Here at the end of all things. Well, not all things, just Boardwalk Chapel things.
I expected to come and be stretched and grow in my own evangelism and love of the LORD. And that has happened.
What I did not expect is to be encouraged. When I say encouraged I actually mean affirmed in a deeper way than I ever imagined. I have been surrounded by amazing people and felt quite inadequate, and yet they seem to find admirable qualities in me.
Is this what we call grace? Words fail me.
"Who can faint while such a river, ever flows their thirst t'assuage?"
I expected to be blessed and grown, but I did not expect the kind of affirmation and admiration I experienced from such saints as I have served with at this ministry.
I expected critique—particularly the constructive kind—and appreciated it, eventually.
However, I had no idea of the kind of encouragement and affirmation my LORD had in store for me this summer.
"No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Cor 2:9)
I thought I came to serve, and I expected to be blessed in the serving, but I had no idea how richly I would be served.
At the beginning of this year I was humbled by criticism by loving friends, but this summer I've been humbled by the encouragement, admiration, and affirmation I've received.
It's easy to let it go to my head and see myself as great in the eyes of others.
However, when I catch a glimpse of my Savior behind each kind word I am reminded of my real reason for living.
He's making me more like himself and the kind words given are from him. I can feel his pleasure and it is not mercenary because that is my whole reason for living.
If I live for him than there is no greater joy than knowing he is pleased with me. I do not ignore the beautiful people he uses to speak his words of comfort to me, but when I see his face behind each kind word and precious smile there is less room for my own pride. The joy of knowing I have pleased the one I am living for pushes out all lesser motivations. My Lord, pleased with me?
There is humbling wonderment blended with purest joy in knowing we are actually pleasing to the one who has loved us so much. We can know that by his word, the testimony of his spirit within us, and by the encouragement of the saints. Who am I to have brought delight to his heart? Who am I to be died for? Who am I to be loved so?
I receive worth because of who I belong to. My greatest comfort and joy is knowing that I am not my own, but that I belong to another, and additionally that he delights in me.
One day I will discover how much I have been the delight of his heart, and that shall inspire deepest worship.
Until then I enjoy the glimpses of his pleasure I catch through the kind words of the saints.