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Often times the things that are in our hearts are completely out of reach. Where the world’s wisdom tells us how to self medicate and learn to cope with our inability to attain our dreams and desires, God’s Word implores us to engage our faith and see the impossible become reality. However, much like a turtle who is apprehensive to emerge from its shell, we can be afraid to reach for the things God has put in our hearts because of the noise around us or the disappointment within us. God has been speaking to me about this lately and reminded me of the story of the guitar I have and that many of you have seen me play for years. I felt to share it with you today to help build your faith.
I have played guitar since I was 11 years old. I started taking piano lessons when I was 5, but my dad played guitar and I really wanted to be like him. By my mid-teens I had fallen in love with handcrafted acoustic guitars. I had guitar posters on my wall and would mail order custom catalogs to peruse in my spare time. All of these instruments were financially out of my reach and out of the reach of my family. But as the British Poet Robert Browning said “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” I found a local music store in Mobile, AL (where I lived at the time) that sold handmade acoustic guitars just like the ones I dreamed of owning. The owner took a liking to me. He would allow me to sit in the ‘custom guitar room’ for a couple of hours each time I came in and play these 3, 4 and $5,000 instruments. It was one of my favorite things to do at age 17.
Darrell Evans, an emerging songwriter and worship leader had recently moved to our city (1997) and I was a huge fan (he wrote such songs as Trading My Sorrows, Let The River Flow and Your Love Is Extravagant). He had bought a brand new custom Breedlove Guitar but had brought it to my favorite guitar shop to trade it for another. When I saw it, I fell in love. Not only was it made by one of my favorite luthiers, it had been owned by one of my favorite worship leaders and songwriters. My friend who owned the guitar shop took a picture of me holding the guitar (see below) and said I should try and raise some money and buy it. I played at coffee shops from time to time and in a week’s time I had raised about $60 of the $3000 I would need. Not super encouraging. I prayed about it and asked the Lord for a miracle, and then one Sunday Morning the Lord spoke to me and I wrote it down in my journal (see below). God said, “I am going to give you that guitar and you won’t pay one dime for it.” Later than night some friends raised $200 for me at a youth group gathering and implored me to go make a deposit on it the next day until more money came in. I left strait from school that Monday and when I walked in the store the owner said, “I’m so sorry, it sold this morning.” I couldn’t believe it. What about the word from God? What about the money raised? Before I could think I simply said, “Here’s my phone number. That guitar is mine and when it comes back into the shop, call me.” (Read my post on questioning God by clicking here)
Two days later I was stepping up onto the platform to lead worship for our student ministry on a Wednesday night when I noticed all the strings on my current guitar where cut in half. It was time to start and I was dumbfounded. What in the world had happened? A friend called out from the back of the room and said, “Here’s a guitar you can use tonight.” He handed me the guitar that I had felt the Lord tell me was mine. The one that was sold and was supposed to be gone. The one I had laid claim to by faith. I wept. Then I dried my face and we began to worship the Lord together. I still have that guitar and play it almost every day. I have traveled the world with it and recorded over 8 different albums using it. And it was entirely out of my reach.
You see, some friends of mine were so stirred by my faith and my desire to have that guitar that they decided to pool their money and buy it for me without me knowing so they could surprise me. They called the store owner that Monday before I arrived and asked him to pull it off the rack and tell me it was gone. It was gone, but it was being stored up for me for a certain time and I didn’t know it. When the store owner told me it was gone I could have fallen into despair but before I could even catch myself faith burst forth and I laid hold of the impossible. I have never forgotten that story and now, I pray that you won’t either. (Read my post on how going backwards can move you forward by clicking here)
What are you reaching for today? What do you feel God has put in your heart to lay hold of. Hopeless and impossible are the key ingredients to God working a miracle on your behalf. Pick up the dream again regardless of the circumstances. Maybe the miracle has simply been tucked away for the day you decide to not let go of it and apprehend it by faith. Don’t be afraid to reach. Your Father’s hand is closer than you think.
I tell the story of my guitar in this message called ‘Marked By Righteousness’ You can watch it by clicking here.
From the Bible
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. – Hebrews 11:1-2 NIV
For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. – James 2:26 ESV
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.– Romans 5:3-5 NIV
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