Typically, when I’m watching the kids during the sermon, I feel like I’m missing what God has to say to me, and miss altogether that His will for me that day is to use what He’s been teaching me and serve the children with joy. Talk about application – serving seventeen 1-3 year olds with joy when 5 of them won’t stop crying is a challenging day even for the most experienced person!
Arriving at church in the middle of a “discussion” (christian term for “fight”) is a difficult way to start any Sunday morning. And knowing that my sin of laziness and pride (no concern for other’s time schedules thereby causing us to be late) was the reason that the “discussion” began anyway is not only a difficult, but also a humbling way to start the day.
But God graciously gave us the grace to work through it and prepare our hearts for worship and service, strategically using that fight to humble me and once again point me to my utter desperate need for Him and His power to work in me. I prayed before the service specifically that His power would work in and through me and that I would rejoice in Him and His work.
Danger Will Robinson – pray for God’s power to overwhelm you, and *surprise* what an ovewhelming glimpse I saw in the following 45 minutes.
When worship began, God impressed on my heart to pray for the Minards. Chris has been suffering now for a while with physical problems that seem to have no cause or cure. While singing songs about God’s faithfulness through trials, my prayer the entire time was for God’s healing hand to touch this fellow servant and friend. This family has portrayed God’s power with excellence throughout this ordeal – trusting God to be bigger and greater than this “light and temporary affliction” that has radically altered their lives.
Three songs into the set, Jim took a break to allow time for us to pray for those in our midst who were hurting. Chris, always looking to serve, ran immediately to pray with someone else. What humility and grace is at work in his life!
As I was praying with Ann I was struck with what an honor it is to bear up together with this family and carry their burdens to the Mercy Seat, approaching a compassionate Savior who delights in His children asking Him for more grace and mercy. So, in faith, with heavy hearts but trusting in a powerful Savior, we pleaded. We asked not only specifically for healing, but also for more grace and mercy from a God that abundanty lavishes help on the needy.
No sonner than I returned to my seat, we began to sing “It is Well.” God reminded me of a time when Heidi had shared a testimony about how God had brought sweet freedom and joy through the 3rd verse of this song (“…my sin, not in part but the whole was nailed to the cross and I bear it no more…”). I felt compelled to go remind her of that hope – to remind her of that forgiveness that is true not only for our justification, but that is powerfully working now through our struggles of sanctification.
I fought for the first verse and 1/2 of the song – after all, I had just walked all the way across the room to pray with Ann. I didn’t want to be a “distraction” to anyone by walking out again (I was sitting in the front row on the other side of the room from both Ann and Heidi). The biblical category for this would be arrogant pride (I know better than the Holy Spirit’s urging) and the fear of man (what will they think!?)
The thought became more urgent as the song progressed, as the Holy Spirit was working in my heart to once again, go and pray with a fellow believer. So, I repented of my sin and followed His leading. I simply gave her a hug and reminded her “the hope from that day (when she first understood those words) is true for today, for right now too.” She broke down in tears and began sharing with me that she was discouraged and very overwhelmed right now and that she really needed to be reminded of that truth. As I walked back to my seat, having left her – arm around her husband – in a puddle of tears, I was again, rejoicing in the overwhelming power of God.
At another point in the set, we sang “What a Savior.” I don’t think I have ever heard (or sung) the words “full atonement, can it be?” with such excitement, hope and joy. What a glorious sound! How I’m grateful to be a part of my church body. How I’m amazed that God can work through my life to bring greater glory to Him!
I’m more aware today than I was yesterday of the truth of the words “What a Savior!” I pray that tomorrow I wake up saying the same thing.