Journal Entry ~ 12/02/18

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! 
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!  - Psalm 105:1-2

I am trying to cultivate a heart of true gratitude these days by focusing my praise simply on the character of God, on His goodness and His faithfulness, and not on His answering of my list of needs and wants. His absolute goodness guarantees that He always does what is best for us. I never need to fear that He will answer my prayers. I can live with the confident expectation that He will answer me, and I can know that He will do it in the best way possible. For that, I am humbly grateful. 

Our God is a faithful God who loves us with a steadfast love. Even though it may not make sense to us in the moment, even though we want things to move along quicker than they are, even though we want to see things resolved differently than they are, we can always trust that He is at work for our ultimate good. 

I heard an incredible story this weekend that left me humbled and in awe of the faithfulness of God. This story reminds us that God is sovereign over everything, and that He has a plan for our good. We need to be thankful, even when it doesn’t make sense, because He always has a plan. 

Pastor Duane Miller is a preacher in Texas, who was raising a flourishing church about 25 years ago. He caught a virus that went into his vocal cords, and he lost the ability to speak above a hoarse whisper. There was a pressure on his vocal cords that kept him from being able to preach. After a year of prayer and seeing multiple specialists, he was forced to resign as lead pastor. He could no longer do what he felt God called him to do, and he was devastated to the point of despair. Everything he did in life was tied to his ability to speak, and that was taken away. 

He ended up in another church about a year later, where he attended a Sunday School class. When the teacher of this class had to take an unexpected leave, they asked the pastor to teach the lessons until they could find a replacement. He insisted that he could not because he was barely understandable, but they told him they could mic him in a way that he could be heard. He reluctantly agreed. 

The teaching was by no mistake on Psalm 103 - a Psalm about praise and healing. A recording of that teaching can be found here:  

I encourage you to stop reading and click on the 4 1/2 minute video now. 

You can hear his hoard voice at the beginning as he was struggling to read scripture and teach. But when he got to the word pit in Psalm 103:4, the pressure on his vocal cords was released, and he regained the ability to speak. You can hear the miracle as it happens, and you can hear his reaction. Listening to this recording left me in tears, humbled by His perfection, grateful for His sovereign plan.  

God is good - always and in all ways, my friends. He had a plan to use Pastor Duane to impact millions of people for His Kingdom, He had a plan for good. It may have not felt that way to this pastor while he was in the pit for 2 years, but God knew what He was doing. He allowed this man to walk through a deep valley, but He did it for the ultimate good of so many. 

We often don’t understand our trials while we’re in them, but we can know His character. When we focus on the character of God - knowing and trusting and believing that He works all things out for our good - we discover how to praise Him in our deepest valleys. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗


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