There are times when the Lord takes you through things in order to teach you something about yourself. Those are very humbling times that should inspire repentance and guide us in the future. There are other times when the Lord takes you through things in order to teach you something about Him. This is usually a lesson of faith, of trust. Once in a while this God, with whom we are supposed to have a personal relationship, teaches us something about Himself that is personal, even emotional. I have recently had such an experience that I would like to share.
For the second year we held a Good Friday service a darkness. It’s a special event I
stole picked up from Bill Ritchie at Crossroads Community Church. Last year we held it in our Community Room. It was packed out which means there were over 50 people crammed in the room. There were almost as many quests/friends as there were regular attenders. It was very exciting for us!
This year we wanted to hold it where we hold our Sunday meetings so we could accommodate more people. We made some spiffy posters for the front window and for around Pacific U. We made invitation cards for people to give out or leave strategically in public places. We announced it for weeks leading up to it. It’s a tremendous outreach opportunity.
Friday night came. My wife and kids faithfully helped me setup the venue. We setup a fair number of chairs, expecting at least as many as last year. I was actually excited for it, which almost never happens to me. When time came to start I looked around the room. There were about 30 people total, mostly regulars, a few friends. The service went fine. People enjoyed the time together.
When we got home I gathered my family together and sincerely thanked them for their service and their faithfulness. I was truly appreciative. I then went upstairs to my room, closed the door, turned off the lights, and balled my eyes out. I know, I’m a big baby. But understand this; I knew that it was not about me. I wasn’t having a pity party for myself and all the work I had put into this. That was not the issue. Nor was I upset because more of our regulars didn’t come or wrangle their unsaved friends to the service.
My hope and prayer was that people would encounter God afresh, anew. But in order for that to happen, people have to show up. So it was about the numbers, but not just the numbers for the numbers sake. I just wanted people to encounter the Lord.
Through my crying and praying I was asking the Lord, “Why? Why didn’t they come? Why didn’t you bring them? I just want them to know you. Don’t you want that?” Again, this wasn’t about me, or how I felt, or how we worked. It was about Him.
In that moment I heard the Lord speak to my heart, “This is how I feel most of the time, and I still don’t quit.”
It’s easy to forget that God has feelings. I mean, most people think of God as being either angry and full of wrath, or gooey with love man. God feels quite a but more than that. We are made in God’s image. We have emotions. That means God has emotions. He feels happiness, sadness, joy, regret, and rejection.
Perhaps Samuel felt the way I did when He went to the Lord and told Him that the people want a king instead of a prophet or a judge. The Lord’s classic response is, “They have not rejected you, they have rejected Me.” And yet, He doesn’t quit.
So, fellow servant of the Lord, remember that serving Him isn’t about you, it’s about him. Remember that if you are serving according to His will, and you still don’t see the fruit you expected, God knows how you feel. You now know how He feels. He doesn’t quit. And neither should you.