There are two authors and speakers that God has graciously used to bless me and teach me over the past weeks. One is Bob Sorge and the other is Francis Frangipane.
Early on when the pain and confusion was most intense I found a sermon titled “Falling Forward” preached by Francis Frangipane on YouTube. I probably listened to it four times. It deeply touched me and gave me a helpful and desperately needed context to weep before the Lord. It also exposed me to the beauty and promise of Psalm 84:5-7, a section of Scripture I never saw before– but shall now carry within my heart till the day I die. I have typed out the most helpful parts and only slightly changed some of the grammar and word order.
“Falling Forward” a sermon preached by Francis Frangipane
(click here to hear)
“When things aren’t going your way and the Lord is working to break you, if you resist the breaking, you prolong the process. You prolong the process by just not allowing yourself to be broken. How do you know you’re not broken? You have to go through it again. And as we go through it, if we keep hardening our heart, it takes longer and longer. You see God is after the soft dimensions of our heart to be released.
In every difficulty there is the opportunity to allow it to soften us. If we go through difficult things and it actually hardens us, then we need to beware. Friends, this is not a minor issue—please listen to me. Many Christian go through difficult things and instead of passing through it and becoming broken and soft, they become hard and cynical. A huge percentage of American of Americans say they believe in God, but they aren’t in church. Why? Because they went through some difficult thing, and instead of softening their hearts, they hardened their hearts.
Jesus told a parable in Matthew 13 about the end of the age in which he spoke about the tares and the wheat. The thing about the tares and the wheat is they look the same. They have the same coloring and the same blade structure. In fact you can’t tell the difference between the tares and the wheat—except at harvest time. When the grain grows at harvest time the head of the wheat begins to bow from the weight. But the darnel, or tares, is still standing straight up and stiff. It is pointing straight up—it cannot bow. It can’t go through difficulty and “bow” on the other side.
Do you understand what I am saying? We are all going to go through something unpleasant, and how you go through it, what happens to you on the inside, is critical. You either allow it to break you, to relax you on the inside in the destiny God has, or you become hardened and embittered. It is God’s desire that you allow the breaking to do its work so that Christ can come out of you. You might ask, “How does Christ come out?” He comes out in many ways, such as forgiving the one that perhaps God used to break you.
The only way you can really prove that you are wheat is to not worry about the tares, but instead simply make sure you are growing as wheat. It is inescapable that sometime during your life you are going to grow side by side with someone who does not have a sense of love, does not have a sense of timing, does not have a sense of compassion and does not have a sense of what is truly going on inside of you. They may hurt you or offend you in some way, but you cannot say, “Well they are a tare!” I will tell you what the wheat does—the wheat prays for the darnel. The wheat prays for the tares. In contrast the darnel judges the wheat and other tares.
The truth is we have Christ. We don’t need to try and be holy, we are holy—if in fact Christ is in us. If we really want Christ to come out through us, then He comes out forgiving, He comes out praying, He comes out blessing those who curse us and He comes out going extra miles. He seeks to come out in the very context of our conflict so we can survive that conflict. And that’s how you know you are wheat in the process of life.
In the expanding of your destiny in God you will go through breakings, and how you relate to the breaking is critical. If you still have in your mind what so-and-so did to you 2, 6, 10 years ago, you are in jeopardy of becoming darnel—a tare. If you have not forgiven your way out of that “thing” then you need to examine whether you are moving as wheat or developing a tare-like nature. The darnel can look just like wheat. It can go to church, it can go through all the motions, but it does not have the character of the life of Christ at the center. You know it’s the life of Christ because in the breaking time Christ comes out. What you bleed when your cut determines what’s inside of you. And so we need the failure, we need the difficulty and we need the conflict so that Christ can emerge in that area.
Look again at Psalm 84:5 “How blessed is the man whose strength is in thee.” Note it does not say “whose strength is in himself.” We all have an innate strength within us, where we rely on our abilities to promote and make something happen. But in this passage the Psalmist is saying, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in God—whose strength is not centered in themselves.” In other words it is God who makes happen for them all the things that need to happen. God goes before them and prepares the way. God does what only God can do and we discover the strength of God is supplying what we can’t get within ourselves.
The Psalmist continues, “How blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, in whose heart are highways to Zion. Passing through the valley of Baca, they make it a spring…” (Ps. 84:5-6). You will see in your margins the word, “Baca” means “weeping.” So the Psalmist is saying, “Passing through the valley of weeping, they make it a spring.”
Everyone has a valley of weeping. Some of us have more than one—there are many valleys of weeping that we must pass through. But if your strength is in the Lord, not yourself, and you have gone through the breaking of your outer nature and now realize your strength is in God who loves you, then the tears from your weeping—which were as bitter as salt water— become something to drink. They become a spring, something that refreshes you! You see, the things you go through when God is breaking you can become the very things that refresh you later on in your spiritual journey.
The Psalmist says, “Blessed is the man”—happy is the man, indwelt by God is the man, to be envied is the man—“in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” You see it is Christ’s heart that is the highway to Zion. The person of Christ, the seed of inner life whom you received when you said, “I take you into my life” is the blueprint and pattern that will continue to unfold, grow and emerge throughout all of our lives.
It is “Christ in you” and therefore to give yourself always over to Jesus in every single conflict enables you to come out on the other side and “go from strength to strength…appearing before God in Zion” (v 7). That is what God is after when we go through these breakings. Failure becomes our friend, because the breaking produces an end to the old way of us—and the beginning of a new way in Him.
No one is super-natural, we are all only average. We are all going to make mistakes. We are all going to fail. But with God none of those things become limitations, because we are told “God chooses the weak things.” The only thing we need to do is not remain stiff—not remain unbending. Allow Christ to emerge. “Passing through the valley of weeping, they make it a spring.” Brothers and sisters there is something to drink in your tears that you’re going to need later on in life. They will become something you will be able to fill your canteen with, and it will give you life and refreshing later on.
Lastly when the Psalmist says, “Everyone appears before God in Zion” he is not talking about landing up in heaven one day and appearing before God in Zion. He is saying, “Right now in your context, in the life you are now living, in the failure you just experienced, in losing your job, in going through whatever conflict you are currently going through, you can appear before God. God is looking—He is watching—and He knows the battle you are going through. And He has allowed that battle to give you the opportunity to be broken—but even greater—to give Christ the opportunity to emerge.” – Francis Frangipane in a sermon titled “Falling Forward.”