So it’s been a matter of hours since the 2016 Baptist pastoral retreat has wound up. Of course it was amazing and I’m sure I am not alone in saying that it served up an enormous amount of food for thought.
And for that matter; food for praise.
It seems that every conference or retreat I attend, there seems to be a moment where the reality of what I am attending really hits. I may have been physically present for ‘x’ amount of sessions but then there’s that first real big ‘ah ha’ moment of the program and my mind and soul ‘catch up’, realizing that this is not the regular routine but rather that this is special.
This year it happened as we celebrated communion.
Brian Harris called us to ‘remember Calvary’ and so that is precisely what I tried my best to do in my mind’s eye. As I concentrated on the visual picture of the physical and spiritual suffering of Jesus in order to bring about atonement, all of a sudden it got personal.
Really, really personal.
I found myself, tears rolling down speaking under my breath but only able to mutter two words:
That is, why would you Lord, maker of heaven and earth do this…..for me? And why would you give me an understanding of it’s significance to my existence?
I suppose I was struck by my utter unworthiness of salvation, but not in a ‘beating myself up’ way, but rather by an overflowing gratitude.
It seems to me that when set ourselves to focus on God, we get both a renewed revelation of him and a great personal blessing of reassurance, whereas when we simply set out to gain the latter, we miss the both.
But then my thoughts turned to shame and then repentance as I realized how often we say those words: ‘why me’ in a context of ingratitude.
Man, sometimes Satan just tricks us into thinking that we deserve the world.
I just for a moment felt the repulsiveness, the utter insult to God it is when I have said to him ‘why me?’ or ‘why this?’ or ‘why now?’ in an attitude of ingratitude.
And yet he allows it. For he knows we are only dust.
So much of what Alan Demond was sharing was all about giving glory to God in and during every step of our journey and ministries. Surely this has to start with choosing to worship during every step.
Or in his words “give God the credit.”
Isn’t it wonderful that above all of the million reasons in life to say ‘why me’ in a negative sense there is a supreme reason, one that cannot be changed, erased or effected by any other experience to choose to say with extreme gratitude; Lord…why me?
I don’t know why you’d give me the gift of yourself, but I thank you nonetheless.
Why me? I don’t know, but I’m thankful.