06 Oct Only God
“Where they could not trace, they trusted. Where they could not feel, they believed. Where they could not see, faith lent them sight.” – Evangeline Booth
Allow me to be a little vulnerable for a few moments.
I doubt. Everyone does. It’s a part of being human. In those moments that have completely overwhelmed me throughout the course of the last 18 months of Australia One, I have doubted myself. Not only have I doubted, but I’ve been terrified at the amount at stake to ensure we do everything in our power to unite our Army in this country. In those moments I sat and contemplated. I sought advice. I analysed the numbers. I went to the word. I prayed. I listened.
Every single time doubt has entered my mind, God has consistently given me assurance and evidence of the direction he wants his Army to go. I am not so much a leader of this movement, but a messenger appointed by God to do His work. Only God can bring together 2500 people – diverse in so many ways – to create a single national vision. Only God can help us navigate and respond to the complex social needs of this nation. Only God is going to unite The Salvation Army in Australia to achieve greater impact. Only God can provide us the strength to respond to the human need in the aftermath of a disaster. Only God is able to conceive a spiritual awakening to help us to live, love and fight alongside others to transform Australia one life at a time.
Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in the United States, Bill Hybels describes it as his most overused expression, but for good reason. It explains happenings that no human being could possibly orchestrate: only God.
I’ve never felt so convinced about God being at the centre of a movement. Sure, I’ve seen my fair share of visions cast and embraced. But this is different. I see the presence of God right here, right now as we embark on such a large and wide-reaching vision like never before in Australia.
Last weekend I was in the ‘top end’. Darwin to be exact. It certainly wasn’t a climate I was accustomed to, living in the southern Australian winter for the past few months. But the tropics are certainly refreshing in many ways. Under the leadership of Richard and Katie Parker, 16 leaders from Darwin, Palmerston and Katherine gathered together for the Leading our Vision workshop on Sunday afternoon. In fact, it was our first Leading our Vision workshop. With ceiling fans going into overdrive, another only God moment eventuated. I was told by the Regional Officers that in a recent strategy day the Northern Territory had already contemplated and decided to embrace the national vision!
It is times like these when I stand amazed at the consuming power of God at work in The Salvation Army in this nation. He is alive and moving amongst us and it didn’t take a sermon, a facilitation session or a series of questions and answers. God had already spoken to these Territorians that this was the moment for Salvos across the Northern Territory to adopt His national vision.
Since June 2016 as a nation of Salvos, through prayer, sharing scripture and beyond the focus groups and interviews, we have asked God to give us a vision for The Salvation Army in Australia – and he has. Only God can answer our prayers. This is a vision we are hearing time and again, is God’s answer to our prayers. We asked for it and He has answered. We have no option but to embrace it fully.
Even in the midst of my most troubling doubt, by the grace and strength of only God is my belief and faith fortified to walk boldly forward.