God is the best author of stories.
I would love to share a bit of what has been going on the past couple of months. At the end of August our team began sharing our stories and the ways God has worked and continues to work in our lives. We set it up to tell our testimonies of coming to know the Lord and His pursuit of us, ways He has moved mightily in our lives and grown us (perhaps even through hardship, struggles, and immense pain at time), and/or a combination of both of those things, but the goal ultimately was to give God glory. We wanted to recognize He is worthy and deserves all our praise and as a team our desire was to do that together. Thus I recalled the following verse:
“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.” Psalm 107:2
As a former Young Life leader, this verse has a significant impact; if I may, let me paint a picture for those of you who might not be familiar with it. After an amazing week of camp at a resort-like setting (arguably the best week of your life) camp wraps up with a final time together. Essentially, all week, the Gospel is spoken in words that teenagers can understand and relate to; presenting an understanding our brokenness and need for a savior, and the person of Jesus and His great rescue plan to restore our lives. And while at camp, you are given the opportunity to process this incredible truth individually and with your leader you go home with and have the conversation about whether or not you believe what has been presented throughout the week. For those students who experienced an awakening by God to His redemption and desire to make Him the Lord of their lives, they are encouraged to verbally commit to their decision, “The Say So.” Basically, for those who want to live for Jesus, they tell the rest of the camp so everyone can celebrate together and also support each other going home and it gives God the glory for working in their lives that week (and really their whole lives leading up to that moment and every moment beyond that decision).
As I read Psalm 107:2 and was reminded of the command for “the redeemed of the LORD say so,” I instantly knew this would be the verse to cling to for this time of sharing. And then I read the whole chapter. Psalm 107:1-43 is full of action verbs of God in His great providence and provision redeeming His people and calling them to praise. Just a few examples: Verses 4-6: Some [people] wandered; He delivered. Verses 10-14: Some sat in darkness; He delivered and He brought them out. Verses 23-30: Some went down to the sea in ships; He delivered and made the storm be still and brought them to their desired haven.
Gosh and such as were some of us! All of us!
Throughout the last couple of months we heard countless stories of God’s unconditional faithfulness and love despite the mess we made of our lives. We heard how each of us by nature of sin walked away from God’s best plan for our life (to know Him and be known by Him and surrender our days to Him) and made choices to control, direct, and be “god” of our own lives. While not all our stories or paths were the same (all unique, just as He created each of us), we cannot deny that the way we chose only led to loneliness, pain, brokenness, and yearning for more that only can be satisfied in surrendering ourselves to the Great I Am Himself. Our choices, vices, and stories were different, but we all saw that the nature of sin separates us from God and the life of purpose, fullness, and joy He offers. He met each of us where we were with exactly what He knew we needed. It not only led to praise and thankfulness in our own hearts while looking back at God’s hand in our lives, but it also bonded us closer together and gave glimpses into the ways we can continue to support and encourage each other (for after all, we were reminded that none of us is perfect!!).
Can you identify ways God is writing your story? I believe as you take time to reflect on the ways God has worked in your heart it will undoubtedly lead to praise and I would encourage you to “say so” and give God the glory!