Have you ever had one of those days that was just so good and sweet that things are happening in your church and the people around you and you’re not even sure how? It never seems to fail that after an amazing day, where God is undeniably moving, that a down day is coming like a sugar crash after a cake and ice cream birthday party.
I had one of those days yesterday, a really good one. I was a little stressed out because we had three core families out of town and another one out sick, so I had to lead worship and preach. I’d been there before. That was the norm for the first couple years of my pastorate, but it’s been a while since those days, and yesterday we had a baptism (my seven year old daughter) and were observing communion too … then a memorial service that afternoon. In spite of all my fret, God moved — as he so often does. Everything went really well and he carried me in my lack. Not only was there good feedback from the message (you know what I mean by “good feedback,” right? Not just “good sermon,” but actual, thoughtful feedback), but there was immediate action steps by a member of our congregation as he offered himself as a help and servant to those in need right then and there. Then, at the memorial, I only had a moment to say a few words and offer the opening prayer, but people were deeply touched by God’s word and it inspired some really good conversation with several of the guests. It was a pretty amazing day of ministry, affirmation, encouragement, and worship. God is so good!
Today … today is different. God is still good! That never changes. I, however, am having one of those days where I just want to crawl inside myself. The enemy’s voice is hounding me and discouragement is pounding on the door and fiddling with the lock. Yesterday was so sweet, and now the sugar crash. I don’t believe that this is unchristian at all. Look at Elijah, after his amazing confrontation with the prophets of Baal and praying for rain. He winds up on the run, alone, utterly discouraged, and in desperate need of encouragement from God. He didn’t hold back either. When God spoke to Elijah, he poured out his heart and shared his hurts and fears. And God graciously encouraged and nourished him, giving him exactly what he needed.
We too need to take our feelings to God. We can be discouraged before God. We can be tired before God. We can be frustrated and irritated before God. The key, is the “before God” part. Read through the Psalms. David, the “man after God’s own heart,” shared some pretty dark feelings with God. Why are we afraid to do the same? Do we assume that a powerful day of walking with God and serving him indicates our arrival, or is indicative of our spiritual perfection? Does that lead us to believe we are now above human weakness … and therefore above dependence on God? Powerful ministry demonstrates God’s holiness and goodness, not ours. We still have thorns in the flesh, and those are there to serve a purpose. Our enemy would take this opportunity to do harm to our relationship with God and others. God seeks to minister to us and draw us near, growing us through the experience. Yesterday was amazing, and it was a work of God, not me. I was faithful in what I was given and there’s a difference. Today I am face to face with the reality of my desperate and continual need for God. In a way I’m thankful for this show of amazing grace … in other ways, I just want to go back to bed and hide away.
Father, carry me through the day and lift me up by your grace. Thank you for your faithfulness and goodness. You are worthy of my praise. Bless the Lord, O my soul!