What is transformational knowing?
It’s stepping out into the unknown into God’s realm into the deeper mystery of his love and goodness, embracing the invitation to step beyond my comfort zone meeting Jesus in the vulnerability, messiness and sinfulness of my inner chaos and life’s storms. It’s all about knowing, being known, truly knowing, loving God, loving and knowing myself as God knows and loves me well!
From my limited vision based on what I’ve read throughout scripture and experienced in my own life, transformational knowing is most often gained, released, and discovered through suffering – life’s trials. Suffering, the trials being the portal to a spiritual awakening, whether it physical, emotional, mental or all three combined. A crisis of faith (or just a crisis, trial per se) does create an environment for a sudden emergence in great pain and spontaneous desperate acts; pain and desperation making a person vulnerable and willing to die: die to self and quite possibly, hopefully, awakened to spiritual things. Spiritual awakenings begin with death, death of mistaken identity and a realization of who we truly are.
The question I’ve asked, most likely you’ve pondered too …
Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people, trials and subsequent suffering to those made in His image?
One thing is clear. God is eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, therefore why should human beings who are not expect to be able to fully understand God’s ways?
I’m fascinated with how God’s WORD deals with this issue in the book of Job. God allowed Satan to do everything he wanted to Job except kill him and what was Job’s reaction?
“Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15).
“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21).
Job’s response is both remarkable and challenging. Though he did not fully understand why God had allowed the devastation and suffering, Job knew he was LOVED which translated into a transformational calm, a trust that surpassed understanding to walk through the trials of his life knowing it would be used for GOOD. Job was able to surrender to the unseen GOODNESS OF GOD!
So, asking, how can we be more like Job?
Obviously, Job lost and hurt a lot. Many of us have too! But, God restored, brought fulness and joy where loss and despair once lingered. He will restore us as well, restore that which feels unthinkable and beyond repair, it just may not be like we thought. How? Ultimately, our response to what God has allowed in our life must reflect the same surrendering attitude like Job! Job made a choice based on his own personal experiential understanding of God’s love, resulting in a transformational knowing that God’s ways are always GOOD. Our attitude needs to be the same, not always an easy choice.
Job embraced God’s love and loved God back, which sustained and transformed him (1 John 4:19)!
My most recent, ongoing, personal crisis is the heart-wrenching reality of living life with a prodigal son, someone whom at one time embraced Christ though in 2009 walked away from what he once held so dear. The difficult most challenging stretch is trusting God with the unseen work I cannot see in the midst of the great struggle; often consuming my soul with the desire to jump in and fix, tempted to be drawn into conversations that provoke more doubt rather than trust in the ongoing goodness and love of God.
In this surreal space, I’m encouraged by King Jehosphaphat (2 Chronicles 20) who faced a battle in epic porpotions, one he could not win unless God intervened. Jehoshaphat surrendered and trusted God to step in. Why was he able to surrender? He understood and embraced transformational knowing, an enabling trust in God’s GOODNESS. It literally transformed him. Read what God said in verse 15:
“Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.'”
Though my personal battle is not epic in comparison to what Jehoshaphat faced, it feels and is epic in how much it consumes my mind, heart and soul, producing idol worship alongside a lack of trust in God with His ultimate outcome, the rest much needed in His GOODNESS!
Moving onward in transformational knowing, it’s all about knowing where our true identity lies and not functioning from a mistaken identity. It’s knowing, being known, loving God as he loves us! It is knowing that in the messiness of the lies my son has believed, it does not reflect on who or where I stand in Christ, nor does it reflect on God who is bigger, greater, and working it for GOOD!
As I watch from afar and up close, my prayer is the same like Jehoshaphat’s:
“O our God, will you not execute judgment on them (lies, strongholds)? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
Comfort comes, ‘And the Spirit of the LORD came upon’ …
‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s…’.
In conclusion, I find it important and equally hard to be real with the temptations we all face. We are human. And it’s okay! We will be tempted just like the Israelites were when they encountered trials to return to that which felt familiar, Egypt, their mistaken identity instead of transformational knowing, embracing more of Christ! What often happens and deceptive and what appears to be the easy answer is to dig a hole and place our heads in the sands of denial; not facing our giants head on, consequence(s) that our flesh and heart fail. Because God loves us, he gives us a choice, a free will to choose (or not) to press in and go deeper. The best response: turn and trust and be thankful like Jehoshaphat, embrace your true identity that lies in the love of God of the Bible who will be the strength of your heart, deliverer, and portion forever!
I CAN FEEL: JENN JOHNSON AND BETHEL MUSIC IMG_3877
Colossians 1:27 …
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Galatians 2:20-21 (The Voice) …
I have been crucified with the Anointed One – I am no longer alive – but the Anointed is living in me; and whatever life I have left in this failing body I live by the faithfulness of God’s Son, the One who loves me and gave His body on the cross for me. I can’t dismiss God’s grace, and I won’t. If being right with God depends on how we measure up to the law, then the Anointed’s sacrifice on the cross was the most tragic waste in all of history!
James 1:2-8 (The Voice) …
Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line – mature, complete, and wanting nothing. If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it; and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking.
Wisdom, as James understands it, is the ability to live life well and make good decisions. Wisdom doesn’t come from old age or hard knocks. Wisdom begins with knowing and depending absolutely on God, who is never stingy when it comes to wisdom for those who seek it. He supplies all the wisdom we need when we ask. But when we try to go it alone – without God – trouble is around the corner.
The key is that your request be anchored by your single-minded commitment to God. Those who depend only on their own judgment are like those lost on the seas, carried away by any wave or picked up by any wind. Those adrift on their own wisdom shouldn’t assume the Lord will rescue them or bring them anything. The splinter of divided loyalty shatters your compass and leaves you dizzy and confused.
1 Peter 1:6-7 (The Voice) …
You should greatly rejoice in what is waiting for you, even if now for a little while you have to suffer various trials. Suffering tests your faith which is more valuable than gold (remember that gold, although it is perishable, is tested by fire) so that if it is found genuine, you can receive praise, honor, and glory when Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, is revealed at last.
2 Chronicles 20:1-23 – Jehoshaphat’s Prayer
After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said,
“O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy—behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
Meanwhile all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.” Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.
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