“I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 9:1
How often to you stop and give thanks to God for what he has done? Do you live in the awareness of the wonderful things the Lord has done? What does that produce in your life?
Just this last week I found myself in a particularly low place. It has been a long season with little rest and full of conflict and challenges at Mars Hill Portland. There has been consistent media attention, vandalism of our building, and the neverending work of a church plant with only two pastors to carry the load. I’m tired, and there’s no denying that fact. Heading into this past Sunday, to be honest, I just wanted to stay in bed. I prayed on Saturday night for the strength to just “get through” the next couple of weeks until I can take some vacation. However, God had a different plan for that Sunday.
The next day God broke through my fatigue in a major way. Pastor Mark was preaching on new life in Jesus, and we opened it up for baptisms. We had one baptism scheduled for each of our two services but by the end of our morning 11 people had been baptized! One baptee, whom I have never met or heard his story before, told of how he became a Christian at our Good Friday service after never having touched a Bible in his life. Another told of how the gospel had become real to him in the recent month and how he had to be baptized even though he hadn’t planned to. Yet another guy refused to accept our change of clothes, but ran down the aisle and got dunked, still wearing his shoes.
I want to challenge you like God challenged me: look up, look around, see all that God is doing, give thanks with your whole heart.
I was leading the music as I often do on Sundays but I had to fight through tears to keep singing. The truth was so clear to me: God is not limited by my feelings of tiredness or my desire to take a break. He is moving in so many peoples’ lives—more than I could ever know. He is building his church for his glory and I am privileged to be a part of it. As I praised God for what he was doing it didn’t change the fact that I’m tired and I need a break. However, it did change my reclusive heart. I came in that morning hoping to just “get through the day.” I left praising God for being able to play a small part in his epic story as it unfolds at Mars Hill Portland.
I can’t help but believe that you might feel the same way at times or even today. Do you miss what God is doing because you are so focused on your immediate, personal, temporary circumstances? I want to challenge you like God challenged me: look up, look around, see all that God is doing, give thanks with your whole heart. He’s doing far more than you realize and as you catch a glimpse of it your whole world will look different.