A couple of weeks ago my friend told me a story about a 14-year-old boy in Kansas City with cerebral palsy and a girl named Annie. Annie had gone home for the weekend and at her home church this kid asked to pray over her. So the boy started praying over Annie when all of the sudden he started saying, “spiritual fire in Little Rock” over and over again. Here’s the ridiculous thing: Annie goes to school in Fayetteville, not Little Rock and this boy had never been to Arkansas before much less Little Rock and out of all the cities in all of the world he chose Little Rock.
A number of emotions pulse through my body whenever I type that story; I have tears in my eyes and chills down my spine and an overwhelming, unexplainable feeling deep inside of my chest. For the first couple of days after I heard that story I tried to pin down exactly what that feeling was and I came up with a loss but as I sat around at 3am the morning after Good Friday and took communion with some dear friends, Jesus gave a voice to that feeling. The main reason this story is so incredible, besides the fact prophecy still exists and how God is moving, is that God knows Little Rock by name. I know that sounds simple but really, out of all of the world God has chosen to walk through Little Rock and set us on fire at this present moment for His glory. He knows us. That truth is so overlooked and not deeply felt in each of our desperate and thirsty souls. Jesus knows Little Rock and in the same way He knows me.
For the last couple of weeks Revival has run rampant across Little Rock and it is not slowing down, but instead it is speeding up as more and more people start to burn alive. There have been three different times in the last month that Jesus has led not only me, but many others to sing spiritual songs over others (funny how the Bible starts to come to life while walking in the Spirit) and each time I have dismissed the idea of me needing to be sung over as well. We have sung “Oh, how He loves you” over many people, one time it was just one friend and others it was hundreds and I remember the third time I was singing that over a group my eyes finally were opened and I saw how I need to know that as well. Just as Jesus knows Little Rock out of the whole world, He knows me out of all of history.
I’m reading through 1 Chronicles and I have to be honest, it’s really rough trying to read through hundreds of name for no apparent reason. Whenever I got to chapter three and started nodding off, I stubbornly asked God to reveal something to me that would make me want to keep reading and to learn something from these “divine” names. When I rolled around to chapter seven or so, God started to peel open my eyelids to se that out of all the names and all the lists, none of them are in any particular arrangement. What I mean is this, some names are the son of so-and-so, some names are where they’re from and some are just simply their names. What this brought to my heart was that God handpicked every single name that was to go into the first 12 chapters of Chronicles and gave each one a special and unique way of being presented. Each individual name means nothing to me, but each name means everything to God.
Every three seconds someone dies of poverty. So in the amount of time it has taken me to write four paragraphs approximately 300 people have died around the world. Each individual life means nothing to me, but each life means everything to God.
Whenever I sit here at Starbucks and people watch, I think about where each person has to be and why there are in such a hurry or why they get out of bed everyday. I like to entertain myself with making up their lives in my head; some are going to grow up to be president, some will be bums, and others become over-paid pastors. Whatever the case I often forget about the person and move on with my day leaving that person meaning nothing to me, but not dismissing the fact that that person still means everything to God.
One of the most beautiful things about this Revival is that God is moving and working in individual hearts and when we as the Church sing, “Oh how He loves you” to our brothers and sisters, we are speaking pure Biblical truth. I became lost in Awakening to the point where it was hard for me to fall to my knees and let Jesus’ arms surround me and quiet my aching and raging heart.
There have been many things that have happened in the past month for the Lord to keep reminding me and impressing upon my heart that He knows me by name, some of them being Annie’s story and the whole 1 Chronicles deal but there has been one in particular that I would be in vain not to share.
With this being my senior year and all, like everyone my age, the question of college reared it’s ugly head this fall. I quickly decided Arkansas Tech was the place for me (cant honestly say I prayed about that too much) and left it at that until I was at a college fair where John Brown peeked my interest. I went to visit and loved the idea of going there but that died in about two weeks as Jesus let me see how a small Christian college most likely wasn’t the best place for my healing and bitter heart. So once again I settled on Arkansas Tech and then in a span of five minutes, God rocked my world. I was in Springdale for a football game and ended up staying the night with my buddy Shaun in Fayetteville on the campus of the University of Arkansas. That morning I walked out of Humphrey’s Hall only to stop dead in my tracks in the cool December morning air and my heart literally leapt within my chest. I stood there and looked around and thought to myself, “I’m supposed to be here”. On the way home I mentioned it to my dad and we both knew it was a long shot considering the early deadline for scholarships had passed and I would be applying late and there was no way I could go to college without scholarships (right?). I ended up applying when I got home anyways and within a couple of weeks was accepted and sent in my scholarship application. After a couple of weeks of prayer and council from some much wiser people, I saw pretty clearly that my heart’s desire was to be at Fayetteville. There is so much going on there and the Lord has an army in place of mighty warriors who desire nothing more than to know Jesus and to make Him known and as I looked from the outside in, I started to understand why my heart leapt the way it did that morning.
This year went on and the news of scholarships came flooding in. I was expecting quite a bit from different places (some from UofA as far as academics and then the government and other competitions) and within the span of two weeks the possible total went from about 6,000 a year to 1,000… one time. The hope of Fayetteville became more and more slim by the day but each time I got a rejection notice or call or found out in any way, I just kept hearing the Lord behind me whispering, “do you trust me?” That is an easy question with a difficult response. “Of course I do!” I would keep saying but remember that I have an incredibly hard time accepting that Jesus loves me deeply and knows my name which puts me in between a rock and a hard spot for answering that question of whether I trust Him or not. To make matters even more complicated I got an offer from Arkansas Tech that would literally pay for everything but I had zero peace about going there, although the ratio of scholarship money was about 40:1. My friend Niki so poetically and prophetically wrote to me, “If God wants you at Fayetteville, the devil will try to draw you elsewhere. And money is a draw of the world… stepping outside the will of God is more costly than any college expense.” Needless to say that the last sentence of that message wrung my heart until it was dry of all doubt.
It’s easy for me to complain and wish that people would sing over me how much Jesus loves me but it’s even sweeter to know that the King of the Universe, the Living God himself sings over me. As I am reminded by His gentle and violent love, “He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zeph. 3:17) How beautiful is it that Jesus himself sings over me the most intimate song ever sung.
I stared face to face with my will and the will of God… do I go with the money for myself or do I trust with all of my heart that God holds me close and His glory and His grace is so much greater than mine?
When I got off the phone with Arkansas Tech I had to steady my hand knowing how much money I had just given up. But while I did that, the Spirit once again whispered into my ear, “I am a shield about you, your glory, and the lifter of your head.” As the truth of Psalm 3 echoed into my soul, I felt sure Jesus was leading in His path of life.
From before the world began the Lord knew that I would be going to Fayetteville and He knew that I would have to trust Him with everything that came along with that. I am confident that the Lord will provide me with whatever funds I need because He desires for me to be there. I will trust in the good news, the great news that Jesus Christ knows my name. I will rest in the hand of my Savior.
When this Revival started a month ago I was introduced to Audrey Assad and a song called, “Known” which has been my cry ever since I first heard it. The song is obviously about how intimately God knows each of us. And isn’t it so glorious that that can also be the cry of every single other heart that knows the Lord and every heart that ever will. We are alive to know Him, and to make Him known and the first half of the reason I got up this morning rings truer in my ear than the music playing from my iPod.
How sweet it is to trust in Jesus. How sweet to know I am nothing but He is everything. How sweet it is to be sung over by the Living God. How sweet it is to be used by the Spirit. How sweet it is to become one with Him by taking the bread and drinking the wine. How sweet it is to be held in the arms of our dear Savior. How sweet it is to be alive for His glory. How sweet it is to be known.