Sunday night and the music was amazing at church. The sung worship felt great and it was obvious that the Holy Spirit was moving in a powerful way. I was only there as the result of a last minute decision. It might have been my last minute decision, Lord, but you knew I'd be there. At least, that's what it felt like.
The songs were special to me.
'...When trials come, how you so easily forget
Cast all your burdens upon the Lord
Jesus cares, he cares for you'
Robert Critchley, 2001 Kingsway/Thankyou Music
I've had a horrible time recently and the last week knocked me for six. I've been aware of you, Lord; I don't think I've ever made such an effort to try to stay close to you - I've been struggling that much. If I'm trying for a deeper relationship with you, so that I can be of some use to you, then it's bound to get messy, isn't it?
But have I cast my burdens on the you? Nowhere near as much as I could have, I guess. I've moaned about them, felt how heavy they were, told anyone who'd listen what a bad time I'm having; poked and prodded them and limped on, but I never actually handed them over.
That song moved into another.
'Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord'
Brenton Brown/Ken Riley 2006 Survivor Records
I was singing with all my heart and I heard your voice speaking so clearly. You said three words to me three or more times.
You said, 'Always more strength'.
I've been so tired. I've been physically tired as Katy is going through a phase where she needs attention several times a night; I've been tired as I've been unwell (have I mentioned that, Lord?) and I've been emotionally and spiritually tired too. It's as if all the rubbish happening recently has taken it out of me; all the wondering I've been doing about why all the bad things, the mistakes, the inconveniences and the accidents; why are they all happening?.
I've been so determined that I'm going to be faithful despite all these attempts to derail me, but best intentions aside, I've felt defeated. Nothing much left; so the next thing to knock me off my perch might just have seen me lie there without getting up for the next punch.
'You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint You won't grow weary'
But you don't grow faint or weary. I do. You aren't worn down by the odd misfortune like I am. And you'll never leave me. You'll never be defeated. And there you were on Sunday night gently telling me that I just need to stick with you because neither will I. You have enough strength for me too.
Always more strength.
'You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles'
I am weak and I can stand defended by you. If I wait upon you, you will lift me up and give me a new strength.
'...but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.'
If I hope in you, you'll keep on recharging me. I will never run out of strength. On my own I'll tire so quickly. But if I wait upon you; if I listen, watch, talk to you, stay close to you, listen some more, learn from you, then you will renew my strength until I am as gravity defying as an eagle.
I can soar, not trudge.
I can fly high, not fall flat.
I can do great things, because I am powered by you.
What a promise is that?! I sang my heart out as if I were in front of your very throne, and you spoke to me. You smiled and said, 'Always more strength'.
At times like that, I feel as if I'm overflowing with love for you; with awe and praise. I feel that I want eternity to start right now because there is going to be nothing better than to sit in front of you and worship for ever. My God, who created the universe, who died and rose again, who understands everything, for whom nothing is impossible - the Lord - you touched me on an ordinary Sunday night in our church just to assure me that you are there, you have always been there, and you are enough for me.
I am not defeated as there is always more strength available.
"Always more strength."