Sunday, August 19, 2012

First day in Redding

This morning we woke up to the outline of palm trees against the dawn sky. Redding is a beautiful, sprawling city with a mountainous horizon and neat landscaping. And the people are extraordinarily friendly and polite, even amidst frenzied back-to-school shopping in Target. I didn't really expect that. 

We went to church at Bethel, the 8:30 am service. We got there 45 minutes early and already, one-third of the seats were taken. As I listened to Jesus Culture warm up to lead worship, I closed my eyes and felt the bass reverberate deep in my chest. We're finally here, I thought. For ten months, this is what we've been waiting for. 

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant in the trial and the change
One Thing remains

The service started. The presence of God was thick in the room. I was warm and electric with it. And in that moment that I've been dreaming about for the better part of a year, I found myself thinking, Lord, I miss home and camp. Will you meet me here the way you did there? 

Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me. 

In the sermon based on David's experiences in 1 Samuel 26-30, Eric Johnson talked about how there are times when we feel displaced or alone, when we need to learn how to strengthen ourselves in the Lord and not rely on others to do it for us. We need to remind ourselves of the promises He's given us and of how He sees us. 

In a vulnerable moment, this hearing impaired son of one of the greatest healing revivalists of our time shared about how weary we can get in our pursuit of the promises of God. How, like many of David's men in 1 Samuel 30, sometimes we just need to sit by the stream and rest for a while. 

On and on and on and on it goes
And it overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One Thing remains

In the afternoon, we sat by the pool in the dry 38-degree weather sipping lattes and watching the kids swim. It was glorious. And a few tears slid down under my sunglasses as I thought about what we left behind. 

I will remind myself of His promises. And I will sit by the stream and rest for awhile. 

- Anne

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