From the Archives: An Anthem of His Faithfulness

Every seat in the chapel was filled. The doors on each side stayed open for Michigan’s August breeze to make its way in. I looked for a place to sit and found a spot on the end of a pew. As I sat down, I felt relieved that my husband was keeping the kids so I could have some time to sit and be still. Besides, this was my vacation.

God, I want to hear you tonight, prayedIt’s so hard to hear you when the daily grind can get so noisy.

Sara Groves started playing the piano and singing:

I can’t remember a trial or a pain He did not recycle to bring me gain

I can’t remember one single regret In serving God only, and trusting His hand

All I have need of, His hand will provide

He’s always been faithful to me

I tried to recollect a time when God was unfaithful to me and I simply could not. Even at a point in my life when I chose the temporal pleasures of sin over following Him, He remained faithful- patiently pursuing me and calling me to his side.

And all the needs I have ever had, great or small, he has provided regardless of my worry and doubt.

I thought about the concerns and fears I have with the future and I was comforted that God knew those too, but my uncertainties don’t change the fact of Who He Is. And if I had to follow Him all over again, in the joys and the hardships, I would still surrender my life to Him.

Sara played on and transitioned into the old hymn:

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Morning by morning new mercies I see

All I have needed thy hand hath provided

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me

A man in his 60s stood up as she sang. I imagined his life and the possible trials he’d probably faced. I thought about how he’s further along in the journey than I. Then another person in the distance stood and then another. I got goosebumps. Before I knew it, handfuls of people were standing.

Knots grew tight in my throat. God had been so faithful to me and rarely did I thank Him and stand upon that. I felt such conviction. My pride tried to keep me planted in that hard wooden pew, but I rose to my feet anyway. Tears filled my eyes and I confessed to God where I had fallen short.

God, forgive me for not regularly expressing gratitude to you for all you have done. Change me.

I observed all that was happening around me and soon enough, everyone was standing. Some lifted their hands in humbleness. God’s presence filled the air and it was heavenly and so sweet. It didn’t matter what journey any of us had traveled, this was our anthem together.

An anthem of His faithfulness.

God’s Constant Pursuit

I interviewed an extraordinary guy last night for a potential story in a project we’re doing with Max Lucado. Chris Skinner and his wife Suzie sat down with me for two hours sharing about God’s grace on Chris’ life. In college, after a night of partying with his frat brothers, Chris got in a severe car accident that left him with a broken neck, spinal chord injury, and in a coma for 13 days. He would be a quadriplegic for the rest of his life.

There is no way to do justice to his story in this post, but I left last night amazed at God’s continuous pursuit of Chris. Chris grew up in a Baptist church, God had put several Christians in his path throughout the years, but he never really knew Jesus. Eventually one evening at church through hearing God’s word, he came to the end of himself. He felt a deep remorse for his sin and he repented. He surrendered his life to Christ.

He told his buddies he gave up drinking. One of his roommates, so infuriated, poured vodka down his head. They forsook him, but in the midst of the persecution and pain, he pressed on and followed after God. He started speaking all over the country and sharing his story to help other people. He even got married to a godly woman. Now, in and out of speaking, he’s at Dallas Theological Seminary studying God’s word and raising twins.

As I sat on their couch, I couldn’t help but think of the times in my life when I was in rebellion and sin, but God kept pursuing me. I would willfully disobey God’s word in the evening, and then in the morning I would “do my devotions.” I struggled to love God through obedience and not just words. But eventually, I too, came to the end of myself and surrendered everything to Christ. My struggles didn’t disappear, but I chose to make choices that would help me love God better.

Fast forward to today, and sometimes I take for granted his constant pursuit. While the sins I struggle with are different than what they were 10 years ago, I’m amazed that He has always been there, loving me as his child. Patient in my disobedience. I sense his love today greater than ever before and I just can’t escape it.

To be able to sit down with Chris and Suzie gave me a whole different perspective in how God works in the lives of other people. How he is always on the move to redeem and save what has been lost. My time with them has strengthened my faith and has given me a greater trust in the Lord.

I think when we experience times when our relationship with God is stagnant and we just don’t see him working in our own lives, he gives us the body of Christ to wake us up and to see that God is doing so much more than we could ever imagine.

In what ways do you feel God’s pursuit in your life? Has he used anyone lately to remind you of his love and faithfulness?

2 Things I really want for 2010

I have a few goals I’ve written down for this year. I gave you a little glimpse of them a few posts ago. I’ll write a few I’ve landed on:

1.) Spend more than 20 minutes in the Word daily. 2.) Exercise intensely 3 or more times a week for one hour. 3.) Write book proposal by July 23, then begin process of sending to agents. 4.) Pray for my husband and son daily for God’s will in their life. 5.) And… go see Avatar this week because everybody else is doing it!

I am happy with these goals as I feel they’re realistic for the season I’m in. BUT, something even greater stuck out to me while I was on vacation. A light-bulb turned on as I meditated on this verse:

“Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (Prov. 3:3).

Steadfast love and faithfulness.

I want my life to be marked by these two things  in my relationship with Jesus and to others. And I sense the urgency in this verse to protect these things by binding them around my neck and writing them on my heart.

I think God is really saying something to all of us here. Perhaps that this wisdom can be easily lost and forgotten. I know people who have lost their love and faithfulness to God and it scares me because I’ve seen the devastation of what it can do. I too, have had times where my love for God is not as vast as the ocean like His love is for me. And it’s evident in how I treat others.

Proverbs 3:4 goes on to say, So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”

I definitely want success in my goals for this year. I think we all do. But more importantly, I want the success that comes from loving God and loving His Word.

What about you- Is there anything you really want in your life for 2010?

All Flowers Fade

Flowers fade, as does the glory of man. Within each season, brings unexpected changes, trials, and joys. It has been my prayer that I would wear, within each day, wisdom like a necklace; like a tablet written upon my heart.

Jonathan Edwards said in one of his resolutions: “Resolved, that I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die” (#17). It is appointed once that man will die. In the midst of this ever changing world in which I can barely keep up, I am resolved, like Edwards, to live as Christ would have me live my life. To live without regrets or “what ifs.” By God’s grace alone, I believe this is attainable.

When my flower fades, I long to hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

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