“Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is good
His love endures forever.”
This morning, my devotional challenged me to “Draw from your life experience, and write your own Psalm 136 by replacing the first line of each verse with an event from your own life.” Usually, I would skip a spiritual exercise like this and move onto the “real stuff” like reading a Hebrews commentary and writing a devotional blog.
However, this morning that struck a chord with me–perhaps because my Hebrews commentary had also said “God’s generosity lures us to prayer…for as we praise in prayer we are encouraged in [asking], for we realize as we rehearse God’s record that we are coming to a faithful God. Praise then becomes the basis of confidence.”
So when I saw the spiritual exercise, and read the opening lines of Psalm 136, I noticed God’s design for my day. He was luring me into His presence.
So I began the task of reviewing my life stage by stage and completing each line with “His love endures forever.”
As I journeyed through the 36 years of life, I noticed something about God and how the Bible has failed me up to this point.
I figured my “praise” report would be filled with dynamic, ecstatic, big God moments…something like–Oh Lord, I Giveth Thou All the Praises for Thou Art the One…
- who spoke audibly from the heavens the name of the woman I would marry–His love endures forever.
- who healed my cancer and left the doctors baffled–His love endures forever.
- who called forth hundreds of mighty warriors to start a church–His love endures forever.
But that is not what began to flow from my lips. They were small stories that would mean little to anyone else:
- The God who used a friend from high school to suggest I check out Young Life ministry…thereby opening up my path to a deeper relationship with Him.
- The God who used dialup internet to draw Lindsay and me to Warehouse242’s first worship service…thereby opening up my path into ministry.
- The God who used my vanity of profusely sweating to schedule a doctor’s appointment where my skin cancer was revealed…thereby healing me early and fully.
- The God who denied my dreams of a church plant in Denver and another perfect church…thereby allowing me to be open to ministry in Charlotte.
- The God who honored our dreams of two pregnancies…but kept His objective of our “quiverfull” family of six.
- The God who had me arrive at a workout and Bible study to meet a man in camo pants…thereby inducting me into the life changing aspects of F3.
- The God who had initiated Waypoint by a text message from an old friend…
As I went through the different stages of life, I noticed that God’s enduring love were small, daily provisions to this journey called life. They were conversations, meals, chance encounters, times where I took the initiative and times where I paused.
Unfortunately, I had been reading the Bible from the perspective of God’s work through Epic Encounters: Paul’s blinding experience on the road to Damascus; The two disciples’ astonishing walk with Jesus on the road to Emmaus; Peter’s miraculous catch of 153 fish-not to mention his walking on water; The Israelites crossing the Red Sea; Noah sailing over a flooded earth; The blind man, the leper, the bleeding woman…they all seemed to have these epic and transformative encounters with the living God. That is what I thought would count in my praise report.
How the Bible had failed me–or more appropriately, how I had failed to read the Bible–was to understand that Scripture doesn’t capture all of the story because all of those epic encounters started with small, imperceivable moments and movements.
Noah’s adventure began when a single rain drop started to fall.
The road to Emmaus started when two friends said, “let’s take a walk.”
Peter’s catch of fish began when he thought, “I’m bored, let’s go fishing.”
As I sought to praise God for his enduring love this morning, I discovered it was in the small moments and movements that He began his transformative work.
Are you seeing God at work in those smaller moments and movements in your life?