This year’s theme has been my favorite annual theme – and I have been around for 8 of them. The primary reason I have enjoyed this theme is that it has really resulted in great blessing. Here are just a few of the blessings that I’ve received.
Focusing on God’s Work in People’s Lives
To some degree, I get this as a pastor all the time. However, this theme has just brought more focus to the subject. Here are a few of my favorite stories so far this year:
- I know of several different couples that God has rescued from the world of childlessness. God’s deliverance has come both in “surprise” pregnancies and in adoptions, but either way, His work has been awesome!
- A car accident put a young child in serious danger of death. I remember crying with a friend over this situation on the phone and asking God to rescue this young one. Not more than a 48 hours later, God granted a miracle. Today that child is doing much better. I experienced, albeit vicariously, God’s precious love for another family.
- I could add story after story of God’s work providing employment, meeting financial needs, granting grace in the face of hardship, and on and on the list could go.
God was series when he said in Ephesians 3:14-21 that we cannot grasp the full dimensions of Christ’s love by ourselves – and this theme has been allowing us to put particular focus on this together.
Learning More About the Hurts That People Carry
A second blessing from this year is that this theme has caused me to do more reflecting on the hurts that people carry. I was not ignorant of this issue before, but again it is a matter of focus. I have thought more, prayed for more, and hurt more for people who are experiencing great heartache.
This helps me not complain as much – after all, my problems seem much smaller than those of my friends. This focus helps me be more thankful – I am richly blessed. This focus also helps me learn to suffer with people better. Learning to suffer with people is like riding a bike. You can be told about the mechanics, but there is nothing better than giving it a try. Even if you fall down a few times in the process, each bump and each bruise helps you serve better the next time.
This theme and the focus that it is bringing are giving me such a great opportunity to really know people and the hurts that they carry.
Learning to Love and Appreciate the Lord More as He Blesses My Friends
A related and surprising blessing for me this year is that my love and appreciation for the Lord has grown. I have had some personal reasons why this would be true in the last 12 months. But maybe more than what I have experience in my life, I have been blessed by watching the Lord work in the lives of others.
Truly David was right when he said in Psalm 63 “because your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Learning to love and appreciate the Lord is a lifelong journey. I am so blessed to walk that journey with a group of people who are learning to love and appreciate Jesus too.
How is it that the Living Life Together theme has been a blessing to you?