Youth groupies from my first year at Desert Spring (10 years ago). I thank, praise, and bless God for the ways in which they changed my life. (Brooke, Maggie, Paul, Michael, Melodee, Victoria, Brianne, Giovanni, Lewie, Simon, Gio, Elizabeth, Kristen, Conner)
The Wednesday Word Devotional – “Blessing God”
by Julie Hart, Director of Connectional Ministries
As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. Psalm 42:1
On Sunday, Pastor David preached on Psalm 104. This psalm starts and ends with this line:
Let my whole being bless the Lord.
Wait. What? Let ME bless the Lord?That’s not how it goes, right?The Lord blesses ME, not the other way around.I am human, mortal, a sinner. God is mighty and perfect.How am I supposed to bless God?
As I looked into this whole idea of blessing God, I learned a few things that helped me to understand this concept.
The Hebrew word barak [ברכה לכרוע] means to bless — to kneel in reverence. When we humble ourselves before God in recognition of what God has done in our lives, we are blessing God.
As I thought about this idea of blessing God, a hymn came into my mind. It’s probably a song that you too have sung many times. It is called “As the Deer.” The lyrics that run throughout the song go: You alone are my heart’s desire and I long to worship Thee. The text for this hymn is taken from Psalm 42, which is actually a psalm of lament. The psalmist is discouraged. He is longing to feel the presence of God, as the deer longs for water. And, just as the deer cannot survive without water, the psalmist knows that he cannot survive without God. His blessing of God comes from a place of hope.
What about you? When have you been discouraged and overwhelmed by life’s struggles? When have you longed to feel the presence of God and the assurance that you were not alone? Maybe you are in that place right now. Maybe you are lamenting things in your life that have not gone as planned. Maybe you don’t see a way to get to the stream. Maybe you are struggling to praise and thank God because you struggle to see the blessings in your life. I’ve been there! I think we have all been there.
If you can’t seem to find the blessings in your life at this moment, and the light at the end of the tunnel is dim and distant, I encourage you to look back on the past blessings of your life. The times that you can look back on now and recognize that God was at work in your life, even when you were not aware. As Pastor David put it – the “God moments.” David shared some of the “God moments” from his life with us and asked us to consider what those times have been.
For me, one of those times is the time that brought me to be on staff here at Desert Spring. I had done “church work” in the past and had moved on to a job with the county where I had been for nearly a decade. I enjoyed my job and I was even pretty good at it. I liked the people I worked with and felt a sense of purpose in the work that I was doing. I wasn’t looking for a change. So when I was asked to consider leaving the security of the job that I had to come and be the youth director here, I actually fell off of my chair laughing! I tried to get others to laugh with me — my spiritual mentor, my mom, my husband at the time, my kids. But guess what? None of them laughed. All of them reminded me how much I had loved my time in youth ministry in the past.
I did not listen to them of course! I was certain that they had all taken leave of their senses. But then God woke me up in the middle of the night one night and showed me that I was supposed to do this. I had a long list of reasons why I shouldn’t and couldn’t. But God assured me that I could. Fast forward to a decade later and, it turns out, God was right! It has been blessing upon blessing since that night. You have been a blessing to me. For that I praise God!
Okay, your turn. What are the “God moments” in your life?
Is it an unexpected opportunity that came your way and changed the course of your life? A person who showed up in your life at just the right time? An answered prayer?
Take a moment right now to bless God by sharing what that means to you. I invite you to kneel in reference as you do so. Maybe even close your time of blessing God with these words: You alone are my heart’s desire and I long to worship Thee.
Thanks be to God.