I participated in a beautiful outdoor worship service recently; it was a wonderful break in an otherwise stressful week. At one point in the evening, I leaned back and looked up at the sky, everything clear and the stars out. My thoughts floated to my family and the conversations we had throughout the day. We were moving that month (hence the stressful week), and there was an added pressure to the home. I knew they could feel it. I was a part of it, as my emotions were all over the place and my family was absorbing that from me. It was the going through belongings, the saying goodbye, the “lasts” of practically everything …
I wondered (or is that a Christian spin on worry?) how they were going to adjust to the coming changes? How I would adjust to the coming changes? Were we ready? Who was the most ready? Who said what that day? What did that mean? On and on the thoughts spun inside my head as I joined in on the chorus of a familiar worship song playing:
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name.
I know, Lord, you are reminding me to focus more on you and less on me. The war wages, my faith vs. my fears, an utterly familiar battle; you’d think at a worship service, faith has the home field advantage.
Then an older mother in the crowd comes over to sit beside me. As she prompts me with a soothing voice and a simple question (What’s on your mind, dear?) I share my concerns about the move and the coming changes. She patiently listens, nodding her head in the I’ve-been-there-you’ll-be-fine way older women do. I go on and on (in the we-finally-have-an-audience-that-doesn’t-interrupt-us way younger mothers do).
She waits for me to pause and then says, “Look up at the moon, do you see it?”
Yes, I did see it. It was about a quarter full that night. “See how you can only see part of it, but your mind tells you there is more there?” I look in the sky, and whisper to her, “Yes.”
“I think that’s a word picture for what the Lord wants to tell you tonight. You can only see a part of this storyline, and so you worry. But, your mind’s eye is telling you there is more there, more coming, and it’s going to be good.”
I am still. The deep breath I came for tonight comes. I listen to the band …
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes.
“Do you believe in what He has next for you?” she puts the question out there, not even expecting an answer. My eyes are filling, so I just nod. “Do you believe what He writes for you is good? That his stories for your children are good?” I nod more vigorously now. “Then trust what you can only see in part, believing in the One who has the full story. Allow that peace to permeate your home and your children, and your next steps … The coming story is good, there is more, and inside, you know that. Now, live like it.”
I hugged her, grateful for the word picture I would be reminded of every night during that season. Faith did win that night and I wanted Him to know. I found my voice and joined with the others …
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.
(Matt Redman, 10,000 reasons)
Photo (Flickr CC) by Jean-Daniel Pauget