looks his parents in the eye and smiles. What joy!
What joy our Father in heaven must receive when we make any little spiritual change, no matter how small! Spiritual growth is no different than every move a baby makes that does not go unnoticed by his mama and daddy—smiles and quirks of the lips, stretches and yawns, lifting of the head and movement of the eyes. All this happens during the miracle of growth day by day—each day showing a change, even when baby is asleep.
Suddenly, one day he looks straight into his parents’ eyes. It is like he finally wakes up to “life” and smiles real big; then, comes the laugh and the giggles. And our loving, heavenly Father says, “There, that’s what I’m looking for!”
What joy to our Father, El Elyon—Mighty El Roi who is watching us all the time— who has called us by name, hears our every cry, meets our every need, and performs His purposes for us as Sovereign Ruler of the universe.
Yet . . . when we are in the nitty-gritty of life, away from our Father’s perfect will for us, why is it so hard to see Him? Could it be because our eyes are only on self, our babyish needs and wants, turned inward? When we are in this state, we are asleep like a baby, unaware that “nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13).
Dwight learned the hard way
Dwight learned this accountability the hard way—that “God left nothing that is not subject to him” (Heb. 2:8), and that He truly is able to humble those who walk in pride, as Nebuchadnezzar said.
“She’s a Christian. I’m a Christian. I met her during a Bible study. She may have two children, but I’m marrying her anyway!” Dwight defiantly told his friends.
Dwight rebelled against his upbringing, and managed to survive four hellish years in college—drinking and living recklessly. He was not a “good” guy, although he went to church every Sunday out of habit.
He graduated with a mechanic’s degree and used it while working on a farm. Eventually, a friend asked, “Dwight, why don’t you go with me to hear this evangelist?”
After continuous invitations, Dwight finally relented. What he saw astounded him. This evangelist had been burned on 80% of his body; he looked like plastic, absolutely ugly. How dare he ask us to look at him! Dwight thought.
Dwight tried to leave, but he could not move; he started to sob uncontrollably, soiling handkerchiefs of everyone around him. At the end of the service during the invitation to receive the Lord, Dwight found himself at the front, although he does not know how he got there. As he repented of his sins, he knew God saw him and reached down to save him that night. As he walked out of the meeting, He felt brand new inside, completely cleansed.
People told Dwight, “Now your troubles are all over.” Not understanding consequence of choice, he believed them.
Dwight was so excited about his new-found faith that he read his Bible, ten chapters at a time, at 4:00 a.m. each morning. Every Scripture he read told him not to marry the woman he was involved with, so he chose to quit reading his Bible and married her anyway.
Two months later, his wife was pregnant. They spent half of their three-year marriage separated. Before his divorce, Dwight fasted and prayed for forty days and forty nights, pleading with God to restore his marriage and make it right. He felt God spoke to his heart, This will be very hard for you. I can’t fix this relationship you chose, but I do have a helpmate for you.
Dwight met another woman. Rushing into marriage again without seeking God’s wisdom, that marriage lasted five years—two more children without a full-time father.
Absolutely brokenhearted in spirit, he moved back to the Kansas farm—from where he had moved. There, in a small rent house, he got out his Bible and read and prayed night and day; for the first time, he faced himself honestly in the presence of the Lord. For long hours in the dark he sought the Lord. Finally . . . Dwight quit running.
Dwight learns how to pray the Lord’s Prayer
“Dwight, have you ever prayed the Lord’s prayer?” his pastor asked him.
“No, I believe to do so is ‘vain repetition,’ as the Bible calls it.”
“You didn’t like English class, did you?”
“I thought so, Dwight. The Lord’s Prayer is an outline. Each phrase is telling us how to pray and what to do.”
Dwight took hold of that and began to pray as the Lord’s Prayer directed. When meditating on “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6: 10), he realized he had wanted his own will to be done and for God to bless it. He also realized if he had not gone through what he had, he wouldn’t understand that now.
It took Dwight months to pray through the whole prayer, struggling with forgiveness until finally, he learned how to forgive himself and others. During the time of praying the Lord’s Prayer, he met a lady at his church, but he was deathly afraid of any relationship, and his heartfelt prayer was, “Lord, I want only what you want for me.”
Strange from what his life had been before, Dwight noticed fruit springing forth—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (see Gal. 5:22-23). He had gone to another meeting previous to this where he had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Only now after relinquishing his life—dying to self and surrendering his all to the Lordship of Jesus Christ—did he find lasting joy.
Meanwhile, the other lady was still there attending his singles’ group. They were friends and talked a lot, did a few things together, but Dwight did not pursue the relationship. He told God, “If you want this to continue You will have to make it happen, not me.”
Happen it did, and two years later . . . they kissed. They honored God in their relationship by abstaining from sex before marriage. They prayed about everything and made the only One in control, El Elyon [God Most High], number One in their lives. With his new wife’s son, they had four children in their intermittent blended family. Some times were very hard, but God saw them through and He blessed Dwight’s business.
One day, at odds with his supervisor at work he walked outside to take a break. In the stillness He heard the Lord’s voice, “Why are you still here?”
“Well, Lord, I’m making $30,000 a year and have a 401K retirement plan.”
“Don’t you think I can take care of you?”
Dwight quit his job that afternoon—in the first year of his marriage. After getting home, he realized he still had a lot to learn. Even though his new wife’s previous marriage was to a man who thrived on get-rich-quick schemes she supported Dwight. Before he could paint his truck with his new business name he had mechanic jobs waiting. Taking each step one by one, with the Lord as his shepherd, within four years his gross income was over one million dollars.
Dwight learns to share Jesus without fear
One day while on the job in his new building, Dwight’s part’s manager, Sam, came to him and said, “I’ve noticed things are done differently around here. Do you mind sharing with me why you believe the way you do?”
Dwight had not been talking about God at work—only working . . . honestly. He tried desperately to share about Jesus with Sam that day but felt he had botched it up good. At church the next Sunday, he shared his frustration with an older lady. She told him about a book by William Fay (with Linda Evans Shepherd) called Share Jesus without Fear. William had run a house of prostitution until he found Jesus. The lady felt Dwight could learn from this man who had led 25,000 people to the Lord one by one.
Dwight bought the book and devoured reading it in two days. He bathed the situation in prayer for God to prepare Sam’s heart. After going through all he had, Dwight wanted more than anything to share his faith, and hopefully help someone else avoid making the mistakes he had made.
“Sam, will you allow me to try again to share my faith with you? I feel I did a lousy job the other day.”
“Well sure. Go ahead.”
Dwight highlighted Romans 3:23 in the New Testament, plus other Scriptures as indicated in the book. He knew which page it was on and opened the Bible to it. “Sam, will you read this verse out loud?”
“You want me to read it?”
“Yes, and when you finish, at the bottom of that page is another Scripture. Turn to the page number listed and read it too.”
After Sam read the verses out loud to Dwight and voiced what they meant to him he said, “If I receive Christ I will have to change my entire life!”
There was nothing in there that told Sam he would have to change his life, Dwight thought. He witnessed the Holy Spirit working through the Word—convicting of sin and righteousness—that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, that the wages of sin is death, and that all must be born again spiritually to have eternal life.
Sam made no decision right then, and Dwight said, “Okay. Just remember . . . if you die tonight without choosing Jesus . . . you will go to hell. Drive carefully!” [This is not a recommendation from the book he read, but the words that came to his mind to say to Sam.]
About one week later, Dwight arrived at work. Sam was already there and announced, “I got saved last night!”
Sam’s wife had kicked him out of the house. With nowhere to go, he went to the shop and read and reread the Scriptures from the New Testament Dwight had given him. He asked Jesus to come into his heart. God restored their marriage. They now serve the Lord and have a new baby. [These are the Scriptures Sam meditated on that night: Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; John 3:3; John 14:6; Romans 10:9-11; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Revelation 3:20.]
After this experience, Dwight taught a class at his church to forty other Christians who felt inadequate to share their faith. He told them what he learned: “It takes between six and seven times of hearing the Gospel for a person to make the choice to follow Jesus. We want to be the one to reap the harvest, but we are successful in sharing if we have shared in a clear manner. It’s like a chain where we are only one link. If we are silent when given opportunity, we break that link. God cannot use our silence—we must be prepared!”
Dwight could say of God Most High, “You, O Lord, [kept] my lamp burning; my God [turned] my darkness into light” (Ps. 18:28).
Dwight learned God had to allow him to reap the consequences of his own choices, as any wise father does. Through that whole process, Dwight’s heart was broken before he humbled himself. He chose to be salty again, but only after being shaken to the core and trampled by [wo]men, as it says in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by [wo]men.”
Dwight learned he could be salt. Because of the Godly life Dwight eventually lived, Sam saw something he wanted. Dwight’s being the salt of the earth meant he broke up fallow heart ground through prayer and deliberately planted just the right amount of salt. This salt-seed melted and softened a hard, cold heart—cleansed and healed, while preserving a soul for the kingdom of heaven.