I had a good day yesterday. The day before pretty much sucked.
Yesterday ended with worship, standing strong, knowing the goodness of God and His faithfulness to me.
The day before, I just felt so lost.
Paul said it a great way, ” 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3)
“Forgetting what is behind..”
I had a bad day. Forget it.
I had a good day. Forget it.
Do you know what I have right now? I have one day, one moment. The moment I am living in right this second. I can become discouraged my the days and moments I’ve lost in this war. I can become conceited, self-confident because of the moments I’ve won. I have only this moment right now.
What will I do with it?
That’s the big question isn’t it. What will I do with each moment that God gives me? Because, in case you didn’t know, if you aren’t dead, God hasn’t given up on you.
And, I’ll let you in on a secret religion keeps from you.
God is excited about the time you have left. He can see what a life lived for Him will be like. He already knows the joy that can be yours as you give Him each moment, as you live each second seeking His face, wanting to spend one more minute with Him. He can’t wait to spend a day with you.
He’s not concerned with what happened to you, how you failed, the weights that you carry. He’s just ecstatic that you have stopped long enough to listen, to hope that He is there, to believe that He loves you.
See, it’s in that moment that He comes rushing in. It’s in the moment that we give to Him that we find Him.
A simple request. “Could you get me some cold water?”
And I heard the voice of God!
I practice and sing. I want to be “good”, whatever that means. Excellence is a core value for our church, and for me personally. I know that I’m not that good. I have seen to many excellent musicians, doing amazing things, to ever think that I am even in their league. But I still push myself. At fifty-one years, having played for almost thirty-seven of those years, I still want to get better, faster, more confidant, more artistic.
But one thing is blatantly revealed in my playing, I am inadequate.
This may sound like self-pity or a need for encouragement. It may sound like self-deprecation or humility. It is not.
I have so much fun playing. There are few things that sadden me more than not playing music. There are only a couple that I ask God not to take from me. One of those things is music, as realistically limited as my skills are, it is something so deep within me that to remove it would kill me.
So what does God want with me, my skills, my passions, my heart and soul? What does the Creator of the universe, the one who put me together, planned me from the beginning of time, fashioned me through physical attributes and the molding of time and experience, what does He want from me?
“Could I have some cold water please?”
Cold water in a glass on a hot summer evening. Cold water splashed in my face in the early morning. Cold water lapping at my toes as I walk the beaches of Lake Michigan. Cold water pouring over my body in the middle of winter. A cold shower, an ice pack, snow falling softly in the middle of the woods or coming in blizzards that blanket our roads, our houses.
Cold water can come in many different forms. Is that what You call me to? To be refreshing, awakening, calming, shocking, healing, quieting, covering….
Mark 5 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”
How long have you been doing what you do? How long have you been serving? Have you seen ANY fruit? Have you seen any break-through?
If we honestly look at our lives, we see glimpses, we see times where God has moved. But it can often feel so small, so infrequent. It may seem that we’ve, “toiled all night and took nothing.”
Have you cried out to God and just don’t hear His voice? You’ve prayed and prayed and not seen an answer or even been told, “no.”
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
This weekend I heard God speaking, not audibly, but deep in my heart.
“Let your nets down again. Don’t give up. I’m here. I’m working. Trust me. You’ll see.”
I may not SEE my nets full. I may not KNOW what God has done.
I have heard so many responses from people hearing my pain that I feel like I have to say something.
I have had pain in my life. Not everything has been easy, comfortable, fun. THANK YOU, GOD!
To my parents (who read this): you weren’t perfect. Shocker! Let me start with you. Do you know that I watched you having devotions every morning? In your failures, you sought God, you prayed. You stayed in pursuit of God, even when you weren’t perfect. That is a gift. You read stories to me of Jesus. You had me practice. You were faithful, through the storms. You had me read, a lot. You made me go to church, to youth group, to missionary meetings, where I could see a real God at work. Do I wish you would have behaved better? Yep! Probably about the same way my kids want me to behave better.
Now for the rest of you: I get to play music. I have people from multiple places around the world who listen to me and what I write. These two things just blow my mind. Totally unworthy, but there it is. This past Sunday, I got to watch as 5 and 6 year old children raised their hands in worship. Tonight, I play bass for our youth group and stand in awe of a God who is changing a generation. I wouldn’t trade my life, my pain for anything. GOD IS GOOD!
I share my doubts and struggles because they are voices that have ruled my life for many years. I share my pain because I know that others are walking with me. But those voices aren’t the only ones I hear and we are stronger as we walk together.
Please don’t feel bad for me, ever, for what I’ve been through. Share your stories with me. I bet we’ll find similarities.
And, I bet, if we look at Jesus and listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice in our lives, we’ll see what satan meant for evil, God meant for good.