Way beyond my dreams!

One of the seriously fab things about the Christian life is seeing God answer my prayers in amazing ways – but recently I’ve been seeing something a lot more amazing than that. I’ve been seeing God do stuff that I wouldn’t have even imagined, stuff that I wouldn’t have dared pray for because… well, you’ll see…

First, there’s a few things you need to know about me so that you can understand why this stuff is so amazing: you need to know that I’m an introvert, and an extreme night owl, and a very shy and socially awkward penguin person. Which is why at some point I decided to stop going to morning service. It made perfect sense at the time: why go to church in the morning, I reasoned, when I’m so half asleep that (1) I don’t get anything out of it (2) God doesn’t get anything out of me (3) other people don’t get anything out of me because I’m not up to conversation…

So for over a decade I was an evening-only churchgoer. And for a long while it felt fine – going to a church where evening service is a real, full-on thing with a proper sermon and everything, I felt I wasn’t missing much. Sometimes I’d catch up on morning sermons online – and hey, I thought, isn’t it much better to listen to these when I’m actually, yanno, awake enough to take in what I’m hearing?

For a long while this arrangement worked for me. And in some ways I can see why I needed to go through that phase. But now… Now I feel like I’ve woken up from a very deep sleep, and it’s so exciting! God has… no, not turned me magically into a morning person, but…

He’s got me going to church morning and evening on a Sunday and actually being there! Totally awake and present, totally engaging with what’s going on, fully enjoying sung worship and fully digesting the sermon and fully and joyfully making conversation with people before and after!

I didn’t pray for this. I did once in a while throw a little half-hearted prayer in God’s direction saying it would be nice if I could be there in the mornings, because I was becoming more and more conscious that there were lots of people who were part of our church but I hardly ever got to meet because they were there only in the mornings. Every time a friend got married and started having babies, they’d stop going to evening service and I’d miss them. So I thought it would be nice to be able to be there – but very much in the way you might think it would be nice to win the lottery and buy a yacht… Not seriously thinking it was possible, and definitely not ever beginning to imagine that I could be there in the mornings and be so totally wide awake… Never in my wildest dreams…

Why did God do this now and not sooner? I think he wanted me to be ready – for the past few years he’s been getting me to sort out my theology of church, and therefore changing my attitude, which means I can now really appreciate this! It’s a lot more than just “nice” – it’s wonderful! but the me of a few years ago wouldn’t have seen it that way. I read in the paper yesterday about someone who won a million pounds in the lottery when she was 17, and now, aged 21, she’s really angry that she was allowed to get her hands on that money when she wasn’t mature enough to know how to use it well. She’s calling for the age limit to go up. I can relate – in terms of faith I’m only 14 years old, and this wonderful gift my Father has just given me is one I wouldn’t have been mature enough to enjoy when I was younger.

But since he’s been teaching me what church means to Jesus (clue: he was willing to die for his bride), and he’s been waking me up to the biblical concept of being part of the body of Christ and what that means – yes, now I’m ready to really really appreciate being there with my church family and worshipping Jesus together on a Sunday morning, having a little taste of what heaven’s like, and yes, going home afterwards and needing a nap but that’s fine, it’s totally worth it and I’d hate to be asleep and miss out on all that!

This is one of the fab things about being a Christian – having the Almighty, all-knowing God as my Father, who knows exactly what I need and can provide me with things that I wouldn’t dare to imagine or ask for!

ephesians-3v20-21

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