You never know what will happen when you start your day. You wake up, you have your plans, your schedule is laid out, you have a to-do list and you are off to the races. But how often does our plan get side-tracked or interrupted?
As a pastor, I’m always on call in case there is an emergency with someone in our church. I don’t mind this, it’s what I signed up for when I decided to become a pastor. Last week I started the day as usual. I got up, went to the Y to work out, came home, took a shower, ate breakfast, headed to work. Once I was at work I spent a few minutes reading my Bible and journaling. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to read in my Bible that morning. I am normally quite intentional in what I’m reading but that day I just wasn’t sure where to start.
When this happens I usually go to the Psalms. The book of Psalms is a can’t miss encouraging word from the Lord. But which of the 150 Psalms was I going to choose? I had no idea. But then I remembered something I heard in a podcast the day before about Psalm 87. So, I thought I’ll just read Psalm 87 and it will remind me of what I learned yesterday. But after I read it, I realized that wasn’t the Psalm they were talking about. So I looked over to the other side of the page and saw the heading “Great is Your Steadfast Love” over Psalm 86. I thought to myself, “that sounds encouraging, I’ll read that!”
Psalm 86 is a wonderful message of God’s steadfast love. Verse 1 says, “Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.” Perfect. I am definitely poor and needy in spirit today, O Lord, listen to my cries for forgiveness and please strengthen my spirit today.” I read the rest of the Psalm which is also super encouraging and then wrote out a prayer in my journal.
I continued on with my day which was pretty full of work I had to do for an upcoming Men’s Retreat. After lunch around 1:30, I received a text which sounded pretty grim. Someone was in the hospital and was gravely ill. At this point, emergencies like this take precedence over anything else I had to do the rest of the day. So I called another pastor who I knew would want to join me and off to the hospital we went.
Fortunately, when we got to the hospital our friend had taken a turn for the better. Although they are still not out of the woods yet, there was more hope in the afternoon than in the morning. Whenever I go to the hospital to visit someone I always take my Bible. Most hospital visits are planned and I know what passage I will use to encourage them. But when you have to go to the hospital on the spur of the moment you don’t have time to plan.
That’s why I was glad I read my Bible that morning. Unbeknownst to me, God had led me to Psalm 86 that morning. And it just so happened that Psalm 86 was a perfect fit for this visit. Had I not take the few minutes to start my day with Bible reading, I would not have had that Psalm to share. I really felt it was one of those “God moments” where He provides exactly what we need at just the right time.
You may not have to visit someone in the hospital today, but you may need to encourage a co-worker. You may need to give wise advice to your child who is struggling with friends. You may be feeling anxious and worried about where you will get the money to fix your car that didn’t pass inspection. And in those times, the best place to find hope and encouragement is your Bible.
Psalm 86:6 says, “Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.”
You or someone you know needs the grace of the gospel today. Have you taken time to meditate on that grace as found in the Scriptures? Are you ready to minister to someone with the truest words of encouragement that have ever been written? The words of Scripture bring the healing, help, hope, and grace of the gospel. And we all know, it’s the gospel that changes everything!
All for Jesus,