In Fasting Week 2023, two of the things I prayed for were that I would hear more from God and that He would give me the courage to act upon what I heard from Him. He has answered these prayers in ways that I did not think were possible for me. I have heard more from God during these last 8 months than I have over the course of my entire life as a christian. It's not that He wasn't talking to me before — it's just that I wasn't really listening!
Just a few weeks ago, I spent a week on the beautiful island of North Uist with a team from our church (who were visiting and delivering workshops with the North Uist Community Church). On our very first day there we went to a beach and I was walking along the water's edge, praying and I felt God nudging me and the words "Here is the Atlantic — is there anything stopping you being baptised?" popped into my head. I couldn't think of a single reason why not. In fact, I felt a longing to be baptised. This was very surprising!
Last year, we heard about believer's baptism - how it wasn't "compulsory" but that Jesus was definitely in favour of it. I hated the idea of being baptised! The idea of going under the water completely freaked me out, and the public nature of it bothered me too. I really wrestled with it. I didn't want to disappoint God, so I prayed that if He really wanted me to be baptised He would change my heart so that I actually wanted it too. I had peace about the whole thing after that and didn't think about it anymore.
Now, a whole year later, here I was, with a growing excitement that I was going to be baptised. On the last day of our week in North Uist, our friends from NUCC and the Re:Hope team gathered on the beach. I felt SO nervous. As folks prayed for me, I felt such confidence that God would look after me and that those on the beach were somehow accompanying me into the water — not just observing, but part of it. It was humbling to feel their joy. I was getting baptised as a matter of obedience and did not expect to feel joyful at all, but I did. I felt like singing. In fact, I did! I would never sing in public in a million years, but there I was, soaking wet, with a heart so full that you couldn't have shut me up.
God is SO generous. He spoke to me. He gave me ears to hear. He changed my heart as I had invited Him too. He gave me courage to be obedient. And, most unexpectedly, He gave me joy. I absolutely love Him.
Re:Hope West End
Has God spoken to you about something during these 40 days that you need to take a step of obedience in? Ask Him today for courage to take your next step!