If I want to hunt deer, I won’t set up an ambush on Wall Street in New York City or in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. To set up an ambush with any measure of success I must do so in areas where deer frequent. But many do not realize that the same is true of waiting on God. There are many who need a miracle, but they won’t go across town to a church where miracles are common. We play a mental game of pride when we refuse to humble ourselves and go to lie in wait in the places that God frequents.
Now, please don’t stumble over the concept of ambushing God as though it violates His sovereignty—He is the One who has promised to be found by us if we seek Him with all of our hearts. And He is the One who said He would make Himself conspicuous as we pursue Him. This is His idea. It is our test to see if we believe Him enough to look eagerly for him. God is looking for someone who will get out of his or her routine and set up an ambush.
Some people get really upset when they see believers traveling all over the world because those believers have heard that God is doing something significant in a particular place. Their reasoning: “God is everywhere. Seek Him where you are, and He will come to you.”
Similarly, preachers with little breakthrough anointing will say, “You’re not supposed to follow signs. They are supposed to follow you!” That looks good on paper and carries a measure of truth. But as I said before, if signs are not following you, you had better follow them until they follow you.
Remember, signs point to a greater reality. We are not to follow them for their own sake but because they lead us to the One who created them. Getting in touch with Him is how we become those whom signs follow.
While they may not realize it, many who travel anywhere at any cost just because of their hunger for God are doing exactly what David taught about waiting on God. They go to where He is working and lie in wait, anticipating His every move, looking for the chance to reach out and touch God.
Matthew described such an extraordinary act in the story of a woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years. She positioned herself in such a way that she was able to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment as he was making His way down the road. It was no easy feat. There were large crowds of people pressing in upon Him. Yet she was the only one who saw the dimension of heaven that He was carrying and touched Him in a way that put a demand on the anointing of the Holy Spirit that was resident in him. That is the kind of faith that pleases God. It is the classic example of how God welcomes being ambushed.
There are several notable characters in Scripture who illustrate clearly what it looks like to wait on God with intense focus and passion. I want to begin with Jacob. Jacob, despite his deep personal issues with deception and manipulation, had an intense desire for the blessing of the Lord. He simply wanted for God to be real in his life.
Jacob’s pursuit culminated when he had to face what he believed would be the most dangerous situation of his life—meeting his brother Esau for the first time after obtaining Esau’s birthright and stealing his blessing. The circumstances were desperate—he believed that his brother wanted vengeance.
Not everyone turns to God in desperate circumstances. Some might throw up a last-ditch prayer, but few take the step of grabbing onto God as their only hope and holding on for dear life until His answer comes. Jacob did this, and it was this focused passion and faith that attracted the Lord to him.
In response to his persistence, Jacob received a name change. This name reflected the character change that had occurred with him in the pursuit of the blessing. His name was changed from Jacob (“deceiver”) to Israel (“God strives”). He was injured in his encounter with God, and he limped for the rest of his life—that was the cost for his persistence. Such resolve always has a cost.
But it was the quest for God’s face that started the change in Jacob. His life is a great reminder that one does not need to be perfect to begin this journey. In fact, it is this quest that perfects.
We live in an hour when the face of God is being revealed in a wonderful outpouring of the Holy Spirit. There’s no limit to what is possible for one person, church, city or nation to experience. The Bible points to what has been made available, but how, when or how much of it can be accessed has never been defined for us. Boundaries have never been set.
While the glory of God in its fullness would kill us, there are measures of His presence that have been enjoyed by people in the past that far surpass what we now experience. It is my personal conviction that God has made available to us whatever measure of His glory our bodies can handle.
The center of the Christian life is passion for God, and it is this passion that defines the boundaries of our lives. Self-control is the by-product of living in covenant with God. It is also the ability to say yes to something so completely that all other voices and values are silenced. Jesus demonstrated this best of all. He set His face to go to Jerusalem and die. Nothing could distract Him from His purpose.
Adapted from Face to Face with God, by Bill Johnson, copyright 2007, published by Charisma House. In this book the author helps you to pursue God for greater measures of His presence in your life. To order a copy, click here.
PRAYER POWER FOR THE WEEK OF 2/4/2013
This week resolve to passionately seek God in your prayer time. Acknowledge His presence and sit before Him in praise, adoration and awe. Invite His Spirit to permeate your being and change whatever needs to change in you. Pray the Word of God over aspects of your life knowing that His Word will renew your mind and transform you into being more like Christ. Ask the Lord to open doors of ministry every day this week. Continue to pray for Israel and the persecuted church. Remember our own leaders and pray that God would restore the foundations of our nation, bring revival to our churches and spread His Word across the land. Pray this week for the next generation and ask for more laborers for God’s harvest fields. Ps. 63:1-8; Ps. 9:10; Deut. 4:29