“And it happened, as Aaron was speaking to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, they turned toward the wilderness. And, behold! The glory of Jehovah appeared in the cloud!” (Exodus 16:10 LITV)
God presents us with opportunities, opportunities in which if we step into the unknown and follow that one small voice. We spend our ‘due diligence’ in preparation for the service that we’ve surrendered to God and it is our best presentation. But, if we bring our best to the table, it will never be enough. We are a broken, disbelieving people even as we trust in Christ to deliver upon the promise that He has made as His hands were stretched out and nailed to the Cross. Even then, as we walk into the life of disciples following Christ, growing in faith and obedience, we are at our best a broken and fallen people undeserving of the best of the Gospel promise but given it the same.
In those opportunities, God takes our best freely and fully given to Him and amplifies it to become something far beyond our abilities to deliver; something so special that we can recognize the presence of the Spirit wherever it occurs. It happened last year at the Bowery Mission and it happened again today at the Bowery Street home we share with the men of the Bowery.
Two weeks ago, I was prompted by God to go up to Joan Bernard and tell her, “You are going to preach one sermon at the Bowery.” No ‘please’, no ‘would you consider’ but rather a direct ‘command’ from God. She agreed and it has been a blessing to watch the transformation. When we got to the Bowery and I was given our ‘chapel responsibility’ schedule, I gave Joan the choice of when she wanted to do her sermon. She chose Wednesday afternoon.
But God had other plans.
Last night, after my sojourn of eight miles through the ‘wilds’ of New York, I came back with my cold in full effect to the point where I was losing my voice. And anyone who knows me knows there's not that stops me from talking….except losing my voice. I tried to get some good sleep and medicated myself as best I could. I even went to sleep earlier so that I’d get extra recovery time. And when I got up this morning, it was better but not good enough apparently for God’s work.
So I was given an opportunity to literally step out of the way of the work that God was doing and allow someone else He had selected to be the momentum to His glory; Joan.
And was able to sit back and watch God glorified.
As a daughter of the most High King and a son of the same walked into the leadership roles He had prepared for them to glorify His name. John stepped into a leadership role in the worship, singing the song “My God” and I knew my stepping back into a supportive role was God-designed rather than self-imposed, because as Joan stepped up to the pulpit and began her sermon…..God walked in the room and joined the Spirit which had come in during John’s presentation of worship.
And, as we well know, God rocks the house.
Once again, as I sat there praying over Joan’s service God showed His pleasure in His daughter by amplifying her best and making it the awesome and inspirational presentation of His word. And the glories that arose were all His.
Of course, He gave me an affirmation of what He had planned all along….for what Joan spoke of this morning, God’s given me the ‘closing’ statement on it for this afternoon.
Powerful indeed are the works of the Lord.
A lesson in humility though, first, before I can present God’s word this afternoon. The team, concerned for my voice, have imposed a ‘gag-rule’ on me until 12:15 when chapel starts. I cannot say a word, giving my voice a period of time to rest. I am not worried, though about being silent…….
God’s provided me with enough paper to ‘speak my peace’ well into the afternoon.
As they say here at the Bowery, “God is good!” All the time, everytime!!!