There are times when you are coming out of a season of transition and introspection that you can begin to feel a bit spiritually discombobulated.
Since the start of the New Year, I’ve increasingly been experiencing such a phenomenon. Having released and died out to various concepts/ideals, re-evaluating function and relationships and addressing personal character issues in this particular season of change, I desperately needed things to click and determine how my newfound disposition fit into the grand scheme of things.
First of all, allow me to say that I am extremely thankful for my wife who is incredibly supportive, understands me and is extremely adept in dealing with me through such seasons. You know, it isn’t always easy to live and sojourn through this life with someone like me, especially when you are going through things yourself. Suffice it to say, the girl is a trooper and an astounding encouragement and consolation.
Actually, she was responsible for the idea that would provide me with the solace and direction required for me to put the pieces of the puzzle in place. “You know,” she said, “we haven’t seen the Hubbells in in quite a while.
Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that? I think we all know why! 😏
So, this past Sunday, Misty and I invited Dan and Laurel Hubbell over to our home for some fellowship and lunch. They graciously drove the solid hour from their home in Winnsboro over to Farmersville to see us and our new place. Just the thought of seeing them and being with them started to bring even ncouragement and perspective.
Ultimately, we would wind up spending about seven hours with them during the day and it seemed like only moments. The investment of time and hospitality would prove to be extremely profitable for us as the Hubbells so graciously ministered to us.
Would you like to know what made it so cool?
There was never a time where it was announced that the official “ministry” time began. It just happened. The exchange of Life and Love permeated the day because of the relationship and our love for one another. You may not understand it, or you may, but just seeing them pull into the driveway made my spirit leap and a tear come to my eye. It was such a joy just being with them without any pretense or “putting on” as we used to say in East Texas. The time with them was authentic, genuine and uncontrived; therefore, the conversations and prayers were deeply meaningful and powerful. It was safe for us to be transparent as we shared our lives and expressed concern regarding certain issues, changes and moving forward.
We are blessed to have significant relationships with other brothers and sisters that function in the same manner. Being part of community is an essential part of our lives and we know that we have been blessed astonishingly through being connected. But, you know, every member has their part and their role to play. And this past Sunday, we needed a voice and touch of a loving spiritual father and mother!
Just listening to Dan and Laurel tell stories about other brothers/sisters we mutually know across the planet and how they are faring was incredibly moving. Hearing stories of these precous ones suffering persecution and experiencing near escapes from legal custody for simply living their beliefs suddenly brought things back into perspective for me. Sometimes we canu become so caught up in our own little microcosmic world where we are the center of things that we tend to lose sight of the much larger picture.
Having them share their practical, real life experiences that relate to where we are at the moment brought such encouragement and kindled the embers of our faith to relentlessly trust Father for direction, provision and sustainment. They assured us of His Faithfulness. It isn’t something we questioned but it was definitely good to hear.
Realizing all that Father has them doing at their age in the lives of so many around the globe both humbled and convicted me. Sensing their humility and brokeness in those things that they set their hands to for His Name humbled and convicted me further. You’d never know the Spirit’s reach through them or their sphere of influence. They are so unassuming and unpretentious. I guess you’d have to say….Christ-like.
Oh, man……..then the prayers! Just the tone of the words uttered in a fatherly grace alone made us melt. And, as they prayed, you could feel that they were praying Father’s heart for us. I can’t describe it or how it ministered to us but it was glorious.
And, last, but certainly not least, every hug, kiss and loving expression was rich in healing and potently refreshing. I don’t care if you’re in a charismatic anointing line getting greased up like a pig at the county fair or participating in one of those marathon worship services people seem to crave, there simply is no substitute for the simple act of loving and showing and sharing that love with one another under the direction of the Holy Spirit! HE was in our midst! I sensed Him. I heard Him speak. I know He loves me and I am okay! Peace is an awesome fruit!
Look, I am not simply trying to glorify a man and woman known as Dan and Laurel Hubbell. Nor, am I suggesting that everyone running around talking about and claiming to be a spiritual father is valid. What I am saying is that there are those who happen to JUST EXIST AS spiritual fathers because of their humility under the hand of Almighty God’s dealing with them and their willingness to decrease and allow HIM to increase. Having relationship with such a person or couple, as in this case, can be life changing and invaluable. The value of a spiritual father, in my humble opinion, is immense.
The Apostle John wrote to believers in his first epistle and said: (emphasis mine)
I am writing to you fathers, because you have come to know experientially the One who is from the beginning, and as a present result are possessors of that knowledge. (Wuest Expanded Translation)
First of all, if the Disciple whom Jesus Loved is acknowledging the existence and acumen of such spiritual fathers, it encourages me to do the same. I can honestly testify to the fact that I would more than likely not exist as I do today without the relationship, input and blessing of spiritual fathers. Obviously, I’m not saying that I’ve arrived and that I’m some type of finished product to behold. I’m just incredibly better off from having relationship with such men than if those relationships had not existed.
The knowledge John is referring to that these fathers carry is the knowledge that can only be accrued through experience. Wuest explains in his work Wuest Word Studies that these fathers were the older men, mature in the Christian life, having lived in fellowship with the Lord Jesus for many years, and thus having gained much personal knowledge of Him by experience. This knowledge was a well-rounded, matured knowledge and were the permanent possession of these men grown old in the Christian life.
Now, take that knowledge and pump it through the pipes of an intimate love relationship via shared personal time together………………and you’ve got something of significance! You won’t get that from a well preached Sunday morning sermon, find it reading the latest hot topic book or get it imparted by attending a conference. Such Love and Life can only be obtained through a proper, Christ-ordered relationship. It is the type of knowledge required for growth and maturation and I am blessed to have invested in those types of relationships and received unspeakable blessings from them!
I could go on but I think by now you may get the point. This past season is now beginning to make sense. It was the Loving Hand of Father as expressed through a spiritual father and mother that brought stability and instilled the encouragement to continue on. For such a blessing, I am extremely thankful.
Keep your peace!