Page 234 was another day with an early start as I was awake and on my way to work before the sun came up. It was a rainy start to the day and I was anxious to see if my most recent work on the leaks around the skylights had worked. When I arrived at work the rain was still all outside with none of it leaking through the roof, so I went about my normal morning prayer, cleaning and building prep time.
Once the building was ready for the day, I took the time to write yesterday’s page then turned my attention to getting next week’s prayer guide formatted and scheduled to be published on my website and sent out via email. As I scheduled it to post on the Impact Prayer Ministry website on Sunday, I noticed that this one will be the 235th weekly prayer guide that I have written and shared! While there have been a few that I’ve reused over the years, most of them have been unique topics that come from my prayer time. While it is tempting and easy for me to get caught up in reader and view numbers, in likes and shares and other such data, the 235 is probably the more meaningful number as it represents a faithfulness in doing a task God put before me. What began in November of 2012 as a six week focus to help a congregation pray for one another, has turned into what I always pray is a weekly encouragement for people to continue to grow in a lifestyle of prayer.
Once I had the prayer guide ready for Sunday, the rest of my morning was spent on small tasks in the building. As I worked, I continued to pray about a retreat concept I am working on, and spent time with God examining its purpose and how He would want this tool to be used for His glory. I eventually finished up my work day by looking at, and praying about, some retreat location possibilities. It is easy for me to let fear dominate my life, one of the reasons why prayer ministry is such an integral part of who I am and what I do, and I suspect God is using this next aspect of ministry to increase my faith and to grow my trust in Him.
By mid-afternoon my workday was done so I got lunch on the way home with a plan to meet my mom and dad for dinner as it is dad’s birthday. After working on some things at home, I began to not feel well so I stretched out on the couch to get some rest before dinner. I didn’t pay attention to what time it was when I laid down, but I slept deeply enough that my hand stayed asleep long after the rest of me woke up. I guess dinner with mom and dad will have to wait another day or two as my body simply said, “Enough!” After dinner at home, I started to write today’s page but couldn’t stay focused very long so I set it aside and am finishing it the next morning.
As I didn’t take any new photos, today’s photo is one from Saturday night’s trip to Lake Michigan. The setting was perfect. The sun was dropping behind the Chicago skyline, boats were coming in and out of the harbor, and I was in a position to capture some beautiful moments of the sun appearing to melt into the horizon. One big problem. Sometime prior to this outing, I had changed my camera settings for a specific purpose but didn’t change them back to appropriate settings for a sunset. While I like the content of many of the photos I took that evening, most of the photos are so grainy that I’m not satisfied with how they turned out. Yes, there is no one to blame but myself. And yes, they still have a beauty about them that some may enjoy. But I know I could have done better. I don’t have the skill, ability, or knowledge to make these better, but I do have the ability to learn from this incident and have better photos in the future if I consistently apply what I learn.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- A roof will likely not leak when the sun is shining. It is the rains of life that put our covering to the test.
- Longevity at anything never happens until long after you begin.
- Looking back can help us see how far we’ve come, but if we look back for too long it can also distract us from seeing where we should be headed.
- The task you begin today may only be meant for today, but it may also be meant for the days ahead — the best plan is to do today’s task and see if God puts it before you again tomorrow.
- It is tempting to be impressed with statistics. It is more useful to be impressed with faithfulness.
- Most, if not all, of what God calls us to do will require that we trust Him. God’s not as interested in teaching us a task as He is in helping us learn trust and faithfulness through the tasks He sets before us.
- Sometimes things don’t turn out as we expect or had hoped and sometimes it is even our fault. In all times, but especially in those times, it is important to accurately evaluate and learn from what we did.
- God has the ability to make a beautiful masterpiece through our life even when we mess up. He doesn’t just “photoshop” us, He transforms us into what He pictured to begin with.