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It’s been almost two years ago now, but I remember the afternoon vividly.

  • I knew I was right with God.
  • I knew He had something in mind, but didn’t know what it was.
  • I knew He hears and answers the prayers of His children.
  • I knew I was putting the shoulder of my faith to the wheel, beseeching God with everything I had.
  • I knew answered prayer is often in direct proportion to my level of obedience and there was nothing in the way of a significant answer.
  • I knew I was asking God for something big. Something specific. A mountain was about to be moved into the sea, running from my prayers.

And then, right in the middle of it all, driving home one afternoon this thought came to me:

“What if you’re asking Me for something different than what I have in mind, Phil? Am I going to disappoint you again? Will we have to start all over?”

It had a God-scold feel about it, that thought did. I almost had to pull over to grapple with it.

It was like how things are with Christmas approaching in some ways; similar to those insightful questions parents ask their kids when Junior his heart set on one thing but something else is hidden in the closet, awaiting Christmas eve.

A couple miles later I was better, though, and I was thankful God and I didn’t have to wrestle all night over the thing and that I wouldn’t walk with a limp the rest of my life like Jacob did.

I changed what I asked for that afternoon. No more “Oh-God-in-Heaven-above, I-want-THAT!” (though my motives were pure, believe me).

I began asking God to create an intense, burning passion deep inside me for what He has in mind, even before I learned what it would be.  It was a prayer no safer than what I’d been praying. Just as huge, just as ambitious, but more yielded (which is what I think He wanted at that point – still does.) It was a one-sentence prayer that grew out of repeated readings of Psalm 39 and 4o in sequence.  In so doing I moved the play-calling from the huddle or at the line to the booth where God sees the whole playing field. I trust His judgement. I trust His timing. And He’s free to page through the playbook while I run the play He called for today.

He is answering in the affirmative, raising the temperature a degree or two at a time.  I haven’t heard what I’d call definitive orders, which means that particular line in my prayer journal is still open – as in “still looking for His answer” but He’s calling the play today, and I’m obeying.   God’s done a LOT through the last twenty-two months, I guess it is. I’ve seen Him at work in places and in ways that have surprised but blessed me: workplace, family, church, personal life, my inner-most heart. It’s amazing what He will do when I keep my hands off His projects.

I’ve become convinced, though, that this place —Vibrance— is part of His answer. I experimented with blogging a little over the summer, but began here in earnest in late September. I love capturing the thoughts that sprint through my mind, bringing them here and sharing them with you. I love when someone scribbles a comment and leaves it by the last paragraph of something I’ve written. When I read that something here has brightened your day or given you reason to look at life through God’s reading glasses, I smile to myself. “Amazing. And they’re from where-again?” This place might never have happened had God said “yes” to what I originally had in mind. Several times in recent weeks I’ve looked up toward the booth and mouthed the words “good-call”

I still don’t know much at all about what God has around the corner. Hardly anything, really. But the eagerness burns from within.

God is able. (The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sings that…maybe someday I’ll get to hear them sing it live.)

He’s able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. (Ephesians 3.20).
Selah —

—PLR—

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