The God of Again

Yesterday I drove up the bumpy dirt road from my house to the highway singing my heart out to God, the wheels of my thoughts still turning from the time I’d had with Him earlier that morning. My soul felt alive. My eyes, wide awake. I pulled out onto the main road and wound my way to work, passing all the familiar scenes. Farms and pastures gave way to schools and businesses and, with every mile, I grew more preoccupied with one glorious wonder: God’s willingness to do that thing that He does again and again. Moved that, after umpteen million ups and downs, God is still willing to move me.

 

I love that God is a God of again. I’ll get dry and think the bloom is behind me and that the best I’ll be able to do is maintain and try not to lose what I have left. Then I’ll be scared it’s all gone and never coming back.

 

And here He’ll come again. The Scriptures will jump back to life for me like breathing bones. The Cross will suddenly feel to me like it all happened yesterday and like I was right there in the gore and grandeur and grace of it all. I’ll feel alive with belovedness and anxious to love. Awake with forgivenness and anxious to forgive. I’ll feel called and sent and ready to go. The reverberating power of the empty tomb will fill my soul again and I’ll try my hardest to roll that stone back over the entrance and trap Him in. Then, like Mary Magdelene, I’ll throw my arms around His neck and try to hold onto Him right there where He appears most obvious to me. I want Jesus to stay put. I want it in the worst way. But then…

The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear the sound it makes, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. John 3:8

 Try as you may, you can’t catch the Holy Spirit like a firefly and keep Him in a jar.

 

Of course Jesus never leaves us. We are sealed.

He abides. He remains.

His presence is a fact, not a feeling. But those moments when He’s willing to make Himself known are without equal, I think, in the human experience. The next day comes and its demands and distractions with it. I read and not much happens. I pray and not much moves.

 

But sooner than later, His fullness comes again. His shadow will pass nearby through some kindness, some revelation, some word on that sacred page – and maybe not even to me but to someone I love – and my heart will light up again. Or tears will well in my eyes. Not just tears of sentiment, though they are a gift and have their place, but eyes pooled with the Spirit. Enlightened with fresh hope.

 

Only God can keep doing that again. He alone can quicken our souls like that. He is the initiator. He who brought it, brings it back. He who did it, does it again.

 

What patience.

 

What love.

 

What resistance to boredom.

 

What willingness to risk that faithfulness could be misinterpreted to its receivers as routine.

 

Abide with me just a moment in the wonder of this: God is willing to awaken our sleepy, sluggish, selfish, sinful souls over and over again.

 

I’m not new to so much of this. I was in the church nursery by a few weeks old. I’ve heard ten thousand sermons and read nearly as many books. I’ve heard the sound of my own teaching until I thought that if I heard another word from this mouth, I’d have to punch myself and I’ve wondered how God couldn’t be sick of me, too. This has been my life between and within the train wrecks. I’m not new to Jesus. I’m not full of surprises to Him. I’m not new on the docket. But in His unfathomable and tender mercy, He keeps making Himself new to me.

 

That’s what takes my breath away today.

 

And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. Judges 13:9

 

And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 1 Samuel 3:8

 

And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord. 1 Samuel 3:21

 

And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. 1 Kings 17:22

 

And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” 1 Kings 19:7

 

He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God. 2 Chronicles 33:13

 

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

 

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” John 10:7

 

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” John 20:21

 

 

Again.

 

Blessed, beautiful, merciful, divine again.

 

So I write today for someone with a heart for Jesus who wonders how she’s going to keep it. And, if she can’t, how she can get it back again. Someone whose life, marriage, health, home, sanity, job or ministry depends on it. You’re the one I want to talk to today. I’ve been you. I’m still you.

 

He who chose you before creation, authored your faith, and birthed new life in you through His Spirit will see to your reawakening again and again. Not in your timing but in His. Not with your methods but with His. He alone ignites, sustains, and reignites holy fire. The fire is in His palm. It is not of your making. It is not yours to manufacture.

 

That doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do when all is cold and ashes.

 

When you’re parched, tell Him you are. When your eyes are dim to wonder, tell Him you cannot see. When you’re getting bored, have the courage to say it. When you think you’ve heard it all, tell Him your heart is lying to you, for in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. When you get sick of yourself, plead to see in the mirror what He sees in you. When you get sick of somebody else, hold your frozen heart straight up to the heat of His holiness.

 

When nothing moves you, move to the floor. Tell Him you’ve got to have Him teeming with life in your bones. Beckon Him and welcome Him over and over to pour His Spirit on you. And He’ll do it again. In His own time and His own way but, make no mistake. He will do it again. Even when we’re the ones who ran off the fullness of His Spirit.

 

 

But the hair of [Samson’s] head began to grow again after it had been shaved. Judges 16:22

 

Praise God.

 

Even when your body lays lifeless on your deathbed, He will do it again. He will stand you on your feet in His presence.

 

God cannot seem to resist an opportunity to resurrect.

 

You don’t have to accept the waning of wonder as the natural evolution of a long-term relationship. Accept it as a visitor but refuse it as a resident. And, when it visits, don’t waste all your energy ranting and writhing and despising it. The floor in the banquet hall of revival is always made of sand. This has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn. A garden blooming is not a miracle. A desert blooming, now that’s the miracle.

 

It takes a certain amount of lifelessness to know what it means to be revived.

 

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 43:5

 

 

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210 Responses to “The God of Again”

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Comments:

  1. 151
    Laura Cornia says:

    WOW

  2. 152
    Danielle says:

    You always manage to say exactly what I need to hear. I like to save your posts until I can sit and read and savor what you’ve written.

    I feel like I’m on a plateau, starting the downward journey from a spiritual high and closeness with God that I so desperately needed. But I’m afraid of losing that, which is just easing me down the slope faster. I’ve found myself praying that God take that fear from me. This post is exactly what I needed now. Even though I know I’ve crested and it’s downhill from here, I’ll be up on that heavenly plateau with my God again soon.

    Thank you.

  3. 153
    Debbie says:

    Wonderful post! How encouraging just to read this today, God bless you.

  4. 154
    Julie Reynolds says:

    Thank you, I so needed this today…

  5. 155
    Cheryl says:

    Wow Beth!!! I didn’t even realize I was there… but as my eyes fill with tears, I know I am…I long to be revived.

  6. 156
    Carolyn Stutz says:

    This couldn’t have come at a better time. Even if I had read it right after it was written.
    thank you.
    Love in Christ,
    Carolyn

  7. 157
    Mindy says:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You wrote this for me. I truly needed this today.

  8. 158
    Donna says:

    Just beautiful, Beth. Thank you for the faith and hope booster! I went through a long “dark night of the soul” and have had to remind myself that the Lord allows this because he wants me to love *him*, not what he can do for me. You have a gift for putting this into words. God bless you always–and again!

  9. 159
    Carol Bruntlett says:

    Wow beautiful you wrote that just for me today I beleive, the words could have not come at a better time in my life .
    My soul has been downcast , my heart is hurt and broken , you see I just lost my sweet mama April 30th 2014
    I feel like the earth crumbled beneath my feet , I feel like my whole foundation was shaken , and my world was shaken to the core .
    I keep crying out to God to pull me thru this time and the rest of my life ,I felt like an orphan not having my sweet little mama , but I know in my heart , of hearts God has not abandon me thru this .He will fill me up and give me the strength to go on , and continue walking with Him.
    I am thankful for so much , I am blessed in so many ways , I was thankful to go by her house in the morning before she passed away , did not know after I left that 2 hrs later she would be gone , so thankful the day before she passed I got to hold her hand and hug her and tell her how very much I loved her .
    God will resurrect these ashes and turn them into something beautiful
    Thank you Beth for writing to us today
    Love
    Carol

  10. 160
    Kendra says:

    Whoa momma! You knocked me plumb over with this one. Powerfully spoken. thank you. I needed to hear this today.

  11. 161
    Connie says:

    Oh, the Holy Spirit knew I needed to read this. I was asking the Lord what the matter was with me. I had just been in the best place spiritually and then wham! feeling lost and alone again. It was so good to read this post. Prayed as you suggested and my heart is at peace.

  12. 162
    Brenda says:

    The God of “again”. What a wonderful reminder for us all. It reminds me of a sermon my mother heard on TV years ago when my Mom was almost bed ridden. The sermon was on all those verses that say “and it came to pass…” And it came to pass in the days of so and so that such and such happened. It came to pass. The gist of it was that no matter what crisis or calamity or trial or mess we are in, no matter how much grief, despair, woe, etc. that we are in, it will come to pass. “And it came to pass … “ It didn’t come to stay!

  13. 163
    Esther Joy says:

    I needed this today… Felt like I needed a fresh touch from Him AGAIN! Thanks, Beth!

  14. 164
    Joy French says:

    I just like that:) That’s all!!!

  15. 165
    Donna K says:

    Come Holy Spirit, revive us again! Thank you Beth for your encouraging words. This has been a very long desert experience for me, but now I’m feeling hopeful. The dryer the desert, the greater the miracle when life blooms again! God Bless you!

  16. 166
    Neli says:

    Two words. Thank. You.
    This is an answer to prayer.

  17. 167
    Deborah Mott says:

    After reading this great blog I listening to your #6 or 7 DVD on Children of the Day, I thought yes how perfect…Again and Again until “When the LORD JESUS will appear!” Then some of the agains will not “Reset” and some may as we will again praise Him all of eternity. Yet…

    There comes a time when the time will come! Maranatha!

    Then no more certain “agains” happen, right? LOVE CHILDREN OF THE DAY and love this blog. Thank you for writing and teaching with such Sincerity, TRUTH, Passion Patience, Creativity, Excitement and Revelation….and many other anointed attributes.
    Appreciate you and LPM. His Best to you all…

    Reply

  18. 168
    Anna scantlan says:

    The truth of this, I believe, is something we desperately need to know–especially if we’ve been walking with Him for quite some time. Beautifully spoken, eloquent truth, such an encouraging message. Thank you. I feel like 1 Samuel 3:21 was meant for me. Love you, momma Beth. May you be richly blessed and refreshed by Him, our Spring of Living Water.

  19. 169
    Warm In Alaska says:

    Again, this blog blesses me.

    Thank you, Jesus.

  20. 170
    Robbi says:

    I have no doubt that I was led to this post this morning! Satan would like us to think we are less than WHO HE SAYS WE ARE and WHO HE SAYS HE IS! The bloom in the desert…that is me this morning! Thank you…..again.

  21. 171
    Anonymous says:

    My “winter” has lasted for over 5 years. I’m 31. It seems the season has only gotten colder the longer it goes, and I waver between numbness and desperation. Sometimes I wonder if I am living in disobedience somehow, since it seems God has turned his face from me.

    It’s as if I am so parched I cannot get a word to leave my lips in prayer. And when I do, I just cry in bewilderment and exhaustion.

    There have been moments where I have sensed Him, one about a year and a half ago where I believe God promised me that he would heal my body (Doctors are unable to explain what is happening to me or causing me pain) – in his perfect time.

    But I can’t help but wonder if I’m not doing something right – confessing the right sin, going to church, praying hard enough or consistent enough. Sometimes I wonder if God will not bless my husband and I until we return to the ministry. But surely he doesn’t work like that.

    And what grieves me also is that I don’t know where I fit into evangelical Christianity anymore. I feel like a flaming liberal at the conservative’s table and an uptight conservative at the liberal’s table. I’ve sought refuge from the church in Christian liberal bloggers online – but I’m a foreigner there since I can’t endorse things like gay marriage. But the complementarianism of the conservatives also mystifies me.

    I just feel lost at sea in my faith – partly because of the physical suffering God has allowed me to endure, partly because of the wintry season of my heart, and partly because of the isolation I feel from the church.

    Many thanks to you Beth, for pointing us to Jesus (not yourself) – like many “famous Christians” these days do – another disillusioning thing to me. You are probably more successful AND more humble than them all. I know in telling you this, you will just defer the glory back to God where it deserves. When I read your posts, it makes me want to know Jesus like you do. Makes me long for “the again” in me.

    Jesus is so faithful – and I hope and pray he will – in the very least- if he allows me to suffer, to work it out for the greater good of myself and others. And at least bless me with INTIMACY with him, if I have to bear the cross of physical pain.

    I just hope it is not ME standing in way, causing the hold up, or refusing to let Him do his thing. Prayers would be very much appreciated. (And I’ll pray for you fellow commenters, too.)

    • 171.1
      Hilda Lewis says:

      Anonymous Commenter #171: I’ve said a prayer for you this morning (6/4th). Your physical and spiritual pain are so apparent in your eloquent post. I pray your FAITH triumphs over your FEELINGS (SO hard sometimes!). I pray that our gracious and merciful God will allow you a window through your pain to see how beautiful you are to Him and how much you are a witness to those in your sphere who are watching you; may they see HIM in you and may you be encouraged! I pray for fellow believers to rally ’round you with love and Godly “empathy”, making you feel less isolated.

      With love, Hilda

      • January says:

        Hilda,

        I hope you read over these comments again sometime to receive my gratitude for you! Thank you for your compassionate and kind words (no doubt the Spirit in you). Moved me to tears. Thanks even more for praying for me!

        It’s people like you that make me miss church.

        You are so right, it’s about believing God’s truth over my very deceitful feelings. I’ve known that already but somehow it helps hearing it from someone else. :)

        Too bad you don’t live in Houston. (do you? lol)

        Love,
        january

  22. 172
    Amanda says:

    Praise the Lord for Beth’s obedience to Him in writing and sharing with us, because whoa, I needed this so much right now. I hadn’t even seen this post until I scrolled down after registering for the Children of the Day study, and maybe this particular word of encouragement is one of the reasons I’m here at this particular time! Oh how I love the way He works all things together for our good and gives us hope in so many different ways and through so many different people! Thank you Beth!

  23. 173
    Darla DH says:

    Beth,
    This post of yours was beautiful as well as timely, inspiring, encouraging, and definitely thought provoking. You are so often in my prayers. You and your ministry are so needed and valued.

  24. 174
    Keri says:

    “So I write today for someone with a heart for Jesus who wonders how she’s going to keep it. And, if she can’t, how she can get it back again. Someone whose life, marriage, health, home, sanity, job or ministry depends on it. You’re the one I want to talk to today.”

    You wrote this today for me. I am so desperate to find Him again, to be awakened again. Just so desperate.

  25. 175
    Gwyn Tidwell says:

    Nothing is so sweet as a fresh touch by the Master. Like a cool drink of water in the desert, I thirst for it and relish it when received.

  26. 176
    Kay Martin says:

    So insightful!! I needed this reminder. Thank you!!

  27. 177
    Cindy says:

    Thank you, Beth! What a wonderful message. Thank you, Father for being a God of “Agains” for not giving up on me.

  28. 178
    Janey Hollingsworth says:

    Thank you, Beth, for being so “real” and “open” with us!! As you share real life with all of us, what an encouragement you are to everyone of us! I’m so thankful for the God of “again”- so well put!! So thankful that God laid on your heart to minister to women and help them be drawn to God’s Word!! You’re such a blessing!! Much love and prayers to you!! Janey

  29. 179
    JoAnn says:

    This was God-breathed! Our LORD does it again and again because His love is so perfect. I feel like I just received a big hug from my Creator and King. Beautiful. Thank you Beth for being His vessel.

  30. 180
    Kristina says:

    Wow what a beautiful word! I pray that in name of Jesus He strengthens you mightily for His work. Amen

  31. 181
    Lawan Rivera says:

    This is awesome Beth and a wonderful reminder. Thank you so much.

  32. 182
    Linda says:

    A day late and a dollar short, as my mother used to say, but happy to have found you at the beginning of the study.

  33. 183
    Bridget Frederick says:

    Beth, I was blessed by your May 30th blog, The God of Again. I found myself relating to and having experienced much of the same feelings and thoughts you shared. My precious Father is truly amazing! As one who lives with the loss of her only child, God has been more than faithful to me. Even after 5 years, when grief can still make a visit like a hurricane, my Father’s love and peace sustains me when he hears the sound of my voice, “Father, I’m hurting”. He can’t help himself but to answer the heart’s cry of his child. Oh Praise Him! Thank You for sharing your heart and life with us. Looking forward to seeing and hearing you in Biloxi. God Bless!

  34. 184
    Kristi Wile says:

    Oh, how I needed to read this today. Thank you.

  35. 185
    Linda says:

    Beth,
    This is what spoke to me – “When you get sick of somebody else, hold your frozen heart straight up to the heat of His holiness.”

    Marriage is so hard. Thanks for helping us fight the good fight.
    You have blessed me countless times. You are the one who started me on bible study 13 years ago. Without bible study, I’m not sure my faith could have with stood the trials I have faced.

  36. 186
    Holly says:

    Thank you Lord for speaking through Beth to me this morning.

    Revive us (me) AGAIN, oh Lord!

    Thank you Beth for allowing God to use you and speak through you.

    Again!

  37. 187
    Cathy says:

    Thank you so much for the encouraging word this morning!

  38. 188
    Lacy says:

    Thank you! Praise Him that He is willing! I need His again!!

  39. 189
    Cecilia says:

    Oh how I needed to read this! I have been struggling with feeling so empty and dry. I’ve been questioning if I’ve experienced all I’ll ever experience. Thank you for reminding me that Jesus can bring this dry life back to life again.
    His child,
    Cecilia

  40. 190
    Pam Nelson says:

    This is so true. I needed Gods strength again to perservere in my marriage. Thanks again to Gods grace He renewed me and gave me the strength and enthusiasm I needed.

  41. 191
    Shelly says:

    After hearing you speak at LPL Stockton this weekend, I looked up your website and although I’ve been a fan of yours for a few years now (since joining my first bible study about 6 years ago), I had not seen your blog. This morning I stumbled across it and know this was written for me to see on this day!!! I am so ready to ADVANCE and to expand my time with the Lord by going to Him for ALL THINGS, not just the biggies! My marriage has been a mess for so many years now I don’t even remember what it was like to have someone just love me for me. As a relatively new Christian, I did not have that foundation built up to know that I ONLY NEED GOD because He loves me for me and created me to love Him – and that is all I need in this world! Thank you for writing, speaking and continually listening to Him and then sharing with those of us who are hurting! You are such a tremendous blessing – thank you!!!!

  42. 192
    Vicki says:

    Thank you, Beth. Words I needed to hear! Thank You, Jesus, for being the “again” God!!!

  43. 193
    keijo leppioja says:

    So fantastic joy and love when God will take care of us again today and be drinking best the living waterrs wells from him and be knoewing his wisdom and kindnes in that hard the world in darknes, but the lord is our the light and provide us with best joy and peace again ,thanks and bless,keijo sweden

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