An Epoch Time of Transition and Testing
A few months ago, I released a word where I heard the Father saying, “It is time for My Church to graduate”. I continue to sense that a mass graduation is underway, and it may feel a bit like exam week for many. The intensity of the season is felt by most of us, and the feeling that something epic is transpiring may be evident for those who are discerning the times and seasons. I believe the graduation is related on a large scale with passing from one era into another. The graduation also has to do with the Body of Christ stepping fully into Her authority and who She is called to be as the Bride. As there is a mass graduation underway, there has been a mass preparation process for the hearts and lives of many. God is using the situations of our lives and circumstances to prepare us for the reset and transition that is already underway.
I recently had a vision of a very large ship making a turn. I knew instinctively that the ship represented the Body of Christ. Yes, we have moved into a new era, but when a large ship turns, it takes a while to make the turn and so it is with the Body of Christ. I believe the Spirit of God is ushering in the new, making sweeping changes, and releasing the new wine. The wineskins are being prepared and the Body of Christ across every nation is making the giant turn, stepping into the new that God has prepared and ordained for this time.
A Seismic Pause
Covid came as no surprise to God. I believe God in no way caused the pandemic, but as He promises to work all things together for our good, He will use it for our good and for His larger purposes. A seismic pause occurred all across the earth, giving way for a resetting of many things, including the Church. In a very real sense, God is “restocking the shelves of His Church”. Sometimes a business will close its doors, taking inventory of goods, re-organizing, restructuring, and then restocking its shelves for more profitable business. I see God doing this with the Church right now. He is taking inventory of those things that are redemptive and those things that have eternal value. Some things have a clear "expiration date" and like some items in my refrigerator, they need to be removed to make way for the new things God is wanting to do.
God is putting His Church in right order governmentally and restructuring leadership that has gotten out of alignment. Jesus Christ was and is the Chief Cornerstone of the Church. All things must come into alignment with Him. As the Church is being brought into alignment, the people of God are a major part of that alignment process. It is a sifting and shaking time, and a time of separating the wheat from the chaff. At the same time all this is occurring in the Body of Christ, there is also an epic clash between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. It is certainly a time of preparation and testing.
Preparation for our Tests
I want to share some keys and revelation that will bring greater insight and clarity to the times of testing we face as believers. When we face a test, we need to ask ourselves the questions, “What tools and revelation was I given in the former season that will help me in this current test?” "What mindsets and heart attitudes will reflect the values of My Father and His kingdom?" We have a choice as to whether we allow fear, anger, bitterness, judgment, and unforgiveness to be our primary response in our test, or we can respond by the Spirit, with the fruit of the Spirit, as our grace-filled response. Our tests will reveal if we have allowed these truths to become part of who we are and part of the arsenal of weapons He has given to us. When we have not absorbed and embraced the revelation from our former seasons, we may have to repeat our tests.
"Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved?" Song of Songs 8:5a
The wilderness is often a place of testing. Our response will determine if we continue to circle and wander in the wilderness or if we emerge from the wilderness leaning on our beloved. The one leaning on their beloved has surrendered pride and self-effort, finding that the only way to navigate the unknown terrain of their life is by leaning on Him. This position of leaning is a vulnerable and intimate place. There is a yielding involved, and a depth of intimacy that is only found when true yielding has been our heart's response to Him.
Tests reveal what you know, but more than that, they reveal who you are, presently, and where you might need adjustments as you grow in your knowledge of Him. This is not a head knowledge, but an intimate heart knowledge. Tests reveal where we are in our journey of faith. When God tests us, it is not to shame or embarrass us, but it is simply to reveal if we have learned the revelatory truths and skills that the Holy Spirit has been attempting to teach us in the former seasons. A good teacher does not test you on material that they have not taught or covered in class. God is the same way. He wants to see you understand and grasp what He is revealing so that you go fully prepared into the next season He has for you.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
God’s desire is that you move forward into your calling and destiny not lacking anything. James goes so far as to say that we should “consider it pure joy” when we face trials. It is only when we begin to understand the heart of our good Father and how He teaches and trains us to be victorious and reign here on earth, that this joy response is possible.
Tests that Expose Faulty Beliefs
Early in our marriage, I found myself in a situation where my faith was tested and was found lacking. Our 6 month old son became severely ill and ended up in the hospital. As I was still nursing, I stayed with him there around the clock for 5 or 6 days. The first night as I tried to fall asleep, I came to realize that I was absolutely terrified. I happened to be reading a book that talked about sinkholes in the state of Florida, and how we can think we have things built securely on solid ground, and then everything can come crashing in because of those giant areas of unstable ground. There, in the dim light of the hospital room, God used that analogy to reveal to me the state of my heart and how I had some giant holes in my belief system about Him and how He works in our lives. That moment set me on a course to discover why faith had been so hard for me. I would in time experience encounters with God that changed me and helped me overcome the stronghold of fear and unbelief in my life.
When unbelief is our primary response and mindset when walking through a trial or test, then we will likely need to retake the test later. But, when we walk through our tests with belief in God’s goodness and faithfulness as our primary default response, then I believe we will pass our tests. I have found and experienced God to be incredibly merciful and gracious. Many times, when I wonder if I have passed a test, He promotes me even before I think I am ready! When we have not adequately absorbed His revelation into our lives, He guides and directs us into the next step of breakthrough that will bring about the necessary changes. God is not a strict taskmaster, but a loving Father who wants the best outcome for His children.
It's an Open-Book Test!
I feel God would say that the tests you face are an OPEN BOOK TEST! He wants you to have His word, fully open as you walk through your tests and trials. He wants you to find strength and solace from the pages of His living and active word. He knows that His word in you will only multiply and grow and His word will not return to Him void.
"For we have the living Word of God which is full of energy, like a two-mouthed sword. It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where soul and spirit, bone and marrow meet! it interprets and reveals the true thoughts and secret motives of our hearts." Hebrews 4:12
As we absorb the Word of God into our lives, if we are willing, it will work the very process mentioned in Hebrews 4 in our lives. His words have the ability to go deep within and reveal to us the secret things of our hearts.
God's word to us is like a deep well. We will never fully explore the depths of it, because it is unending. The revelation is unending because the Author is unending!
Do Not Be Dismayed
We are not to be afraid as we walk through this time of great transition and testing. I hear the Lord saying, "Do not be dismayed at the difficulties you are facing. It is a time to know Me in the midst of your trials and tests. Do not be afraid. Let perseverance finish its work. I want you to be mature and complete in Me, not lacking anything. Look to Me for you are not walking alone. Yes, I am with you every step of the way. I am with you the same as I was with those who have gone before you.
I am the One who can spread a table for you in the presence of your enemies. I am the One who provided a ram in the thicket when it seemed that all hope was gone. I am the One who hid the deliverer of Israel in a basket floating in the river, raising him up to be My chosen vessel. I am the One who parted the Red Sea and provided dry ground for My people to cross. I am the One who caused the oil to flow freely, providing miraculously for the poor widow who had no money to pay her debts. I am the One who raised Lazarus from the dead after four days. Yes, I am a miracle working God, and I will work miracles as you place your trust in Me! Lean on Me, and we will walk out of your time of testing and wilderness together."