"Act on Everything, Trust in Nothing"
[This article is an edit of a 2011 letter among intercessory friends seeking the Lord’s mind for legal and business solutions over a years-long fraudulent home foreclosure against one of our readers and during a time of our own homelessness amidst the Arab Spring. This lesson in action is profitable for anyone in a long term faith struggle over obstinate issues, and especially for anyone contending with the world legal or financial system in search of the Lord’s deliverance.]
Sat. Feb. 26, 2011
This has been a particularly challenging week. Steve has been in and out of failed consultations with bankruptcy attorneys leaving no further options in that direction. Sue and the girls have been sick all week but are now largely recovered as of yesterday. Trading has been flat but we are still in profit. Action on the mining venture has also been flat. And of course the world is in an uproar. But the week has also yielded some valuable spiritual gems which I would like to pass on for everyone’s benefit.
The Parallel Universe
On Tuesday morning after a dream about being in a bicycle race in which I was one of three finalists on the last leg who was bent on overtaking a cheater, the Lord spoke to me these words, “the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong.” I knew this was scripture but could not place it. We found it to be Ecclesiastes 9:11. The context of that verse had some powerful things to say:
10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; … 11 I returned and saw under the sun that-- The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; … 13 This wisdom I have also seen under the sun, and it seemed great to me: 14 There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great snares around it. 15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man. 16 Then I said: "Wisdom is better than strength. Nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, And his words are not heard. 17 Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard Rather than the shout of a ruler of fools.
The gist of this was to tell us that while we are to continue to put our hand in this world to whatever the Father gives into our hand to do, we are also to understand that as believers who live only by the Spirit, we occupy a “parallel universe” to that of the daily outer world which has no relationship to the outer world’s laws of cause and effect that determine what happens to men in desperate situations. Because of the unseen realm we inhabit according to the substance of faith (Heb.11), we’re not subject in the least to anything around us as it appears. Our real job therefore in daily life is to keep divorcing our realm of inner awareness from our perceptivity of outer context.
We are in a race, and it would appear on the surface to be the same race the world is in. But for us it is not a race against time and circumstance whose outcome is dependent on speed and traction in understanding and implementation. Neither our victory over the system nor the provision or wealth to be extracted to us from it will come because of our learning and implementing of the latest, greatest “business strategy.”
The parallel universe we inhabit is characterized by quiet wisdom. It is a wisdom that actually has the power to deliver the entire world from its calamities, though it is totally unrecognized by those who live according to the mind and awareness of the outer world—a world characterized by “shouts of rulers among fools.” That wisdom does not come to us over the airwaves of the news and internet, but on the “subspace channels” of the Spirit.
All “news” is nothing more than the reporting of the shouts of rulers among fools. All politics is likewise—and so is culture prophecy. (Most prophecy heard in mainstream circles is nothing more than people trying to cloak the shouts of rulers among fools in the garb of Holy Spirit revelation!) But in our universe of quiet wisdom, which is the secret place of the Most High, is found the power to ultimately rule the world, as seen in Isaiah 42:
1 "Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. 2 He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street…4 He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law."
Dying in Style
The remaining lessons this week flowed from this one. Thursday night the Lord gave us more insight into Rev. 12:11, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” There is an active present tense reality to “not loving our lives to the death” the Lord wants us to get a hold of—one in line with Paul’s statement “I die daily.” Revelation 12:11 is about something much more and other than martyrdom, which it must be since the overcomers refer equally to the translated manchild people of verse 5 who don’t die!
The Lord brought several stories to our attention of saints who, facing absolutely crushing odds, had a choice as to how they could die. They could either die passively doing nothing, waiting for the inevitable odds against them to take their toll. Or they could risk dying sooner by going up to the enemy in an act of faith on his own turf. And in that positive act of faith over passivity, they found the victory over the enemy.
The main story was one God gave Steve in I Samuel 14. The Israelites are under oppression of the Philistines and have no weapons. Saul and his army are holed up in fear. They are all going to die anyway. But Jonathan and his armor bearer go up in faith to risk death earlier to take on the Philistines. And in that faith, God routs the Philistines. Other similar stories include Esther going in to Ahasuerus. Her people are set to die anyway, but she goes in to risk death earlier by seeing the king unannounced, ultimately to be delivered.
Then there is the story of the three lepers outside the besieged wall of Samaria (II Kings 7). They are all going to die anyway. But the lepers take a risk to die earlier by going to the camp of the Assyrians where they just might find some weird irrational chance of deliverance. And in going, they discover the deliverance of the Lord. The Assyrians have already been routed by the Lord.
Sue also had the II Chronicles 20 story of Jehoshaphat besieged by the Moabites, Ammonites and Edomites. Terribly outnumbered Israel has no hope. They can wait and perish. But God tells them to move forward and then stand still and praise Him. They can go meet death early this way. But in that risk, God gives the victory. These last two stories are interesting because both of them resulted in a huge plunder of resources from the enemy.
God specializes in putting us into “two way death” situations. We are going to die. All resources are exhausted. There is no rational alternative. The only question is which way will we choose to die. Will it be passively against the “inevitable,” or will it be earlier by an act of faith out of which may in some irrational way produce deliverance. I believe this is the truest meaning of Revelation 12:11. We are to be a people who when faced with two-way death situations, having the choice to die either passively by inevitability or actively by faith, we choose to die actively in faith facing the enemy on his own ground.
In our case, despite the hopelessness of the foreclosure situation, we are to take on the system with whatever God puts in our hand, no matter how risky. We are to advance to meet the system on its turf. We are to “pursue” according to the word given us a few weeks ago. And if we perish, then let’s perish in style. Let’s die up front and in good faith. Let’s not die because it was “inevitable.”
According to the context of Revelation 12:11, it’s this caliber of death-defying faith that produces the translation to immortality, as well as the deliverance from the system. But if we keep living our “faith” out of nothing higher than the fear of dying and our prayer life is about nothing more than the petition for our preservation, God’s soul will have no pleasure in us.
Now You See It, Now You Don’t
The two previous lessons coalesced into a single lesson. The lesson is “Act on everything, trust in nothing.” Tuesday we were taught to trust in nothing, being in a parallel universe of Spirit unaffected by the laws of cause and effect. Thursday we were taught to act on everything, risking earlier death where necessary. Last night however, the Lord brought it together in a larger lesson, exposing to us the oscillating pattern in the balance between trust and action that he uses in desperate situations to bring us forward in glory.
Once we are in a desperate “no way out” situation, the Lord is like a man with a carrot to offer us but which keeps being withdrawn behind His back. The carrot represents a solution that offers a practical hope of deliverance.
When all resources are exhausted and there is no carrot to be seen, we look to the Lord. Then the Lord brings out a carrot from behind His back. The carrot offers what seems the practical solution to our dilemma where rubber meets the road. In faith we reach out to take hold of the carrot. We act on whatever was put in our hand, even at the risk of early death.
But as we reach out and take the action, the Lord withdraws the carrot! The solution “disappears.” It fails. We may even get hurt in the process. Whatever was supposed to happen doesn’t. Now we have no carrot again. We look to the Lord again. He is all there is to see.
As we keep watching the Lord, another carrot appears. He takes it out from behind His back. Maybe the same carrot. Maybe not. Maybe longer, maybe shorter. Maybe a slightly different color, or maybe altogether different. Maybe it’s not a carrot at all. Maybe this time it’s a tomato. Maybe it’s a private placement trade. Maybe it’s the mining venture.
Again we reach out to take it. We act. But just as we are within grasp of it, the tomato disappears. He pulls it back behind His back. Now all we have to look at is Him. We are still desperate. The house is still to be sold off. We are still slated to die unless something happens.
What’s happening? Are we starting to see a pattern yet? So we have another carrot. Two carrots even the same day. What do we do? Are we ready to give up? The answer is again returned: “Act on everything, trust in nothing.” Will the carrots “work?” Who knows? More importantly, does it really matter anymore?
The question really is, what is truly happening in this seemingly futile process of appearing and disappearing carrots? “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” (You can say that again.) But what’s the point?
The point is that in life and death situations, it is never finally about the carrot. It is about the process. There is something much greater than a carrot at stake here. It is about something we are being transformed into by means of grace to endure this tireless oscillation.
Every time the Lord sticks out a carrot, He takes a hidden measurement about our reach toward it. There is something He is measuring. And only He knows what it is. Once we make the reach and He takes the measurement, He pulls the carrot back and hides it again. The measurement demonstrates we are not ready, nor is it. Time passes. We look at Him. He measures that too. He measures our response to the removing of the carrot. How do we respond to the skandalon of the experience?
Then He begins the next cycle. He pulls out the next carrot. Will we reach for it? Yes? No? He measures that. OK. We say yes. We do reach for it again. And He measures the reach again—something about its length and nature. Then, just as we are within final grasp, He pulls it back. And He measures our response to that. And so on. Back to the place of waiting in quiet desperation…..
Somehow, out of the blur of all of this, we come to that place where earth and heaven meet. It is the place of the kingdom coming to earth as it is in heaven. We come to a place where there is no divergence between the acting and the trusting. There is no conflict between the abiding and the possessing, nor between the finally apparent “solution” and the “eternal hope.” It is out of this that we will find our final reward.
From this report, you can see I have come to a transition on how I am looking at all this. We have been at Steve’s more than 4 months now. And where at first we believed we were in imminent grasp of our solutions by coming here, I now see it as all process, out of which the final earthside “solution” for all of us—whatever it is—will appear more as a “footnote” to the larger manifest glory that was obtained through the process. And I expect this will govern the character of all further “reports from the front lines” going forward. This much I know: all I have described from this week is intrinsic to the stewardship salvation of which God has spoken.
Thanks for being there for us, as we are for you.
New Meadow Neck, Rhode Island
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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