Can I be really honest with you? I don’t always feel like writing a blog. There are times when I feel I don’t have any encouragement to offer; times when I feel I need the encouragement myself. There are times I sit down at my desk to write and nothing is forthcoming. Absolutely nothing. Zilch.
Sometimes I’ll sit there until I can write something, even if it’s just one paragraph. Other times I’ll go away and do something else in the hope that inspiration will come when I return. But the one thing that keeps me writing to encourage, challenge and teach even when I feel least like it is this – I believe this is what God has called me to do. And I want to be and do everything He has called me to be and do. Everything.
At the risk of being too vulnerable, too personal, life has been a stretch the last few years. That might be an understatement but it’s enough to paint a picture. Stretch is not always pleasant at the time, but it is always good because it brings the opportunity to grow and become stronger. Stronger is something we need to be. A friend sent me a link to a song that made her think of me as she listened to it. This song, Do it Again by Elevation Worship has become something of a ‘song for the season’ for me. Like an anchor for a ship at the docks, its words have brought comfort and hope at just the right time. As I sing along it is also a lovely opportunity to declare what I believe.
“Walking around these walls, I thought by now they’d fall,” introduces the song. Reminiscent of Joshua marching around the city of Jericho with the Israelites, it touches something deep inside me. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder how the Israelites must have felt as they walked around those walls for the fourth, fifth or sixth time. Jericho had walls that according to Bible scholars measured between thirty-two and forty-one feet high in total. The area contained within those walls was about nine acres. Try imagining what walking around a wall nearly ten storeys tall would be like, wondering how on earth you would ever get past those walls to the promise of God that lies beyond them.
First a statement outlining the harsh reality of the circumstances, the song continues with a declaration of this truth:
“But You have never failed me yet.”
If there is one characteristic of God I can stake my life on, it is His faithfulness. From the moment I entered into a relationship with Him until this day, again and again, His faithfulness continues to humble and astound me at the same time. I can in all honesty echo the words of this song – He has never failed me yet.
This doesn’t mean that things have always turned out the way I wanted them to, or that I haven’t had my share of disappointments along the way. But when I look back at even the most challenging circumstances, I see how the Father’s hands have held me close and how He has carried me to safety.
I see how He has shielded me from the fire with His own body.
How He has fed me hope and comfort when life presented pain and despair.
I see how He has celebrated me when I couldn’t find much to celebrate.
I see how He has been a Father like no other, one that has fought relentlessly for me.
And my heart is filled with the utmost gratitude. At the start of this year I was prompted to start something that has changed my prayer life. Every morning when I wake up, before I do anything else, I spend a few minutes thanking God for specific things in my life. From something as little as thanking Him for the bed I have slept in, to the big things like the relatively good health I enjoy or a recently answered prayer, I thank Him for as many things as I can think of.
No generic ‘thank you for everything’ prayer will do. I have to be specific and mention what I am thankful for. There are still some days I omit this habit, but for the most part I do my best to start my day with gratitude. Instead of focussing on the walls that are yet to come down, I fix my gaze on the One who has promised that the walls will come down. And I remember what He has already done in the past.
It may be taking longer than you thought for the walls between you and your Jericho to come down. You may be tempted to focus on what has not happened rather than on what God has already done. It is so much more uplifting to declare instead the words of this song:
I’ve seen You move … you move the mountains
And I believe … I’ll see You do it again
You made a way … where there was no way
And I believe … I’ll see You do it again
I believe with all my heart that I will see God move many more mountains in both my life and the lives of others. I believe He will move the mountains in your life as well. While I am waiting for the walls to come down in whatever may be my Jericho of the moment, I will thank God for what He has done already. I will take time to remember.
Even if He never does anything more for me, the fact that He gave Jesus has earned my gratitude forever.
The bottom line is, God gave Jesus. For that I am truly grateful. Are you?
You are in my heart,
For the rest of the song you can listen here