So here's the deal. I had originally typed up quite the post talking about what God is doing in my life but for some reason my iPhone decided it would be cool to delete it all once I had finished. So although what I had previously typed up is gone forever, never to resurface on the Internet again, I have decided to begin writing another one simply because I have an incredible blessing to talk about. I'm going to try and remember all that I had written but obviously it will be a little different.
I've been reading through the book of Psalms for the past 330 days as a part of my reading plan. Each day, I'm given a checkbox with a new Psalm next to it. Every Psalm has its own characteristics and message but there has been one aspect of so many Psalms that has stuck out to me as I was reading. The majority of the Psalmists include a praise to God for what He is doing in the author's life. David gives thanks to the Lord with his whole heart (Psalm 9:1). The Sons of Korah invite readers to "behold the works of the Lord" and shout, "Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God!" (Psalms 46 and 48). Asaph "remembers the deeds of the Lord" and "meditates on [God's] mighty deeds" (Psalm 77).
Throughout the New Testament we find the Apostle Paul giving glory to God. In Ephesians 1 Paul writes 11 verses on how great his God is:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In lovehe predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christas a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory." (Ephesians 3-14).
Paul and all of the Psalmists knew how great God truly is. They understood that nothing they could ever dream of doing was even comparable to all that God had done and all that God will continue to do. They knew that all blessings came from God and He was worthy of praise for that truth. They also understood that even in the most tragic of circumstances, whether it be imprisonment, exile, war, or persecution, God was still there.
I've found in my own life that I do not always give God the glory for the amazing things He does in my life. Cursed by sin and bound by pride, I deceive myself to think that the blessings I receive are the fruits of my own labor, the sweat from my own brow. Little do I think to give the God that formed me and saved me even the recognition of a hallelujah.
How often do I go without thanking Him with a sincere prayer of genuine thanks and gratitude? It occurs far too often.
My own spiritual convictions have urged me to remember the things God does in my life and the many amazing blessings He gives to me. I've decided to write out one such blessing for the duration of this post.
Around March of last year I had decided I was going to transfer to Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. I also knew that I wanted to apply to the Honors Program at Liberty so I soon began the work of the application process. I spent a little over two weeks gathering letters of recommendation from my professors, mentors, and pastors. With the acquisition of my final transcript, I sealed the brown envelope addressed to The Liberty Honors Program and sent it with many prayers.
While I was in Duchesne, UT in July, I received a call from my mom asking if she could open the long-awaited letter from Liberty concerning my Honors Program application. I asked her to read me the contents within and in a rather sombre voice she broke the news of my application being rejected for Fall semester. At the time I was pretty broken about it. As a college student, I had planned my entire life around the idea of me being accepted into this program. I'm sure many of my colleagues understand this feeling as well. It's really quite astounding how many students plan their entire schedule around one set of classes to soon find they are all full before they can even remove the holds on their accounts. We feverishly click the refresh button until enrollment opens and then spend the first ten frantic minutes trying to fill our 18 credits with classes we actually need. At the end of the war with your trackpad, your schedule is filled with Art Appreciation, Theater, Bowling, African History, and one class you actually need.
All that said, I was pretty bummed to have been rejected. But what happens when you get rejected? You move on and forget about it. And that is what I did. At least that is what I did until this past Saturday.
As I was sitting in class on Monday I felt a vibration from my phone meaning I had either another junk e-mail or someone had retweeted me. With the prospect of being retweeted in mind, I looked at my phone with excitement (not entirely serious) only to be filled with disappointment at a seemingly generic email from the Honors Program. I almost deleted it after skimming through the email the first time but I decided to go through once again with a little more attentiveness.
The email basically said that if I was able to provide a transcript with at least a 3.5 GPA before the beginning of Spring semester, than they would be willing to offer me a spot in the Honors Program along with a scholarship. I was still pretty skeptical because of the anonymity of the email and actually had a couple people read it to tell me their first impression. Both assumed the same things I had felt when reading through it. Despite my apprehension, I decided it would be better to just go and talk with the office than continue to battle my mind and over-analyze the purpose of the email.
I made my way to the third floor of one of the buildings on campus where the office is located. I walked through the doorway and approached the desk of the assistant. It was the same name from the email I had received. I kind of stood there awkwardly until she asked if she could help me with anything. I fumbled my words a bit but managed to expel something that resembled a sentence about receiving an email concerning acceptance to the Honors Program for the Spring semester. She asked me my name and I replied. She then shuffled through a few of the papers on her desk until she located a thick manila folder with my name on the outer flap. She flipped open the folder revealing the application I had sent in over 8 months ago. On top of the stack of papers was a yellow sheet titled "Honors Program Agreement." Below was a line for my signature. After reading through the agreement, I signed the paper and the assistant pulled out a list of classes I would be able to sign up for.
I seriously couldn't believe all that was happening. It didn't seem like it was happening. About a week previous I wasn't even thinking about the Honors Program, let alone deciding what classes I would be signing up for. A week ago I didn't think I would be sitting in that office essentially deciding my future at Liberty. My mind had so cleverly deceived itself into believing that the generic nature of the email indicated a hopeless endeavor.
I'm sure I looked like quite the idiot when I asked "So wait, does this mean I'm in the program?" I'm sure she thought to herself, "Kid, you're about to get rejected again..." But that's what is so funny about it! I still couldn't believe I had been accepted! I'm not even saying this for dramatic effect of anything! I could not believe that God had decided to bless me with such a great opportunity. I could not understand why He would allow me to be accepted over more than 125 other very well-qualified candidates. Why me God? Why do You choose to bless me?
After making a very impressive fool of myself, I exited the office and went to sit on the front steps of Demoss before the bus came to take me back to my dorm. All I could do was read through the agreement I had just signed and thank God for the opportunity He has blessed me with.
I know it may be understandable to some to explain my acceptance as my own hard work and my own effort, but Who gave me the abilities and talents to even be a competitive candidate? Who gave me the perseverance to work hard in my education? Who knew what I would accomplish before I was even formed in the womb?
I have no other explanation besides God's obvious hand in my life. What other reason could I possibly find to describe the undeserved blessing I have experienced in this life? I do not deserve any of the things my God gives to me. Not even something as insignificant as being accepted into a program that has the possibility of causing me to be prideful. I don't deserve the Spirit my Lord has given me. I don't deserve the salvation He has provided for me through the death He died for me.
Why God? Why do You continue to love and bless me? I feel I will not truly understand this until I ask you face-to-face in Your Kingdom. Until then Lord.