Father, I thank You for Your presence in my life.
I’m always aware of Your presence, but this past week I sensed even more of You than I thought possible. You never left my side, did You? You were there, with me, giving me the strength, courage, and conviction to do some things that I didn’t really want to do, to say some things that I really didn’t want to say, and to keep going when I wanted to quit.
I knew that You were there with me, and it was Your nearness that helped me to remain steadfast in my walk, to measure my words, and to do things in the manner in which You would want them to be done.
I know that there are times when I take Your presence for granted, and I’m truly sorry for that. Sometimes, when my life is on cruise control, I forget that it is You doing the driving, and not me. This week, I was more than happy to let You take the wheel, and very grateful that You did.
I went to church this morning, grateful that I had gotten through the week, and eager to start a new one by seeking the comfort of being in Your “house” with Jackie, our friends, and fellow Christians.
The plan was for me to put things in place for the first service at 9:30, leave and meet Jackie and some of our friends for breakfast, then return to church for the 11:15 service.
Well, You had other plans for me, didn’t You?
There had been a mix-up, and the couple that had offered to help at the 9:30 service didn’t show up, so I had to call Jackie and tell her to go on without me. Disappointed, yet determined to serve You, I put on the best smile that I could to welcome visitors into our church. I was reminded of my life just a few short years ago, when I had to put on a mask of happiness every day in order to welcome people in my business. But this time it was different; this time, the smile was real, in spite of the disappointment that was on my heart.
And I was thinking, “Why is this happening today? All I wanted to do was to go to breakfast with Jackie, and then go to church. Was that too much to ask for?”
You knew what You were doing, didn’t You? You were setting the table for me….
Opting to sit outside the church in a “funk”, rather than attending the service, I pulled out my i-phone and decided to check my e-mails. I had received a message from my good friend Susie on Thursday, but hadn’t taken the time to read it.
Her message was about trials and tribulations, and knowing that You will always be there to protect us, if we will put our complete faith in You. That You will always be with us. That You will lead us through trying times so that we may serve as a witness to others as to what You have done.
While Susie’s e-mail made me feel better, I still wasn’t really happy with the way the morning had played out.
You were setting the table for me…
Jackie and our friends finally made it to church, and we took a seat right up near the front, which is where I always like to sit. This morning, though, I really didn’t care where I sat. I was ready to go home.
The worship portion of the service began, and I sang the songs with all that was in me, but I believe it was more of releasing what was bottled up inside rather than praising You. As I sang, I could feel the tension melting away. But it was still there.
Pastor Chris began his message. It was the second part of a series titled My Best Friend, and it was about You, the Holy Spirit. As he spoke about You, and what we receive when we welcome You into our lives and into our hearts, an amazing thing happened.
I found myself reflecting on the day that I made a commitment to be one of Your soldiers, and to take Your message to whoever would listen. On that day I vowed to stand up for You, to fight for You, and to shine for You. And since that day, I have done everything in that is in me to live up to that vow.
Today, sitting in church, almost four years after I made that commitment to You, I realized that I had never surrendered myself to You, and to Your will, and to Your plan for me. With tears streaming down my face, I found myself letting go of my plans for what I was going to do for You…
How ironic is it that a soldier would find peace in surrender?
Father God, I completely surrender my life to You. I ask You to use me in whatever way You see fit. I ask to filled by Your Spirit daily, and ask You to release Your Spirit in me, so that I may truly be a light that shines for You. May I never question Your plans for me, or the how, the why, and the what You want me to do for You. I seek only to serve You, and to make You happy. I will use all the gifts that You have given me to give glory and praise to You. I ask You for the strength and wisdom to carry out Your plans for me. I am grateful that I am your son, and that You are my Father. In the name of Jesus, I offer this prayer to You.