High Hopes From The Lower Deck

Jeff General, Hope, Spiritual Growth

Sundays are to be tremendous days in the lives of Christians.  So much of our thought-life, our aspirations and our longings should find their expressions when we blend together in corporate worship.  We have a great God and our indescribable delight is knowing that He, indeed, has us.  We have believed, therefore we celebrate and praise Him.

“Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord, give praise, O servants of the Lord, who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God! Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to His name, for it is pleasant!”

-Psalm 135:1-3 {ESV}

If I’m being honest, this year has not been one wherein I have sensed great strength in my soul.  I have had years when I was being weakened by pummeling circumstances but I cannot conclude that this is my current state.  Other seasons in my faith-walk have been infused with a powerful awareness that God was working upon me – His hammer, His chisel, His clamps and His polish.  This is not a time like that either.  I find myself neither leaving a port with great zeal for the journey nor am I arriving in some harbor with satisfaction of a voyage complete. I am being called to yield…something I have no natural skill at accomplishing.

I am at sea with much water behind me and much ahead of me.  The expectation for me in these days is to learn the lessons He is teaching me in private below the deck.  The current courses He is imparting to me seem open-ended and varied.  A nugget of truth here is being mixed with a truth of a different sort from over there.  From above and below He is arranging some independent truths which I cannot understand how they all might tie together.  It would seem that God is bringing together a hundred detached lessons and will be uniting them sometime later.  My patience is currently under His microscope and it is obvious to me that there is somewhat of a lack therein.  I’ve taken this class before and I’m keenly aware that the dismissal bell won’t be ringing any time soon.  The real question is whether or not I can render legitimate and due praise unto Him when His dealings with me are vague.  I hope to pass the test.  Praise is not something that should need to be pushed out of me;  there is always a beautiful flow of praise when it is proceeding from a happy heart.

May God grant us the desire to exalt Him and the depth to know Him.  They are forever tied together, these two.  Your praise can never exceed your knowledge of Him for how can you offer substance when your cupboard is bare?  As we gather with our brothers and sisters today may we be empowered to slow down and soak in what we know to be true.  May we see the redeeming hand of God in the faces of those whom He has saved.  Forbid us that we would focus on all that has not yet been perfected in others; their painting is not yet complete and it is an insult to the Artist when we judge His masterpieces mid-course.  Let us ask for tears of humility, shouts of triumph, laughter from our assured beliefs and open palms which reach out to others after being turned up to Heaven acknowledging need.

Praise Him today.  You are the object of His mercy, grace and impossible love.