A Two-Word Spiritual Secret

prayer_0If God would answer any one prayer of yours, what would you ask for?

What if He gave it to you? Removed it for you? Placed you there? Granted your request?

How satisfying would that be? How fulfilling or relieving? How would you revel in the experience of God’s obvious blessing upon you?

In the past year of life, two words have come to be key in my understanding of how AND why God works in our lives. The words are SO THAT.


Spoken another way, God works in YOUR life for way MORE than YOUR life.

Scripture attests to this.

abraham baby hope smallAbraham longed for a child, for an heir. And God responded, but not merely because Abraham’s possessions needed a landing spot after his death nor because Abraham and Sarah’s home would be happier, filled with the cooing and cuddling that an infant brings.  No, God spoke of all the nations receiving blessing through this longed-for child. He blessed Abraham SO THAT…

moses-and-the-burning-bush-the-bible-27076046-400-300Moses should have been a grateful man. Shrewd scheming by his mother and sister allowed him enough life to learn how to walk. Then compassion in the heart of an Egyptian princess entitled him to a privileged upbringing within the ruling house of an ancient superpower. All of this was far beyond earning; it appeared to gifted, for no obvious reason.

After you have been involved in an accident which resulted in these damages, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party’s insurance provider. What is punitive damages if the at-fault party did not have insurance, or could claim compensation by requesting a payout from your own insurance company.

Then surprisingly, a wilderness exile helped him escape a murder charge and enrolled him into a forty-year leadership course, under the tutelage of father-in-law Jethro, numerous sheep, and the patient instruction of the desert. And all of this appears to be kindness spent on Moses for his sake until a shrub ignites and the Sacred Infinity says otherwise: “Your life, Moses, has not been about your life. All of this has taken place SO THAT…

pentecost1The first disciples were terrified. Their leaders had crucified their Leader, and there was no telling how many of them were destined for similar fates. Drowning in despair and filled with fear, they locked themselves away to weather the storm. But the drama of an untimely death was about to be vaporized by the reality of resurrection. Appearing among his followers, Jesus provoked in them a reinterpretation of all they thought they knew. He then urged them to wait in Jerusalem for the further wonder of the Spirit. God made these moves in the lives of the inner circle, with His eyes beholding a whole lot more… than the inner circle.  Fire fell from heaven as more than an encouragement to Jesus’ friends. God was moving SO THAT…

By nature, our gaze is narrow. But the tightening of our focus upon ourselves actually serves to rob us, for the glory of what God is up to is typically brightest in the “SO THAT” seen far beyond the borders of our lives.

To be sure, God IS working in your life. But the more wonderful truth is that He is working in your life, not merely for your life. The Holy One is the master of the SO THAT!

When the Invisible One Makes Things Visible

In Daniel 2, a deadly decree was issued.  The wise men of Babylon were collectively condemned and sentenced to death for their perceived failure to faithfully serve the king, Nebuchadnezzar.

Their shortcoming?

Dream of NebuchadnezzarThey were unable to make sense of the king’s troubling dreams.  But even that isn’t the whole story.  In a mistrust-motivated move, Nebuchadnezzar demanded that these sages do their work “blindfolded”–he would not tell them the content of the dream.  They were to provide him with both the material and the meaning.

Daniel learned all this, only once the arrest warrant was already at his door.  Requesting time to pray, he and his faithful friends–Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah–sought revelation from the God of heaven.

How would you prayer go if your life depended upon receiving an answer you could not begin to dream up?  (The next question might be: What keeps you from always praying with that sense? But that’s another post.)

Daniel and his friends pleaded for nothing less than divine revelation. And it was received!

Their rightful response:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,to whom belong wisdom and might.

He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. 

To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you,for you have made known to us the king’s matter.” (Daniel 2:20-23)

God’s role as Revealer is wondrous!  My experiences with revelation–albeit not exactly of visions interpreted–have astounded me in a couple ways:

  1. God’s provision is precise.

    Both timely and measured, divine revelation is not unlike the message Neo receives from the Oracle, in the Matrix.  On one level, it appears inadequate and inconsequential, even unhelpful.  On another level, it is exactly–and not a hair more–what he needs to take his next step.

  2. God’s means are many.

    A friend’s words, a Scripture message, song lyrics, movie lines, and more–sometimes it’s actual words expressed, other times the truth is found in the spaces between those words.  But the Living God has no need of language either.  To me, He has also revealed through insights I could not generate, emotions I could not ignore, dreams I could not forget, and circumstances I could not concoct.

And every experience of revelation leads one into a Daniel-mode of worship, though seldom so vividly verbalized, for who cannot enter a mode of wonder at a One who knows all things and shares them succinctly yet shockingly when we seek Him?


Revelation is one of the wonders of the Christian experience, undeniable and unexplainable, a glorious form of spiritual feeding.

Those moments of seeing are a most beautiful thrill in one’s walk with the Unseen One.

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,to whom belong wisdom and might.