READINGOld Testament: Deuteronomy 10:12-22
Psalms: Psalms 40, 54
New Testament: Hebrews 4:11-16
Gospel: John 3:22-36
Evening Psalms: Psalms 51
“Let us approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:11-16)
A little over a year ago, church wasn't a part of my life. I'd always believed in God, but just turned away from the church. I had stopped praying a decade before that -- after my father's death. I just didn't have space in my life for God, church, or anything else that resembled religion. During that time, there were many struggles in my life, but I just muddled through, never asking for help or guidance, never praying. I thought about it a few times, but I honestly didn't think I deserved help. Since I hadn’t done my part, I thought it was selfish to ask; and so I didn’t.
About a year ago, that changed. My 10-year-old dog, Jack, got cancer. He was given one month to live, and I was devastated. For the first time in a decade, I asked for help. I was lost, deeply sad, and I felt alone. In return for that help, I would "try" church again.
Jack went into remission and lived. I was given more than another year with my boy, and I'm so thankful for that time. I miss him terribly, but I know he brought me here, to this place with God, and I am forever grateful for this gift.
A year later, here I am, fully immersed in a church and loving it. Without realizing it at the time, I received mercy and found grace in a desperate hour. It was so much more than that, though. God knew something I didn't: that I needed more. I needed a place to feel relaxed and comfortable, a place where I could experience the sense of community that I so badly needed, but didn't realize, a place that was welcoming and that would encourage me to do more, try a bit harder, and find my faith again. This was never about God helping me because of my sick pet; it was about His love and wisdom in giving me exactly what I needed when I was ready to receive it.
Lord, thank You for your mercy, guidance and grace. Thank You for seeing things in me that I forgot existed. Thank You for your patience and assistance with my journey back. And thank you for Jack. Amen.