the Winepress

You Have Not Been This Way Before

This is a prophetic word from Anna Piercy, a friend of ours who is a worship leader. It’s Anna who introduced us to the song “Way Maker”, which I shared with the worship team last year.

Today  is my first day out of the house since I began self-isolation. We’re only allowed out for limited reasons, one being exercise so I’m now out walking. I’m walking along the beach in Porthleven, a beach which I have not walked along before. The tide is out so I’m able to walk on the shore, whereas I’ve only ever walked on the coastal path which goes through the village above the beach. It’s much easier, and quicker, walking along that path.

But today I’m seeing things I’ve never seen before. Really big caves; rock formations; steps from the beach up to the village which I didn’t know existed; views of the beach stretching along the coast for miles…. I’m seeing new things.

I’m walking along here for a number of reasons. I’m escaping from being cooped up. I’m needing to see new things after so long of just the same few rooms. I’m out for some exercise. I need fresh air. I need head space. I need new perspectives. New paths provide stimulus for my senses which can easily become dull when I stay in one place too long.

I believe the Lord is taking us as His Body into a time when, out of pressure and limitations on our ‘normality’, we find ourselves with a much more heightened need to choose to get out of the old and experience something different. Pressure has made me take, and appreciate, the opportunity to do something I’ve never done before and walk a way I’ve never gone before. Whereas I’d always taken the easier-on-the-legs option of the path above through the village, today however, after having felt so cooped up, I’m propelled by the need for change onto a new path.

I recognise something of this happening in the spirit too, with what is happening right now. It’s like a prophetic message to the Body of Christ. 

It’s time to take new paths. The way out of the old is to take the path we haven’t been before. And we don’t know what it’s going to look like, but we will see beautiful things along the way which we may have just glossed over for years and missed completely.

It’s time to make new muscles work, walking a path we haven’t gone on before. Just like with all good exercise times, we’re going to feel this! It’s not always going to be as easy as it has been. It’s physically much easier to walk on a road than a beach. But we are going to see new things spiritually when we do, and muscles we’ve left to be lazy are going to get used and strengthened.

Pressure is not always a bad thing. Pressure is used to force impurities out. Pressure can redirect us and reorder our priorities. Suddenly we’re faced with ‘too much’ time, rather than not enough. Pressure exposes what’s really going on in our lives, and in our relationship with the Lord – do I use all my new-found time to be with Him, like I said I would ‘if I just had the time’..?

Pressure propels us out of our comfort zone, and out onto new paths through our days. Pressure sometimes limits comfort, but brings to us what we really need – fun family time; relationship-building time, with God and with family; a detox from commercialism… A path containing all of these will look very different from our normal day to day lives in many cases, but we will see things that have been under our noses for a long time that we have just not seen and completely missed. On this walk along the beach, I am still in Porthleven, I haven’t even left my village. But the experience I’m having is one I have never had before. And it’s enriching me, blessing me, refreshing me, and giving me new perspectives and revelation. I wouldn’t have walked this way if I hadn’t been so desperate to see something new and fresh.

Pressure brings us to have a new set of needs, or at least we understand that apparently we now need different things. These ‘new needs’ however are often themselves less complex, deeper, more honest and foundational to our lives than our former ‘basic needs’ in life. Life has become, in a sense, more ‘raw’ – that is, less seasoned, fancily prepared and impressive to look at. But as everyone knows, food is best for us in its most natural state. Maybe that’s what this new path is offering us. A more nourishing lifestyle, that will rejuvenate us and keep us healthy. We all know how irritating fussy children can be, turning away food that’s the best for them because it’s not salty, sugary or brightly coloured. It’s like the Lord is offering us the things that are best for us now, in their raw form, starting with more time with Him; a chance to come out from false security in ‘things’, into real peace, living hope and personal experience of Him as the Way Maker and Provider that the whole church around the world has been singing about Sunday after Sunday for months on end.

Interesting that that is the song that millions and millions of people say they love and sing in their churches week after week. “Way Maker, Promise Keeper, Miracle Worker, Light in the darkness…” This path is new, and we are to walk it hand in hand with the Way Maker – He actually is the Way Maker, the One who creates the path before us as we go along it step by step. And He actually is the Promise Keeper. When He promises He’ll provide for my needs, He actually will. We have not been this way before, because this path, for such a time as this, has not existed before, and indeed the next steps in many cases still don’t. In the natural. But they do in Him.

We need to let Him burn within us, by new fire of the Holy Spirit, a desire for new things, so strong that it propels us out of the old and leads us to say “Yes I’m coming with You, whatever it looks like, whatever it means! Your works are perfect and all Your ways are just. Please Lord, whatever the cost, I HAVE to leave the old behind. Please, please lead me into the new.”

I took the two pictures of a path I had never been down – and not even noticed although I had driven past it hundreds of times – a day before I received Anna’s word. When I took the picture I had the same verse in my head ; “You have not been this way before.”

The quest for the Presence of God

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