Yesterday Robert urged me to sit awhile and reflect on the Lord's goodness to me over the weekend. "Otherwise your heart will grow hard," he said.
He told me that he does it every Monday ~ reflect on all that the Lord did on a Sunday. All of the conversations, the responses, the encouraging words, the coming coffee dates to discuss how the message has impacted someone, the lit up eyes and faces, the obvious worship that was going on, the afternoon meetings ~ all of it.
"Don't just keep plowing through your week. Take some time to take it all in and thank Him," he strongly exhorted.
I planned to do it. I looked forward to it greatly in my exhaustion. But it didn't happen. The day was taken by unforeseen events and then it was over. And there may or may not have been some tears and some indulging in M&M's over this...
But today is another day, and my confession today will be that ONLY GOD could have orchestrated the way things played out over the weekend. I confess that He alone is sovereign and good.
It was time for me to get up and give the last of four talks at a weekend women's retreat. Surely they are so tired of hearing me speak, Lord, I had thought as I prayed for the time. I know that I am tired of hearing me speak!
One of the retreat coordinators came to me and told me that a woman would be giving her testimony right before I gave the final talk. This was an unexpected turn and SHE was unexpected candidate. Surely she's not going to give THAT testimony, my mind began to race. It's so vulnerable and risky for her to do that here, I thought. She's probably just going to pick another way the Lord has worked in her life through another situation and not THIS one.
And then my mind swirled with what I was about to approach the podium and say. The fourth talk in a weekend series about how to cooperate with the Lord in the "turns" and seasons of sanctification. We'd already covered the "turns" of normal, faithful living, of crisis, fear, and desperation, and of blessing and answered prayer. Now we were going to look at a "turn" of restoration and remembrance..."In seasons of restoration and remembrance, we should be eager to give authentic testimony of God's goodness and redemption in our lives."
I'm sure it will be a great testimony, but certainly she won't be THAT authentic today. Not here.
And then she walked to the microphone and behind the music stand and she gave THAT testimony. The one that has caused the most heartache and pain, loss of friends, persecution, and almost her marriage. She admitted her own fault and her failure to relate to the Lord "vertically" rather than "horizontally." She feigned no piety. She was broken before us, and yet healed and strengthened, too...by her Lord.
Stunned by her courage and vulnerability, I was in tears. She had no idea what I was about to speak about. No one did. It was orchestrated by none but the Lord. When she finished I thought maybe I should just walk to the mic and say "Amen." What else needed to be said?
When I got to the podium I could see that the whole crowd was in tears. I prayed through my tears before I spoke, and thanked her for so bravely illustrating what I was about to teach.
Only God knew and it was a beautiful surprise to ALL of us.
Come, and hear, all who fear God, and I will tell you of what He has done for my soul.
Psalm 66: 16
I will speak your testimonies before kings and shall not be ashamed.
Psalm 119: 46
It was a turn of events from the Lord, that He might establish His Word.
I Kings 12:15
I've sat and I've reflected and I've written it all down. Only He is God. Only He is good. And every "turn" is intended to "establish His Word."