Seeking the Truth On My Knees


I've been hunkered down two weeks now in my hidey-hole in Wales, this replica of Narnia. Have I changed? My breathing, I think, has slowed to match the easy rhythms of the land around me, and maybe I've lost a few pounds. But I've not improved my Yahtzee skills at all, though I play it most nights. And I almost lapsed into paganism: I had a moment of Wall-Street hubris, of all-consuming corporate greed, when I fought back from near bankruptcy to entirely crush my rivals – Cheryl and Nicola – in a sprawling take-no-prisoners game of Monopoly that spanned three nights. But I recovered from that, and once again am humbly content with the simple life. I do not need a hotel on Park Lane to be happy.
I am, all told, deeply content but otherwise ordinary. I am recognizably myself: a tad impatient, a little fretful, easily distracted, given to spells of brooding. I keep waiting for some epiphany, some startling dazzling insight, to break in on this magnificent solitude, and change me in a twinkling. And then I remind myself that such things are rare, and come mostly unbidden, unexpected, undeserved. You bend one day to fetch a stick of wood, or step out of the shower and reach for a towel, or spy the shape of a face in the clouds, and then suddenly it's on you, flooding in from nowhere and everywhere, turning you inside out. 
I haven't had that yet.
And most change takes work.
A line from a book I've been reading has been working me over hard. The book is called A Diary of Revival, documenting, mostly from the personal correspondences and diary entries of eyewitnesses and key figures, the events and personalities that marked the 1904 Welsh Revival. One of the most prominent figures of that revival, the one whose name is most associated with it, is Evan Roberts. Roberts was a coal miner before he was a preacher (indeed, he fulfilled a prophecy that God was going to raise up a man from the mine or the farm, not the seminary, to bring revival). 
As a teenager, Roberts  was marked by a hunger for God's word, and he read and pondered the Scriptures at every opportunity. He kept a Bible in the mine shafts, to read on his breaks, and one day, when he was absent, an explosion in the mine burnt his Bible and strewed its pages every which way. Roberts went searching for its remnants, crawling through the rubble, digging for the torn and scattered pages. He described it this way: "I had to go out and seek the truth on my knees."
That's the line that's working me over: I had to go out and seek the truth on my knees.
The story that is most often told about the anointing for revival that God placed on Roberts happened on September 29, 1904, at a church gathering in Blaenannerch (not far from where I'm staying). Roberts, in a sudden fit of zeal that stunned those who witnessed it, prayed for God to "bend" him. It was an act of surrender. It was throwing himself utterly on the mercy of God and giving himself wholly to the purposes of God. He was asking to be bent to the divine will, conformed to Christ. It was like Isaiah saying "Here I am, send me." It was like Christ saying, "Not my will, but yours be done."
It's was an amazing moment – an epiphany. I don't doubt, as historians claim, it was the turning point, the spark that lit Revival in Wales and then sent it around the world. 
But I think this other moment – a young man, prepared to serve the rest of his days in manual labor if that was God's bidding, stooped and clambering in the dark and mess of a collapsed mine to find one more page, and another, and another, of the book he loved – I think this is significant, too. This is the precursor to being bent, to being sent.
I have been praying two things here: "Lord, bend me." And, "Lord, may I go out to seek the truth on my knees."
I commend these prayers to everyone. But particularly, I believe at least one young man or woman will read this and hear these prayers as God's personal assignment. God's intimate call.
All God needs to start the fire is someone hungry enough, desperate enough, broken enough, available enough, to seek the truth on their knees, and to let God bend them.
Is it you?

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8 thoughts on “Seeking the Truth On My Knees

    • thank you so much for all the sharing of photos and comments!!  I've always thought of Great Britain as all urban…without really giving it much thought, but Wales, at least where you folk are is spectacularly rural! 

  1. Boy your words resonate in my heart. I prayed tonight that God would cleanse me, reshape me, and make me fit to be unified with him.
    I received your new book in the mail this week. Several chapters in I find I'm restraining myself from springing up and dancing around the room as I read. I wrote a couple of comments on your facebook page but they don't show up now, so I wanted to make sure I took the opportunity here to tell you how excited (and intimidated) I am about being turned upside down. God has been preparing my heart to hear the message of love and unity. For months I've been obsessed by Ephesians and John 14-17, digging in to what it means to be united to God and one another.
    Five months ago my husband and I began ministering in a new church. I asked God when we arrived to show me his heart and to purify my desires. As I prayed I was amazed that he began showing me his love for orphans as an adoptive father. I began seeing orphan care in a new way. I also began seeing his love for me, and his church, through fresh eyes. I was hooked, it was like falling in love and I wanted more. Long story short he put the needs of disabled orphans in Serbia on my heart. The information about their situation is grim. As I saw footage of broken children lying desolate in metal cribs I cried out, send me. I wanted to touch their cheek and whisper just once that they are loved. But he is doing so much more. I wrestled and prayed and begged and wept, and then I decided I had to act. I received a call this morning from my denomination's national office that they are willing to help me form a small evaluation team to visit Serbia and asses the situation to see how we can help. Through this process God has continually spoken to me about the need for preparation, his ministry of reconcilliation, our call to unity, and his invitaion to be a part of love. I don't know why I share all of this with you other than to say God has used your writing through this blog, Things Unseen, and Your Church Is Too Safe, to spur me on to love and good deeds. Thank you.

    • Beck — Read Mark's post, am a colleague – dotted line — w/ Mark through Arrow.  As I read your post, I was reminded of a recent bending from the Lord.  Breaking really.  It hurts, maybe still does. As I also read your post, it seems a response to a bend, a break. Little children not being cared for in Serbia?  I "see" God scouring the globe to ensure someone who knows Jesus goes to those precious children…asap.  Glad your denom. is supporting God's call. Be courageous.  GE

  2. Thanks.  I've got it.  Been praying 1 Samuel 12:16  (See I've been praying through Hannah, Samuel and pressing into God)  "Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes!  23 … But …far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you"     Can't wait to email you when you get back to let you know what God is doing.
    Yes far more than I could expect or dream!!:)  God is using the homeless and those in great need to teach me great things of my Father.  God is going to act before my very eyes.
    Thanks:)  Cin

  3. Thanks, James, Maryel. Gretchen, Beck. Cindy,
    Your comments inspire & humble me. Beck, thanks especially for sharing a part of your journey. I often tell my congregation (which includes me) that the way of the Lord is rarely easy, but always best.
    Mark Buchanan

  4. Wow, your present situation is sounding strangely familiar; only circumstance and place are different. Imagine being in the bunker for five years, freaked out at the possibility of making an appearance in what is suppose to be the “safest” place on earth … the Church. Talk about risk taking.
    Your appearance on My New Day today has me thinking. In your appearance you expressed a prophetic scenario of the Church going into the desert to be stripped of self (basically). My belief is that this is already happening.  You see, many of those members of His body who have left the building aren’t just goofing off and lapsing in paganism, although easy enough to do, as you are discovering. We (I and others, not all, by any means) are being stripped out here in the desert, isolated from fellowship of like mind. Our coming apart is a preparation to re-enter with right attitude, servitude, gratitude, fortitude, and in whatever longitude God would have us come back. I’ve met many who are in the wilderness searching for truth and finding God in the midst of rejection, humiliation, annihilation, etc.  Some aren’t doing so well, others are finding God in a more meaningful and personal way. Having flown the “safe
    house” has led us to be more exposed and more aware of the dangers of the world and have given us more of an appreciation for what God really does want to do collectively through His people as a witness to this hurting and dangerous world. I can’t wait to get back in the organized body and yet I wait because I’m not ready. God has not done in me personally what He needs to do before I can become, without agenda, a vital part of the collective body of Christ. This is the attitude of not all but of those, who like you, love God’s Bride, the Church.
    The prayer “Lord, bend me” is a dangerous prayer indeed. When we pray that prayer we need to expect Him to, but oh my, watch to see how the tide turns. At least that has been my experience. I prayed that prayer fifteen years ago and life has been a series of ongoing painful challenges ever since but also joy that comes with pain. “And, Lord, may I go out to seek truth on my knees.” It’s not what we’ve been led to believe as anyone who has prayed that prayer discovers.
    Wishing you and your family a blissful sabbatical; may it be everything you desire.