I had intended to write a blog post about community this evening. For my community is delightful and last week was full of it, from dinner with a dear friend and her five littles, to a long conversation on the couch with a mentor, to coffee with a sweet girl who is headed off to college shortly. My weekend held time with my mom and a young mama friend of ours, then a grandma friend of ours and her little grandgirls, topped off with a rafting trip down the river with siblings and friends. Deep conversations mixed in throughout, along with laughter and adventure and togetherness. Pouring out and being poured into. Fellowship within the church and also the broader community of believers.
So I was going to write about that. The joys and the challenges and the need for it. But tonight I have different words pressing on my heart.
I’m a ponderer and a writer, a lover of words and beauty and honesty. Community fills up my soul, but today solitude is a gift. I’m housesitting, so I’ve had more time than usual to myself. Tonight, I came home from work, tidied up a few things, wandered around outside, made a lovely dinner and then wondered how I’d created quite so many dishes cooking for one. I’m old-fashioned, so I stood at the sink and gazed out the window and washed each one by hand. The piano beckoned me, so I played and sang for awhile, letting truth set to music wash over me and renew me.
There is much I cannot see in this season, but one thing I know: God is faithful. He has brought me to a place of quiet peace. Earlier this year my heart wrestled with singleness. It’s a journey that requires continual trust, tis true. But God has been gracious to give me rest in the midst of it. He has shown me His hand in ways that make me marvel.
I wonder sometimes why I forget so easily. I can look back and trace His faithfulness; why then I do ever doubt that He will be faithful again?
But perhaps it is the remembering that I miss. I live future-oriented, on the whole. Yet He calls me to remember. And to recount His goodness. There is one incident that quickly comes to mind.
It’s been a few weeks now. I’d had a hard week and prayed that He would end something that was weighing on my heart, but dared to pray that He would show me His glory in the midst of it and reveal Himself to me anew . . . and God, well, God answered my prayer in ways that showed me His lavish love and grace and mercy.
I can’t yet share the story in full, but I will say this: God is faithful and gracious and He delights in giving good gifts to His children.
He brought me to the point of surrender and being willing that it be taken away, so that when He “gave it back” I would respond only in gratefulness. He woke me up to pray and allowed me to see the answer to my prayers almost immediately. I’ve been woken up to pray before, but to see the immediate answer, to know that He really does hear and answer and that when He asks me to pray it’s for a reason . . . He is so gracious.
And then, I dared to pray boldly and specifically over the tiniest details of something I knew was coming. God answered every.single.prayer. He didn’t have to do that. But to see Him answering abundantly above and beyond all I could ask or imagine? When I had expected nothing at all?
The awe of those answered prayers held me for days. To see God’s character revealed like that, to see His tender care for me, to give Him thanks as my heart overflowed . . . God is so very faithful.
But how quickly I forget. How quickly I allow my heart to worry. How quickly I allow hopes to rob me of the joy of today. How quickly I allow earthly desires to overtake heavenly ones.
I don’t want to forget. I want to recount His faithfulness. I want to trust Him with my future and my hopes and my dreams. I want to fix my eyes on Him. I want to let my heart and mind dwell on truth. I want to become radiant as I look to Him.
And I want that for you too. I want you to see His faithfulness. I want you to trust Him with your future and your hopes and your dreams. I want you to fix your eyes on Him. I want you to let your heart and mind dwell on truth. I want you to become radiant as you look to Him.
Perhaps part of that is declaring His faithfulness to each other. Remembering and recounting. Giving thanks to Him, together. Thanking Him for Who He is and also for what He has done.
I spent some time in Psalm 107 not too long ago. I won’t copy it all here . . . but I’d encourage you to go read it in full. I’ve been steeping my soul in Scripture lately, and nothing can quite replace reading the actual Word, rather than what people say about the Word. But, for what it’s worth, here’s a summary, and what God is teaching me through it:
The psalm opens with “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.”
It goes on to tell story after story of the ways that God worked. The various things that led people to finally cry to Him in their trouble, and how time and again, God delivered them. His power and sovereignty are displayed, along with His love and mercy.
There is one phrase that is repeated over and over: “Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!”
Thank Him. For His steadfast love (also translated lovingkindness, but I think “faithful love” might also be an accurate way to put it?), and for His wondrous works.
That means I had best recognize His steadfast love, and His wondrous works. And it says “them”. We’re supposed to do this together. So we’d better “say so” to each other. Tell the stories. See the way that He works. Acknowledge that He is God, and that He delivered us, not we ourselves, and praise Him for it. Publicly.
The psalm ends with the exhortation “Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.”
So, friends, if you’d like to be wise, would you join me in attending to these things, in considering the steadfast love of the Lord? Would you share your stories with me or with the community you’ve been given, recounting His faithfulness?
I’d love to hear. I’d love to praise God with you. Comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org