When God does a powerful or significant thing in my life and I share it with my friends, I often tell them I’m driving a stake in the ground, figuratively, to mark the occurrence and give pointed praise to God for His work. It’s like the patriarchs and saints in the Old Testament when they would pile up rocks to make a pillar or an altar to mark the event and worship the Lord. They rejoiced in the visible, plain, present work of the Lord in their lives and they wanted to remember it. So they made a marker, visibly, and also thereby testified, confessed, and shared that their God ~ mighty, loving, and praiseworthy ~ had been and was still at work!
Markers like these are also helpful on a journey, especially when travelling through dry, arid, flat lands where the scenery is unchanging for long stretches. The sojourner, perhaps discouraged and thinking there is no progress, can turn around and look for that stake driven in the ground and know for certain that progress has indeed been made, despite the unchanging view or the feelings of the traveler. We have seasons like these in our journeys with the Lord ~ places where our walk with Him feels dry and arid in dust-choked flatlands, with view that does not change as far as our eye can see. Stakes driven in our spiritual ground are good for uplifting the soul, to remember that if God has worked in our life before, He can surely do so again! The truth, of course, is that the Lord our God ~ mighty, loving, and praiseworthy ~ is always at work in us and in our lives because He is faithful, loving, and unchanging in both His love and faithfulness!
Recently I had one of these moments from the Lord, and so I’m driving a stake into the ground to mark it, remember it, and give praise to God for it. It’s a little less figurative this time, as it comes in this written form, but I share it with you to testify to the loving work of the Lord, but also in the hope of encouraging you, fellow sojourner, if you happen to be trudging along in some arid flatlands in your walk.
The story doesn’t start well ~ I was mad at the Lord, for quite a while this time, too. I’ve had the blessing and privilege of being a child of God since I was 10 or 11, and so He and I have walked together and wrestled our way along for a few decades now. There are always joys and struggles in the life of a Christian and most of the “wrestling matches” I’ve had with God come under the category of “Whose Life Is It Anyway?” as we work through whose will I will follow ~ mine or His. I had thought that some years back we had finally resolved this issue, with the Lord rightfully in His place leading the way. So, a while ago, when I found myself struggling with some things in my life and growing frustrated with those struggles, the Lord gently and helpfully pointed out that the frustrating tangle was largely due to ~ you guessed it ~ yours truly had seized the reins and was once again driving and leading, and not following.
I was not happy with this revelation, at all. Lordship struggles in my life have historically been long and difficult and they involve a lot of work, pain, patience, and effort in the surrendering, and I’m inherently lazy! Also, my pride was wounded (which, spiritually, is always a good thing!) because in my self-love and spiritual arrogance I thought I was beyond this. I’ve since come to understand that as long we’re in this life there will always be struggles, to a greater or lesser degree, with “Whose Life Is It Anyway?”. The Lord is faithful and He is always working in His love to conform us to the image of His beloved Son, our Lord, (Romans 8:29) so that we can shine and bear His image as we were meant to (Genesis 1:26) in the unique way He had in mind when He created us. (Psalm 139)
Here is what I wrote ~ the stake I drove into the ground ~ when the Lord brought me to the point that ends all such bouts of rebellion, sulking, etc. in my life, “Choose this day whom you serve...”. (Joshua 24:15)
“It’s the end of free-wheeling, of being a cork bobbing along in the water.
“It came softly, without anger or heat, just a gently firm, serious revelation that the Lord has work to be done and the time for self-indulging is done. I have a Lord and I am His to command, for I am bought with a price of blood and Love. He calls and I must follow; I will follow for to obey is better than sacrifice! To obey is to love Him, and He knows this is the best way I can love Him, and love the others He would love through me.
“There is work to be done ~ by me and by others. Large things are coming and He wants me to be ready to support them, which does not occur by doing things in my time-frame, or pushing things off for my convenience which He has brought to my attention to do. This is now the time of “Hineni” ~ “Here am I, Lord, send me.” (Isaiah 6) This is the season of the psalmist, who describes waiting on the Lord as a servant watches for the slightest signal from his/her master/mistress. (Psalm 123:2) This is the time of seeking the Lord first (Matthew 6:33), His plans, His timing, His direction, His strength, for this surely cannot be done in mine.
“Mine it is to serve and support some greater works ~ a true joy, by gift of the Lord!
Yet there is some “house”-cleaning to do and some training in obedience, walking, and following to be done in preparation for that. Or continued preparation, as the Lord has already been at work in me for this, to the praise of His glorious grace! So this is my stake in the ground (the marker placed to show where His progress in me has been made), my memorial stone, and my crossing Jordan ~ praise be to the Lord my God! (Joshua 3-4) June 15, 2017″
Did I automatically and instantly become such a servant? Of course not, and at the time of this word from the Lord He also graciously reminded me this not going to be an overnight change, and He didn’t expect that. This is rather to be the current goal and focus. In preparing this article, it’s been good to review this “stake in the ground” because in the 3 months since this “revelation” occurred I’ve largely drifted back into to my usual habits of getting up and running in my own courses, which are nowhere near as satisfying as the days when I do seek first the kingdom of God and the leading of the King! So this is another thing the “stake in the ground” is good for ~ marking our heading, bearing, and direction so we can be more aware of when we’re off course.
Praise be to God for His love and faithfulness and His care and promises!
…it is God Who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
~ Philippians 2:13
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
~ Ephesians 2:10
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 1:6