We Can Turn Anything – Even God’s Love – Into Work
A revelation of how God loves us simply staggers Martha and John and reveals the all-too-human way we can make a work out of a love relationship with Him!
(John) Well, today we are on a journey back home from a trip, and so you’re gonna hear kinda car noises. Hopefully that’s all you hear. And Martha had called me and basically told me something that was pretty amazing. And I was, I mean, it struck me. It was something that the Lord spoke to her on her part of the trip, and I was just really struck by it. And so, we wanted to share it with you because I think it’s pretty dynamic. And I think it’s pretty, it was revelatory to me because I don’t think it this way. I don’t have this mindset. So, Martha, tell me what exactly did the Lord tell you
(Martha) Well, to do that I have to tell a little background. We went on a trip together but not together. And John had something to do and so I had, we each, I had four, about four days alone. And I planned that that would be a time to write. I decided that that was time for me to write The Bride is Ready. So the first day, the Lord said, “You will rest the first day.” And I really did. I didn’t realize how tired I was and how I needed just simple rest and sleep and sunshine and walking and it was just lovely. So the second day was as silent as the first day and I thought, “Well, another day where I wait on the Lord.” And I was perfectly at peace and had a wonderful day. Did a lot of reading and enjoyed it. The third day there was no movement of the Spirit either. And so I was determined not to get agitated about it because of how the time was running out. And I didn’t. I had peace though I— Then, and then about the fourth day I began to say, “Is something wrong with me?” And I went out in this area that had a table and chairs and beautiful place with sunshine and a breeze. Just perfectly sat there. And the Lord seemed to say to me something like this: “You don’t understand that I wanted to spend time with you, not that you needed to spend time waiting for Me.”
(John) Because that was your purpose. You were sitting there waiting, trying to get in His presence and pursue Him. And then this is His response to you.
(Martha) Yeah, and it is the way I always presume, I must pursue Him because He’s out there flying away and I have to catch up with Him and… Does that sound familiar?
(John) Just a wee bit.
(Martha) And (laughs), and I have to be, because it says, “Seek first, seek the Lord and His face continually.” So I’m always seeking Him. “Are You in this book? Are You in Philippians? Where are You this morning?” And it just stopped me in my tracks, because I realized He hadn’t given me any anointing or any words to begin to write. He had given me nothing. And I had enjoyed just being with Him, without any responsibility and without any distraction. It was just lovely. But it, I never, it didn’t occur to me that He had taken me aside so He could be with ME focused on HIM. And it just was revolutionary.
(John) So HE could focus on YOU.
(Martha) Thank you, John (laughs).
(John) I’m getting it because you pierced me with it. You literally pew! Right into my heart with it.
(Martha) And you’re helping me get it, too. Because we really don’t, we really think that He’s not pursuing us and He always is. How would we be anywhere? How would we be born again? How would we know there, that God is real but that He pursued us? But that He just wanted to sit with me. No work. I feel like I’m often so focused on work that I miss the Lord and there’s no work. No responsibility, nothing but quiet. And He took me to the verse that said, “Study to live a quiet life and work with your hands.” And that quiet and silence was just lovely. And I know that He works in secret within us in ways that we don’t even recognize and don’t feel and see and understand, much less know. And, but it didn’t feel like there was any movement of the Lord. There wasn’t any, “Ok, let’s start to work on this verse and I’ll give you what to write.” There was none of that. And I was wasting – ha ha! – three whole days of a very precious time, sitting with Him, yes. But not understanding that He had brought me away so He could be with me without, with my focus on Him and without distraction. And it was, oh, it was amazing.
(John) Well, then after He had told you that and you had been impacted by it, you called me and you said, “This is what the Lord just told me,” just to share. You were just sharing your, and literally it was like you had tossed a javelin right into me, and I went, “Oh my gosh! I never, never think of Him as interested in spending time with me.” That, it’s, it— Always in my mind is I’m having to pursue Him and I’m having to work to settle myself and get myself ready. And, you know, deal with things or whatever. I always believe that I have to do it. And it’s never— There’s always an effort and always a work. Oops! There’s, it’s always that way. It’s always that there’s some work that I’m having to do, even in my relationship with God. Which is just ridiculous.
(Martha) He’s been after me about this issue of work for at least two years now. I mean, He has been, I don’t know, passionate that I would not gear my life around work. I have a farm that is enormous responsibility. I have the ministry that I take on as this enormous responsibility and I have a family. And I have disciples and for me, there are not enough hours in the day for the work that I feel I have to do. And He’s been chastening me and talking to me and changing me, and this little visit was the fruit of all, of two years of this. And it’s, I think for John and for me it stems from my childhood. My parents were very responsible and they were hardworking. My, both my parents loved to work and loved their work and I saw them work. I saw my mother work in her garden, and my father work in his vegetable garden and in his work. And yet, the strange thing about my life is I’m without excuse, because they didn’t give me responsibility as a child. I was free to be a child. And they— Many parents and children I’ve worked with, grown up children, they were given responsibilities far beyond what a child can even bear, much less do. But my childhood was not that way. I was freely given the joy of being a child and climb trees and walk in the woods and tramp in the forest and with my animals and play house. I had a total childhood amazingly free of inappropriate responsibility. So I ought to know this. To be a child, to me, is, should be play. There should be, I should be at play with God. And for some reason I’ve taken on…
(John) Which is quite a big difference than goofing off with God. It’s literally just enjoying Him. Your play is just really just enjoying Him.
(Martha) And letting Him enjoy me. I don’t think of Him enjoying me.
(John) And if you notice, I didn’t say that. Because that’s not how I think.
(Martha) And that’s the issue: it’s not how I think. And I know kind of why I changed to be this way but— Oh, the trees are blooming down here in South Georgia. And they’re not blooming in the mountains. So we’re enjoying it despite the traffic. Anyway, this, then I ran across this verse when we were talking about it in Psalm 86. “For Your love for me is great…” No, it didn’t, I’ve misread it, how interesting. “For Your love for me is very great.” And I’ve been practicing waking up in the morning and just lying there, receiving His love. Whether I feel it or not, it changes my day. I just drink His love, not feelings but the reality of His love. And, but anyway, I think this is life changing in our little trip. And John was ready to hear the Lord tell him that, so I’m very grateful. Because you’re helping me deepen it.
(John) Well, I was deeply impacted by it because, you know, like I said, I am about effort. I am about even in my relationship with God, I’m in the effort of being in relationship. I’m in the effort of preparing my heart. The effort of seeking Him and, it is foreign to me to actually say, “Oh okay, God wants to just spend time with me.” And I know some people that take that off into even a delusionary thing, where, you know, there’s no dealing, no…
(Martha) No responsibility.
(John) …no responsibility, no dealing, no confession, no… I mean, they’re just literally in this just little love bubble that— We’re by the Atlanta Airport and we have planes flying by us right now. But it just, that’s shocking to me. Because for Him to say, “I just want to take you away and I just want you, I want to look at you.” That’s just real different and I’m ashamed of it. I’m, because I think, yeah, I should know that, but mentally and emotionally, that’s not how I think it through.
(Martha) And you know, John, the comforting thing to me always is that sheep are dumb and they don’t learn. They’re un-trainable. And you have to learn the same things over and over and over from the Lord.
We Can Turn Anything – Even God’s Love – Into Work – Episode #590 – Shulamite Podcast
Is there anything under the sun that we can’t turn into a work to do? Nope! And that includes God’s great love for us. A revelation of how God loves us simply staggers Martha and John and reveals the all-too-human way we can make a work of relationship with Him!