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KEEPING THE FAITH | Are you receptive to the 'God Moments' in your life?

A God Moment is that personal encounter one may experience where God's purpose, presence and love is revealed. The results of these special moments usually are an awakening that God was interceding on your behalf. 
RevLewisMacklin032020
The Rev. Lewis W. Macklin

Have you been sensitive and receptive to God Moments?

A God Moment is that personal encounter one may experience where God's purpose, presence and love is revealed. Sometimes it may present itself through a message in a song or prayer. A God Moment may also be an episode where you experience the affirming words or actions of others unknowingly encouraging you while meeting a challenge. 

The results of these special moments usually are an awakening that God was interceding on your behalf. 

I make every effort daily to discover and appreciate the God moments in my life. The accompanying sense of serenity and peace often gives me the assurance that God either worked it or is working for my favor. 

There were numerous moments in my life, where I felt the move of God within my life. In the hectic pace of life, if we are not careful, we will miss the frequency of these amazing encounters. Yet, God has a way in these moments to capture our attention. I am convinced that this current pandemic has caused many of us to pause and reflect more often. 

"Faith Above Fear" has been a phrase repeated lately by others in response to the current challenges facing our community, nation and the world. Meant to be empowering, the powerful message contains great truth. However, I want to interject that one’s faith should be embedded with an even greater sense of hope and hopefulness. Jeremiah 29:11 declares, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Hope has been defined as "that stubborn thing inside of us that insists something better await us!" These words of wisdom were shared by a former scholar at Williamson Elementary School of the Youngstown City School. It captured my attention as it was incorporated within an art project. It has been some years but I have never forgotten the conviction expressed. 

A God Moment indeed!  

There are times you have to simply trust God, especially when it seems like everything around you is telling you to give up and to lose hope.  The late Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher, poetically reminds us that “Faith sees best in the dark!” Fear is often described in an acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real! 

Do not let the illusion of fear paralyze you.     

You might be in a season right now, where it feels like you are in a strange place, an uncomfortable time or an unfamiliar setting.  Everything around you feels strange, and you are struggling to hear the voice of God.  I encourage you to not give up your hope in God.  This is a time for you to have stubborn faith. Faith is not always warm and fuzzy! Faith does not always make sense. Faith is not a straight, logical line.  Faith often presents itself with twists and turns.  So wherever you find yourself right now, I want you to know God is with you.  

The Bible declares if "I ascend to the highest mountains, God is there, and if I make my bed in the lowest valley, God is there also."  

The Children of Israel had to sing the songs of Zion while they were in exile in Babylon. They had to sing about God, while they were captives. YET THEY NEVER STOPPED SINGING! I encourage you to keep a song in your heart and keep singing.  Keep on trusting.  Keep on believing.  Keep on holding your head up high, for you shall see the Goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 

Perhaps you are in a season where your faith is needed like never before. You are going through something right now that is telling you to give up and quit. God is getting ready to do a new thing. Hold fast for a God Moment! Resist putting your faith in what you can see. Instead, place your faith in God. You are so close to a life-altering God Moment. Press on with your faith in God.  

I can reflect upon an early God Moment when I was in fifth-grade at Mary Haddow School. I completed a math assignment that was written on the blackboard. My answers were wrong but right! How was this possible? Well, I inverted the numbers of the problems creating different problems. Showing my work (used to hate that phrase) Mrs. Sally Winsen could see I understood and mastered the concepts. I was stunned she still gave me an A on the assignment. 

Her rationale, it was a math exam, not an eye test. That day I realized the teacher's answer sheet was supplanted by her wisdom. Instead of proving the need for "those answers" it was more important to her that I understood and mastered the concepts. She encouraged me instead of deflating my best effort. 

Four decades later and I still feel the impact of that God Moment.

Reflect upon those God Moments you simply took for granted! God has kept you. What’s my proof? Where is my evidence? That’s YOU! You are still here! That’s a God Moment! When everything else tried to break you. You are still standing — a God Moment! When unexpected circumstances tried to break you, yet, you endured — a God Moment! When a pandemic tried to break you, but you are still here despite it all — that’s another God Moment. When fear tried to break, God whispered in your spirit — HOLD ON — that was a God Moment.  

Talk about a real-time God Moment: As I was finalizing this week’s article, my concentration was interrupted by a phone call. Answering the call, the person stated they are returning the call that I “just made.” My private number appeared on her Caller ID. Of course, I did not make the call and we both reasoned my number was populated in a robo call list. The person apologized and concluded saying, “Have a blessed day!” 

Something immediately resonated. I felt as if we knew each other and we continued to talk for a few more moments. The caller shared how she never takes an encounter with others for granted and appreciated talking to me. It was a God Moment indeed. It is my hope and prayer that you will embrace your precious and personal encounter of God Moments as well. 

Dear God,

I come with thanksgiving in my heart and with praise from within for I know there is nobody like You.  You have delivered me from the hands of those who sought to destroy me.  You have redeemed me back onto yourself.  When everyone gave up on me, when my heart was broken, You met me in that God Moment. Please shine and radiate Your Light in me, through me, over me. I pray for the patience to love myself. I pray for the grace to be kind to myself.  Help me to see myself the way You see me. When I am unable to see Your Glory, bless me with yet another God Moment to remind me that You would never leave me, that You would never forsake me. When challenge and circumstance tries to convince me to doubt You, may I seek the God Moment while never giving up and keep the faith. 

Amen

— The Rev. Lewis W. Macklin II serves as the lead pastor of Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, chaplain for the Youngstown Police Department and local coordinator for the African American Male Wellness Walk of the Mahoning Valley. He resides in Youngstown with Dorothy, his partner in marriage and ministry. They share the love and joy of six children and seven grandchildren.

All biblical citations are New Living Translation unless noted otherwise