so last night at care group i was freshly reminded of grace… God’s grace to me, an undeserving sinner.
During worship, it seemed each song was a reminder of how faithful God is in the midst of our failures. I had talked with my care group leader, Matt, a while ago about sharing a specific area of my life where God had been at work. But its an area that has been well hidden. its an area that is combined with much shame and fear on my part. Yet, somehow, its an area of my life that God is working to redeem. And though my own sinful desires would rather not share it, I knew last night that God was calling me to. He was calling me to open up and share things I didn’t know how it would be received. And He was calling me to do this and trust in Him to deliver me of fear and shame.
I’m honestly not sure what all I said. What I remember is that after I shared, one of my friends asked if they could pray for me. So, everyone gathered around and prayed that God would work as a result. I was so encouraged, I can’t even begin to put it into words. I am so grateful for the gift that God has given me through my friends at my church. I pray that God would be at work in our group, in allowing us to grow together on a deep level, so that we know no matter what, that God is our hope.
After care group, I can’t tell you the number of people that came and thanked me. So, God is already at work. Somehow through my sin and lack of trust and failure over and over again, HE is receiving much glory. And comforting my heart too.
I was reminded of an amazing passage yesterday… Psalm 78. It talks about the Children of Israel, and just how many times they turned away. But the focus isn’t just there…According to verses 1-7, the story is meant to be told so that people would set their hope in God, not forget His works and so that they would keep His commandments. Its not a story of the Israelite’s failure as much as its a story of God’s faithfulness.
“They forgot His works and the wonders that he has shown them… He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep. He made streams come out of the rock and caused waters to flow down like rivers. Yet they sinned still more against Him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. They tested God in their hearts by demanding food they craved. They spoke against God saying “Can God spread a table in the wilderness? He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed. Can He also give bread or provide meat for His people?” Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of wrath… because they did not believe in God and did not trust His saving power. Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven… he sent them food in abundance…and they ate and were well filled… but while the food was still in their mouths…despite the wonders, they did not believe…
their heart was not steadfast toward him, they were not faithful to his covenant. YET HE, being compassionate atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again. How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert. They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember his power or the day when He redeemed them from the foe…but He led out his people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. He led them in safety so that they were not afraid…Yet they tested and rebelled against the most High God and did not keep his testimonies…but He chose the tribe of Judah… which He loves. He chose David his servant and took Him from the sheepfolds; from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people… With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with His skillful hand.”
I’m so glad my God is faithful. I’m so glad my growth to become more like Him is not dependent on my effort alone. I fail every day. But I’m so glad that my God leads and guides me gently, provides for me in my need and comforts me in my weakness and despair.