Should I Stay or Should I Go
(Seasons of Acceleration and Seasons of Hiding)
“Should I Stay or Should I Go” was the title of a very popular song by “The Clash” in 1981 and it is also a very familiar tune in most of our hearts. (Should I Stay or Should I Go Lyrics, 2012) Because seasons change, there is always a tension within us between staying and going—between “blooming where you’re planted” and “launching out into the deep.” The two quotes below by Dr. Michael Maiden and Bill Johnson illustrate this beautifully:
“Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper” (Ps. 37:3 NLT). When you cannot understand God, trust Him nevertheless. Instead of feverishly trying to figure out what God is doing, simply, calmly, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov 3:5) The reason you are where you are right now is because God has an important assignment, a Kingdom purpose, for you at that location. (Wherever you are located while reading this sentence, God needs you there. At some point He may move you, but He needs you where you are right now!)” (Maiden, 2011)
“Where Did All The Seasons Go…It is the hunger of God’s people that helps accelerate the process of development and growth, and actually speeds up time. It is my conviction that God is trying to get rid of our excuse concerning “seasons.” Many have lived in a spiritual winter for most of their lives and called it Gods dealings. The metaphor of the seasons has become an excuse for moodiness, unbelief, depression, inactivity, and the like. It must end.” (Johnson, 2006)
The answer to the question “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” is a resounding YES! Because seasons change, there is always a time when you are exactly where God wants you to be in order to fulfill His purpose. On the other hand, there will always be a time when the season shifts, and God is calling you to a new arena, or a different, possibly higher level of operation in an existing arena.
You miss God entirely when you “go” at a time when you should “stay” and complete the assignment designated for the season and place that you are in. You also can miss God entirely by trying to “stay” and extend a season for which God’s purpose has already been fulfilled.
In 1 Kings 17:2-9 we get a glimpse into the shift between “stay” and “go” periods in Elijah’s life. In this chapter, we see that new direction from God came very frequently. We see the Lord telling Elijah to go the brook “Cherith” and stay there for a time. Then we see the brook dry up, and God telling him to go to the home of a widow:
And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
When Elijah went into hiding at the brook Cherith it was the right time for him to leave, and when he arrived, it was the right time to stay there. When he went to the widow’s house, it was the right time to go there, too, and to stay until he was directed in the next chapter, to go and confront the 450 prophets of Baal.
Often our staying and going fulfill purpose not just for ourselves but others. When Elijah arrived at the woman’s house, she had given up hope and said, “I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”(1 Kings 17:12) From the story, we know that Elijah not only performed a miracle that kept the woman and her son from starving but he performed another miracle raising her son from the dead after he had stayed at her house “many days.” (1 Kings 17:15)
Often, our motivation to go is based on our sense that we have completed our current assignment, and that we have learned all that we need to learn in that assignment. I believe that some seasons can be accelerated and that in some seasons of preparation God is trying to get us to learn certain lessons, that once learned, shift us into a new season.
If we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit we can identify the lessons He wants us to learn in a particular season. Further, I believe if we humble ourselves and submit to His lead we can learn our lessons faster and graduate sooner to the “Next” season.
We have all heard the phrase “going around the same old mountain.” It refers to our failure to learn lessons. Dr. Mike Freeman says, “every lesson unlearned is repeated.” He also said that God does not operate like some school systems, in that he will not promote us to the next “grade” until we have learned all the lessons for that grade.
Dr. Freeman also had a saying that went something like this, “Don't wait for your ship to come in, swim out to your ship.” Embedded in that saying was this notion that we could accelerate ourselves into a new season. I struggled with this initially, but it's not too different from the very common saying that often “we think we're waiting on God when God is waiting on us.”
It was in Dr. Freeman’s church that I learned the greatest lessons on sowing seed and reaping a harvest. I can see now that if I had resisted his teachings on giving, and resisted his prompting that stretched us to give at greater and greater levels, that I would not have experienced the financial miracles that I have experienced up to this point in my life.
Through Dr. Mike Freeman God answered my prayer about learning how to handle my finances. God was ready for me to learn these lessons as part of His plan for me to be a channel of His resources on Earth. However, if I had not been willing to learn the lessons and apply them, I would have delayed my season and my entry to the level of giving that I operate in now.
In fact, when God first challenged me in my finances, through Dr. Mike’s “$1,000 seed challenge,” I failed the test. I was so offended that a pastor would ask me for $1,000 that I left the church and vowed never to return. I was gone for an entire a year. In that year I learned nothing as it pertains to kingdom principles related to finance. When I cried out again to God about my finances, He told me to go back to Dr. Mike’s church. The day I walked back into service Dr. Mike was preaching on being “A Man of Impeccable Financial Integrity.” I had chosen “go” when I should have chosen “stay.” It was one of the greatest regrets of that season. There was so much I could have learned sooner and so much I could have experienced sooner. God, in His mercy, helped me to make up a lot of the ground I lost due to a wrong “go” decision, but some of the negative things I experienced were not part of His design for that season in my life.
Bill Johnson has an excellent chapter on the subject of acceleration in his book “Dreaming With God.” I really can't do justice to it, so I recommend that you just pick it up.
As much as I believe in acceleration, I also believe that there are times when you have learned the lessons you need to learn to operate at the next level, but God is not ready for you to move. Dr. Michael Maiden recently preached on what he calls a season of “hiding.” According to Dr. Maiden, in this type of preparation season “God has hidden you only to reveal you” at the perfect time.
David and Moses come to mind when I think of being hidden by God. David was God’s secret weapon being forged in the pastures with the sheep, where no one could see. He learned fearlessness in combat by training against a lion and a bear. He learned to play the lyre skillfully as an act of worship. He would later use this weapon skillfully in ministry in the presence of King Saul, giving Saul relief from tormenting evil spirits. (1 Kings 16:14-16) At God’s appointed time, David, God’s champion, was revealed to defeat Goliath, the enemy’s champion.
The following excerpts from a recent Dr. Maiden sermon highlight how Moses was hidden only to be revealed later to serve God’s purpose:
HIDDEN in the House of slave parents was God’s greatest CHAMPION who eventually lead a nation out of slavery.
HIDDEN in the House of Pharaoh was the very hero that would bring down the House of Pharaoh.
HIDDEN for 40 years in the backside of the DESERT was the DELIVERER OF A NATION.
(Maiden D. M., 2018)
Moses and David were both secrets hidden away by God, prepared for just the right moment to be revealed. Who would expect a shepherd boy with a stone to slay the leader of the Philistine Army? Who would expect an 80-year old shepherd, armed only with a staff, to defeat the army of the mightiest nation on Earth at that time? God’s preparation for both men was completed out of view, and then God thrust them onto the scene. After their seasons of hiding, God brought them into a season of acceleration.
The Holy Spirit told me that seasons of acceleration and seasons of hiding often go together. After God has prepared you in secret, he reveals you as the answer to a particular need in a season, seemingly out of nowhere. Over 20 years ago I remember a pastor commenting on the ministry of T.D. Jakes. He talked about how God had him hidden, ministering in a small church in West Virginia, and then seemingly out of nowhere, he was thrust onto the national scene. T.D. Jakes’s ministry exploded with tremendous impact with “Woman Thou Art Loosed” and “Manpower” men’s meetings and the successful start of the Potter’s House church. (Religion Makers Bishop T.D. Jakes, 2010)
If you are in a season of hiding, the stories of David of Moses and David should give you hope! Be encouraged that God has not forgotten about you. He sees that you are ready for more. Continue to be faithful in what he has given you, knowing that He is about to reveal you, accelerate you onto the scene, deploy you as the secret weapon that He has been fashioning without the enemy’s knowledge.
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