And then one Sunday, there was an excuse not to go visit a new church or go to an old one. Can't remember what it was. But oh, what a slippery slope that became. Suddenly there was an excuse for every Sunday. I was out of town. I didn't feel well. I was going to be late. And then the day came when I decided, why bother until I know where I'm going to live next? I was ready to put an end to the church hopping routine and settle down, but I couldn't do that until I was settled, right?
If my dad ever reads this, I know he'll be appalled. As would probably my sisters and some of my closer friends. Even I'm a bit appalled. Although, while this may bring little comfort, I must defend myself and say that I was not entirely a heathen. There were Sundays where I'd break out my Beth Moore Breaking Free Bible study, and once or twice I dragged myself to sit in the back pew of a nearby church. I'd put Pandora on a Praise & Worship station and spent the morning in prayer.
And then I was struck with the idea of live-streaming. Except... I never actually did that. What I ended up doing was listening to sermon archives from Oak Hills Church in San Antonio. The sermons were good and the series were pertinent to my life. I'd found my "out" for a while.
Excuses, however, only work for so long. And now that I know where I'm moving to, I know the church hopping is about to begin again. Others may think not going to church isn't a big deal. But for me, deep down inside, it's a very big deal. Having a church home is such an important steadying constant in my life. I feel lost without a place to meet and hang out with other believers, forge spiritually edifying relationships, and simply serve a God that I love.
I woke up this morning with all intention of going to church. But... first, I woke up late. And then, while I was in the shower, the skies started showering, too. If God is trying to test how much I love Him with this rain, then I fail cause I'm staying at home, I thought. Cause this wasn't just a drizzle. It was a wind-blowing, thunder-growling type of rain.
I got dressed and as I crawled back under my sheets and grabbed my Bible, the light bulb went off. I can actually try that whole live-streaming thing! Can I just say that I am so glad that the Lord sent the rain this morning?
Today at Oak Hills, the group Selah led the worship. If you know who they are, then I don't even need to explain how much of a blessing that was. But then, to add to that blessing, Selah's Todd Smith brought his wife, Angie Smith, along. Now, I've never been to a Women of Faith conference or anything like that, but after hearing her, I think I just might need to. She was real, she was funny, she was sincere, and her message on Fear was such a beautiful thing... I discovered my eyes were unexpectedly leaking sometime during the prayer.
I'm afraid of a lot of things. And most of these things aren't even ones I can control. The problem with being afraid is that I often let the fear dictate how I live. And my biggest fear lies in the "What if..." What if he breaks up with me? What if I don't get into graduate school? What if I don't find a job? What if we can't break our lease? What if I don't find a place I like? What if? What if? What if?
It's quite silly, when you think about it. I'm so wrapped up on what if it does happen... but what if it doesn't happen?
all that Angie shared, but my heart dwelled on Genesis 21: 19, "The God opened her eyes and she saw the well of water..." (emphasis mine/Angie Smith's). The "her" here is Hagar, and if you know the story, she's in the desert with her son Ishmael and has walked away and turned her back to him, sure of his impeding death and not wanting to watch him die. And then God opened her eyes...
It's so easy to let the fears of "What if?" led us to cower to a fate that God hasn't imposed on us. I wonder how many times I have turned my back and closed my eyes and completely missed "the well" God has provided for me. So simple, yet so profound.
As I listened to Selah close out the service singing "How Great Thou Art" against the backdrop of actual "rolling thunder," I let out a prayer that I hope I clinge to for the rest of my life:
Lord, open my eyes to see Your well. Don't let me be overcome by the fear of "what if?" In my moments of fear, remind me that there is a well here somewhere. And help me drink deeply from it. Amen.
I am so thankful the Lord sent the rain this morning.