This weekend I was surprised with an amazing opportunity. A little over a year ago my family moved from Vermont to our new home. We have tried several different churches in our search for the current congregation we have currently settled into. I am thrilled with the community we have found. My daughter has never been more connected with her spiritual life. As I walked into church this Sunday, a bit distracted with my own toils, a bit disheveled and unkempt and certainly not prepared for a public appearance. My pastor approached me and asked if I would be interested in reading the scripture during the service.
As a five-year member of my past church in Vermont, I had been a part of committees but never been asked to openly contribute to the congregation or help participate in the worship. I had never been asked to help celebrate in the joy we as a congregation felt for our Lord Jesus. This is not to say that there was an issue with my past church but rather with me. I realized that I was closed off to the celebration. Here I was, disheveled and in my own personal space and I realized that somewhere along the path I had become open to these small gestures of invitation; these small surprises.
As I received this gift, I found myself open to the miracle being passed to me as an invitation to my relationship with God. I saw a door opening and an opportunity to walk forward with my congregation. This small gesture was more to me than just a chance to read. It was a chance to grow.
It is important that we as individuals look for these surprises in our life when we can grow as people and in our life with God. It is through this growth in our relationship with Him that we will find more joy, love, and glory in his grace. For me, it was in the simple reading of a Sunday scripture that I found an opportunity to face a challenge and reap the benefit of God’s grace. What is your next surprise of glory?
I found this opportunity to be unique in my life. It was not an instant “aha”, but rather a slow realization of what was to wash over my spirit. As I repeatedly read the passage I was asked to share, and nervously pondered how I might stumble and stutter in front of these faithful people. I became increasingly aware of the state of my hair, my dirty jeans and my overweight body. I found little comfort in the pants covering my prosthetic leg. Iwondered how I might be able to stand stably in front of this audience. Then two more gifts from the Lord soothed my confidence. Our church has a tradition on the fifth Sunday of the month. They do an acoustic Sunday where they quiet the music a bit. This week they sang a song that spoke to me in a way that calmed my heart and helped me to realize that it was not about my performance in front of the congregation but rather about my worship with the congregation for the Lord Jesus. Then, as our last song ended, our pastor began to speak, and the music continued. Here I realized that we are all human and not infallible. With humility, I walked to the front of the church, took a deep breath and gave praise to God.
When I sat down to start writing this blog my first thought was to focus on the scripture passage. For it also moved me. As I gave it more thought I realized that it was not Mathew 4 that was as important as the surprise that came from the experience around Mathew 4 that mattered. Be open to the surprise. Be open to the gifts and opportunities that are given to you. What is the saying, “the Lord works in mysterious ways.”? Perhaps. Or maybe we just don’t open our eyes when we need to.