Do you remember when I said I was going through a rough patch a while back?
It was a season that started much earlier than the day I finally mustered the courage to admit it and ask for help.
It started around the time the 52 Weeks of Gratefulness posts stopped.
One of the first things Satan attacked was my thankfulness. There was a campaign to maximize self by emphasizing my trouble and minimizing the triumph I have in Christ.
Earlier last year, I was in a very dark place. I came to a point where after over 20 years preaching the gospel I was ready to walk away from God. Some people who have heard that thought I was overstating the case, that I was exaggerating or that I’m being dramatic. But, no. I began to doubt the very existence of God. I started questioning the reality of His person, His power and His presence based on what I thought should (or shouldn’t) be happening in my life.
There were a lot of things that led to that moment, aging loved ones, difficulty in my marriage, financial troubles, but it came to a head during a really rough summer for my business. It was worse than it had been in a long time. I was finding it difficult to cover basic expenses. It just felt like I had been struggling forever. Here I am following God, trying to honor Him, but there just doesn’t seem to be any relief or breakthrough, and for all I’ve done, I’m still a failure.
But, thanks be to God that even though I was ready to walk away, I found that I wasn’t holding on to God, God was holding on to me! His Word came to me as gentle as a whisper “Where are you?” When God asks a question, it’s not because He needs information but because He is trying to show us something. His question began a dialog called prayer where I confessed my anger, my frustration and how I just don’t feel God anymore.
God gave me one verse. He brought to remembrance one line and made it burn on my heart (this is why it is vital to get the Word in you.) That verse was Proverbs 18:1 “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.”
The idea was that part of my problem was that I was focused on myself. I had allowed a root of bitterness to spring up in me and I went into myself, crawling into the dungeon of my heart to nurse and steep in that bitterness. In doing that I had cut myself off. But God gave me a Word that prompted me to seek His face in the presence of His people.
So, I stepped out on that Word and that led to me attending the Men’s luncheon that they host at New Horizons here in Starkville, and that led to me engaging with Brian Spencer at the gym, and that led to me attending my first Man Church and that led to me developing new relationships and my wife and I started hosting a marriage ministry in our home and you know what I found? The Word of God is true! I found revival in the presence of His people.
Look, I have long considered myself a rabid introvert. I am not fond of being around people. I like being by myself, I’d rather be by myself. Being around a lot of people was torture and zapped all the strength out of me. When I’m around people for an extended amount of time, I go home and just collapse and sleep for the rest of the day because of how much it takes out of me.
But now since I’ve tasted the sweet communion of being in the presence of God with other believers, since I’ve experienced Christ where two or three are gathered in His name, I’ve been going out, seeking Him out almost every day.
I’m not talking about “going to church”. I’m talking about seeking to live and function along with other members of the Body of Christ and being the church.
Thankfulness is not just something you should remember to do occasionally, thankfulness should be developed and practiced as a discipline. “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” -1 Thessalonians 5:18
Thankfulness is a practical and important tactical maneuver in spiritual warfare.
So, in Week 1 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ. It saved my life.
If you prayed for me, thank you. The prayers were effective.
I’m thankful. #52wog
Pictured is a regular get together with other members of a marriage ministry Melissa Luckett and I attended that was hosted by Pearson & Pepper Liddell. It was the first place we encountered authentic church.
Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.