Refuge in the Secret Place

Refuge in the Secret Place: Stephen Gray

PAIN OF A DESPERATE GROWING HUNGER   Still in the magnificent service of the Lord, I find myself in pain. For eight years I have been coming to Africa and God has been powerfully moving and pouring out what can only be described as a dramatic revelation of Himself. This year I have a growing sense of an increasing unsatisfied hunger in my heart for the consistent fullness of God. It may be intercession, it may be something God is doing in me, or it may be both.   I know it is dangerous to always desire to live in mountaintop revival experiences. It must be like a climber who ascends some high unreachable peak and then desires the thrill and excitement again and again. My problem is too many mountaintop visitations of God have ruined me. I somehow find myself with a desperate growing hunger for God and a deep burden for His people to hunger for Him that is becoming painful.   A LOVE WORTH DYING FOR   The last few days I have tried to get rid of this feeling and wondered what was wrong. How and when this happened is perhaps an irrelevant question. It HAS happened. God has done something to me that I doubt can ever be reversed. There is such dissatisfaction with the normal Christian life as most know it and a terrible desire to walk in an increasing fullness of God. If this is God’s doing then somehow He must be planning to bring a mighty divine visitation to a wider part of the body of Christ to satisfy such hunger.   Recently, the Lord asked me if I would be willing to die so that others could experience a greater fullness of Him. I knew He was not talking only about salvation but a first love relationship that salvation is meant to bring us into.   PASSION FOR RELATIONSHIP VS. PASSION FOR NUMBERS   Paul mentions this in 2 Thessalonians 2:14: “But through the Gospel that you might share in the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.” The glory in this context refers to the nature of Christ that allows you to have greater intimacy with God. The Bible says God created us to be formed into His image. The Gospel is the door to that process of knowing God. Many have a passion for souls to be saved from hell — but few have a passion for those souls to go on to walk in a passionate first love relationship with Jesus.   We see this in Africa as so many are focused on the numbers of souls they can win to Christ rather than spending time with a few so they can grow and deepen their walk with Christ. Most large crusades or outreaches produce less than 2% committed Christians. These are not my facts; this is what the African pastors tell me. It is also why Paul focused on planting churches and not large crusades. This is why Jesus spent most of His time ministering to only 12 men. I am not saying large outreaches are wrong — only when they become the main focus of ministries.   I have come to realize that I cannot tell, teach or make others fall in love with the Lord. I must walk in Christ’s fullness and pay the price to sustain it so that others might see my hunger and desire for Him. It seems to be my only chance at easing this pain. I’m sure there are others who find themselves on this road. I sure hope so, for it is desperately needed in the Kingdom of God. It is the change God is now bringing to His people — a great awakening of hardened hearts.   REFUGE IN THE SECRET PLACE   The Lord has shown me there is a special place of retreat or refuge where the pain or hunger subsides and can be temporarily laid aside. It is in His Secret Place. Psalm 91 says it must be our dwelling place. (I like the Hebrew word for “dwelling.” It means to be married to.) To be in the dwelling place means to remain in God’s presence. It is to run and experience life at the summit.   It IS possible to sustain, although our western lifestyles make it difficult. It has changed my focus on teaching and discipling so that others can know such a place exists. I asked the Father, “Have I crossed over a line of obsession?”   He lovingly tells me, “No my son, you are merely following Jesus who abides in My secret place.”   THE COST OF BECOMING RUINED   It is, I believe, impossible to understand the cost before you climb such a mountain. It is only after the journey that you understand the true cost. Of course then it is too late because you have already paid the price and been changed by the experience! Once you are ruined by such a God experience you begin to understand the cost of encounters with Him.   Paul understood this, so did Jacob, Abraham, Moses and many others. It is a journey of death to lose everything. I suppose there is solace in the fact that it is His will to ruin us all. He so desires us to be near Him and leave the cares of this world. Some would now argue that balance is the key — and I was one of those. But I have now come to a place where I must throw caution to the wind and plunge ahead into the depths of this journey to the fullness of God and leave the world behind. I am more comfortable at God’s summit than down in the valley of the world.   One scripture of great counsel to me is the cry of King David at the end of his life in Psalm 27:4. “One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple.” That lonely cry from David’s heart declares there is only one thing that matters in life — to be with Him.   My battle is to keep the frustrations and desires of this world and work clearly in His capable hands. To free body, mind and heart so it can gaze only on Him.   LOSING MYSELF IN HIS PRESENCE   We begin to understand the burden we carry as we see our Lord who, when transfigured before His disciples, then led them down to minister to a dying and hungry world. It is when our hunger comes for others to experience the fullness of God that we must understand the Father has filled us with His pain of longing for intimacy with His children. How He must hurt with desire for us!   It is only in the Secret Place that we are comforted from these burdens. It is also important to allow that burden to remain the Father’s. Our call is one of worship and obedience to dwell in the presence of the burden bearer, Jesus Christ.   Still, there is the pain and burden as people turn away or settle for less of Him. That pain is just part of the price; to carry the fullness in a world that does not see its merit. A pain that once it is given, must always be carried — except for those times of refuge when you run to dwell in His secret place.   In His Secret Place, Stephen Gray Tanzania

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