Which Will You Choose: Summit or Submission?
We wrapped up our last visit observing John’s reverence for God, for Jesus, and for his calling which released the faith to complete his assignment.
When John asked, "Are you the One or shall we look for another?" He did not doubt; he wasn’t in fear; Jesus’ response is what indicates to us that John was in faith. John was asking Jesus to confirm if he was seeing correctly the time of the Kingdom. He had an assignment to prepare the way of The Lord.
Because Love asked.
John understood the assignment and knew the privileged role he had in it. In fact, John himself had prophesied: He must increase and I must decrease.
Like God knew of Abraham, He knew of John, that John would see the finished work by faith and be faithful to complete his race, no matter the cost. He was born in the spirit of Elijah to do just that.
Recently, Love asked me to climb Mt Kilimanjaro. Our team of partners and I put all our faith on the summit of Kilimanjaro on Resurrection Sunday, 2013 at sunrise, to bring God glory, to proclaim, "Our God Reigns!"
I trained for nearly a year, transforming from high heels to hiking boots! It took faith for the submission for this was totally out of character for me. It took submission to learn to hike, let alone train to summit the world’s tallest freestanding mountain peak! But I knew it was the Lord who asked, so it became a great joy in our lives. Our partners prayed; many stretched out their faith to believe God for all the resources necessary. By His Grace, the whole team became As One, For Him, In Him, As Him, so others may know Him!
Along the way, we found out that people don’t much like waves. To be honest, it took us by surprise how many were threatened by God’s promotion and the supernatural sustaining power displayed by the equipping.
Some like to stay at home. Some follow only to the shoreline to hear the Word. Some go further, but like to stay in the boat. But some… Oh! But some!
Yes! Some rose up on their feet and shouted, "At your Word, Lord! Bid us come!"
The Lord gave us a name for them. We called them: Team Unstoppable!
From first hearing of the climb, they stood fast in faith, revering the mission… because Love asked!
Their hearts recognized that we were all born for such a time as this! These "some" locked in and never even twitched at the magnitude of the mission. Oh these "some"! How their faith in the finished work encouraged me! They still do every time I call it to my remembrance.
This mighty band of servants stood on His Word and prayed, gave, served, sent, and representing us all, I went. I was the only one from the U.S.A. on the climb team, so I made my first international 22 hour flight alone, save the powerful presence of the Lord.
A Word had come to me by my mentor in the faith, Dr Clarice Fluitt, to take The Oil of the Lord and pour it out prophetically on the high places as we took them back for God’s Glory. So, joining a team of 9 others from around the globe, the oil and I (Selah) headed up the mountain in the most physically demanding and majestically beautiful mission of my life <thus far>.
It was brutal. It was breathtaking. But the anointing held my every step. I had not any injury or illness the entire trip, not even a blister. And, thanks to the Lord and the nutritional wisdom He provided through my husband, Dr. Ray Pearson, I had no sign of altitude sickness (AMS) at all the entire trip.
Steadily, our band of chosen hikers made our way up the world’s tallest free-standing mountain peak. On the eve of Resurrection Sunday, we set out in the dark in a blowing snowstorm for the summit. All the way the anointing had held us, enabled us, and encouraged us. We left for the summit as a team, planning to take communion at sunrise, remembering Him over all the earth.
But then, as we made our ascent, things changed. At almost 17,000ft, there was a shift. An instruction in my heart that I did not understand. Here’s the way it went between my heart and head:
"Turn around. Turn around now."
"I don’t think so!"
"Lord, I am called to summit. To take the high places. I can’t quit. I won’t quit."
Then suddenly, I had no oxygen. No air. That was scary. My mind was whirling, trying to figure out what was happening and what to do. No air. Can’t breathe. Nausea in waves. About to pass out. "What’s happening? Why can’t I go on?"
Then I realized it was much worse. Not only was there no oxygen, there was…
The anointing that had carried me every step up five days of mountain, above the clouds, in the sub-zero temps, as brutal as I had ever faced in the physical, was suddenly (albeit temporarily) GONE! Nada. Zip. Nothing.
The AIR I BREATH was gone. And I don’t mean oxygen.
So I turned back, broken hearted, discouraged, and confused, and headed to the high camp as God instructed. The only thing I was clear on was that in no uncertain terms, God said turn back. I had so many questions and I had a long cold (-25F) night to seek God for understanding.
It’s a long glorious story of all that happened that night and next morning, which perhaps I will have liberty to tell more fully later, but here is what we need to see at this moment:
For me to summit, would be a great natural accomplishment and I would have been a hero in many eyes (those looking for a hero, I guess).
If you know me, there was probably no doubt that I would ever summit, especially because Love asked. And actually, my husband was so totally taken by surprised when I called to say I did not, he immediately thought I must have had great injury.
But! For me to submit… For me to SUBMIT rather than SUMMIT was an even greater faith challenge. Yet, Love threw me a last minute curve ball and asked me the unthinkable. Again.
I could take the glory OR He could be glorified.
I chose to honor God, trusting Him against all my emotions and lack of understanding, trusting Him in the face and words of those who later judged me as having cold feet.
I put my faith on submitting when I did not understand. I followed Him back to the high camp and began to pray; I took communion as we had all planned to, speaking victory, strength, and endurance over the summitting hikers; and, I settled in a cold, dark, deserted camp to wait for my next leading.
Interestingly enough, I had observed that the very moment I turned my body toward that camp, my air and the anointing had both returned. Hmm…
Why am I telling you all this? Because He honors those who honor Him.
Remember I told you about the oil that was to go to the top – a prophetic part of our mission? I was fully persuaded it absolutely had to reach the top and be poured out on that sunrise morning. So much so that I had insisted my teammates promise that if for any reason I failed to make it, they would take the vial and do it.
I didn’t know why I would insist on that. I never once had the most remote thought that I would not make it. Never once. Not even when I could not breathe. But I had insisted that they promise to take it from me if I could not go on.
I didn’t know why I was turned back. I didn’t know how God could be glorified or how the mission could still be accomplished. There was so much that I just did not know.
One-by-one my team mates, weary and exhausted, but victorious, came over the ridge off their 16 hour all night hike to the summit and back down. As I cheered them on and ministered helps any way I could, I still had many questions of God and wondered what had happened of the vial of oil.
I had made declaration at the high camp with communion. I had poured out oil at the lower camp as well as I prayed for my team. But I wondered why I hadn’t been allowed to take it to the top.
It wasn’t until the next morning that I learned, that indeed, another person did take my place on the summit with the vial of the oil and had poured it out. No ceremony, no fancy declarations. But it had been poured out on the summit.
Then I knew. What the one who stood in for me did had prophetically activated spiritual victories in the magnitude and multitude that only God Himself knows at this time. A mighty Kingdom shift had occurred, way beyond my wildest imagination.
Hmmm. Selah. The One who stood in for me…
The one who stood in for me may not yet even remotely realize what was engaged in his own life, or the multitudes of others, when he, as an act of friendship, simply fulfilled what he knew was so very important to me.
See, he didn’t know until one day before we set out that he would even be on the team. He didn’t know all I had gone through to get there. He didn’t know the passion that burns in me to fulfill what Love asks of me; he didn’t know God’s plans for every person selected on that team or the partners they represented back home.
He didn’t know how very hard it was for me to turn back…and I didn’t know how God would still be able to use me.
He knew simply that this lady he met just five days ago, who is probably older than his own mother, had asked the team to promise to pour out the oil if she didn’t make it all the way.
There Christian stood. He was surrounded by many older, longer-term Christians, even a Pastor, who admittedly didn’t have any unction or clue as to what should be done with that oil.
Yes, that oil, the oil that I sent up to the summit via a guide ~ whom I literally begged to take to the top to my team. That oil was the oil that the older ones said had arrived via the guide, but that they had not known what to do with it. That oil, the oil I wondered what had happened to.
Yes, that oil. The youngest of our team took it and dumped it out on the high places. And then he casually told me so at breakfast the next day…
…as revival began to spread across the continent of Africa like wildfire.
And that, friends, like the resurrection of Christ, on the day we celebrate Resurrection Sunday, at sunrise, was not the rest of the story, but was the beginning of it!
God had told me from the beginning that "This epic journey is about the people along the way."
When I learned who had poured out the oil, everything was suddenly crystal clear. He had not planned in advance to go. But God was holding his spot. He was chosen, just like me, and you, for such a time as this.
When he stepped into the plan, I needed to decrease and he needed to increase. I had prepared the way. I brought the oil. I insisted that we must summit on Easter Sunday morning. Unknowingly, our Team Unstoppable had helped God pass a mantle from one generation to another. Representing our team, I was a type of David, and he, a type of Solomon.
For that one young man along the way, God used an unexpected encounter with my journey to position him to both proclaim and fulfill God’s prophetic Word ~ The Word to bring love, life, and power to a entire continent and a rising up to a new generation of God’s leaders.
For others along the way, we heard that during the climb, children had gotten delivered from drugs; multiple partners were being healed of cancer; marriages of partners were being renewed; relationships were reconciled; traffickers in the slave trade were arrested and precious lives recovered; and many other miracles ~ all because Love asked, "Who will go for us?"
Why did I share all this today? I share this today because we are studying reverence versus resistance.
Sometimes our role is not exactly like we first envision.
To summit is glory. But to submit is greater still.
For some on the team to summit and to submit were one and the same. For some, to summit and to submit were not the same. For me, the instruction changed along the way.
This time it was not John asking Jesus, but Jesus asking me…
Are you the one or should We look for another?
Selah. And we will visit again on this soon!
(And don’t be surprised when you hear Love ask you that very same thing, somewhere along The Way.)