My hope was renewed today as I looked out over a congregation of believers from the choir loft! “What Love is This”, by Kari Jobe had just been ministered by our Performing Arts department and I’d venture to say there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, including mine. I pondered the morning’s events in my heart. This was my first time singing in choir in over two years. My body was racked with pain as I debated staying home. I had even texted our Worship Ministry leaders to let them know I was not going to make it. Disappointment had seized my heart and I was in tears. My knee had swollen up a couple of days before; the first time in a while, and I had also been dealing w/ vertigo for the last couple of months. I felt defeated!
But a month earlier, I heard God clearly, that it was time to go forward in what He had called me to do & that is to declare Jesus Christ, surrendering every talent and strength in my life to that endeavor. I prayed this morning for God’s grace, His mercy and resurrection power to quicken my mortal body [Romans 8:11] along with a couple of “whys” and “what is going on God?” and concluded, it did not matter what was happening to me, I was going! I could allow these distractions to incapacitate me and, subsequently, my faith or I could trust God’s Word and go forward.
I chose the latter with grace being the power behind that choice!
You know how it is. Every time you go through something, you think it’s the worst thing you’ve gone through until you overcome it and then go through something else. I’ve learned it’s hard to go through things, but harder in the midst of them, to trust and not give up. And that’s where I was this morning, which, by the way, was not the first time.
So with ace bandage around my knee, three ibuprofens in my mouth and sheer trust and the abundance of God’s grace, I stepped up on the platform, grabbed a hold of the banister and sang!! Declaring, “God’s not dead, He’s surely alive. He’s living on the inside, roaring like a lion”! And boy, did I roar! Between fear and faith, I continued to roar along with the entire church, and what a sound!
And, now, here we were in this moment of reflection on the Cross. The beautiful, terrible sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Lord. Everyone present had communion cup and wafer in hand, in one accord and looking out over the people, it hit me! What a beautiful sight were all His saints! Leaning in to remember why they were there. Why we ALL were there! It was because of Jesus! As I looked out over the crowd, God reminded me why HE was there- why He paid such a high price. It was His love for them. His love for me!
In that beautiful moment, my pain and fear had fled and Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart. “Do you see?, My church is alive and well! They have not fled as some believed. They have not given up. The enemy is not winning. They are alive and well because I AM building my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against them! Will not prevail against YOU!!!
Almost daily we are fed propaganda, if you will, from the enemies camp about the condition of the church. And sad to say, some of that propaganda comes from within our own camp. We are led to believe that we are faltering and the world’s not being affected and we are making no impact. Much like Elijah felt when he fled Jezebel [1Kings 19].
But God is at work in each of us, ensuring that doesn’t happen. Jude 24 says, ” Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and present you blameless before the Presence of His glory WITH EXCEEDING JOY”! Not only to present us but to present us with joy! Our enemy would love us to buy into the hopeless desperation that the American church is failing and falling short. Although some have given themselves over to the culture in many ways and some may be handed over to Satan for the destruction of their flesh and the saving of their souls [1 Cor. 5:5] we must never believe that God will give up on His church.
He is too invested to let her falter. Because His investment was not with silver or gold but with the precious blood of His Son, Jesus. He invested the life of His Son and His life is an endless life that continues forever that not even death could overcome [Hebrews 7: 15-24]!
There, in that moment of communion, I was reminded of that investment not only in all the lives that I saw, but in, what I felt in that moment, was my weak, little broken life.
In that instant, hope was renewed! Faith was arising and I was rejoicing that grace and the faithfulness of God had gotten me out of bed and into the glorious assembly of the chosen generation. The royal priesthood. The Holy Nation. [ 1 Peter 2:9] The Kingdom, unshakable. [ Hebrews 12:28] The glorious Church of the Lord Jesus Christ! [Hebrews 10:24-25]
Let Christ be glorified in all!