by Eitan Shiskoff, Executive Director, Tents of Mercy Network
By Eitan Shishkoff
My least favorite letters are probably "N/A". Why? Because it means that the item or service I want is Not Available. If we get frustrated when we see N/A, what does God experience when He's seeking to get our attention, or to instruct us/warn us/lead us - and He sees those initials next to our name?
We live anticipating the fulfillment of Joel's attention-grabbing prophecy. In the last days, God will pour out His Spirit upon the sons and daughters of Israel and upon all flesh (Joel 2:28ff). Yet I've asked myself, "Am I ready for such an outpouring?" I have this hunch that it's not going to be like I expect. Rather, it will be unpredictable, radical, and even offensive to many. How will I respond? Will I be ready? Will it pass me by? Will I become the harvester I long to be, during the final harvest before Yeshua returns? A key ingredient will be AVAILABILITY.
Like Freshly Plowed Soil
To what can we liken availability? It's like the soil that is freshly plowed and ready to receive seed. As hippie farmers we learned about soil. When it was full of clay, it baked quickly to a hard crust when water was scarce. Too much sand and the seed had nothing to grab onto. Thick sod, unworked for years became impenetrable - packed with countless interwoven grass roots.
In Yeshua's parable He emphasized the need for our hearts to be like rich, open soil in order to bring a lush crop. If the seed lands on the road, or the soil is filled with rocks or weeds - no crop. These resemble our stubbornness, our coveting more things, and our fear of others' opinions. His imagery questions our availability. Is my heart ready to receive the seed of God's word, of His requirements, of His transforming interaction with me? "Break up your fallow ground," the prophet Hosea challenges, "for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness upon you" (Hosea 10:12).
Like the Womb
Miriam was caught off guard by Gabriel's bizarre announcement. How could she bear a child, conceived of the Holy Spirit, without normal marital relations? Despite the shock she replied, "Be it unto me according to your word." She made her womb available to God for His purposes. No way could she comprehend the consequences. From her availability came eternal world redemption!
The womb is a place of conception, a place of creation, a place that brings forth new life. Is my life available to God in womb-like receptivity? Guys, this is not a female thing. This is a human thing. The Lord is looking for those who, like Isaiah, will see Him, confront their own need for cleansing, receive His purification, and make themselves wholly available. "Here am I, send me" (Isaiah 6:8).
Of course there are barriers to availability. You and I are not inclined to open our life wide to God or others if we've been abused, betrayed, unfairly criticized, ridiculed, or rejected. If that's the case, our heart needs the power of repentance, healing, and renovation. True availability happens in the heart.
Like a Tender Heart
Availability consists of surrender, imagination, breaking down walls. Surrender is setting aside our private agenda. Imagination is inviting God to create through us. Breaking down walls? Well you know what that is. It's removing the places of insecurity and fear that drive us away from God's purposes and our best self. Spiritually speaking, new life is conceived in the heart. As fertile soil or an empty womb, our heart is designed to receive the seed of God's word, His life, His Spirit. We have to remove the off-limits, "do-not-walk-here" sign we've put up - selfishly declaring that our life is "private property." Then, it is time to deny ourselves, and open our heart wide to God, without fear of abuse or exploitation. Then He will pour out His Spirit upon us. Then we will be an open channel for His healing and salvation.
The cliché is true: "The most important ability is availability". May you be fully available for the history-making purposes of God in the days ahead.
FillowingComment(12:31 04Jul14 Eva Haglund, Good article! We need to be available for God! We need his ways not our own. We need to listen to what HE wants and say. Yeshua was available for ABBA - the Father. He said "your will, not mine" when it costed anything. It can cost following God but it is love and Yeshua gave everything in love. Today there are some leadership who is not available for God and not for the sheep. They do not feed the sheep. They build on their own houses. God wants a change. There are however some who are available for God. There are real prophets who are available for God but they can be badly treated when people do not listen. We need to be available in Body of Christ when God speaks and we need to be available for his Word - like water in a desert. In John 15:12-13 talks Yeshua about love among Christians. He talks about friendship among us and in 1 Cor.12 it is written about that we need each other I think much in friendship not just in any church building in one meeting. God wants us to be available to each other, too, in friendship. We can close our doors and our hearts and say - I am not interested in others but this is not what Yeshua showed. In John 21 he showed fellowship and he wants to be a Friend with us not just one we work for. He was available with his love to us. He gave All in love. He shared his bread. He gave his Bread - his life. Isaias.53)
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