I’m not sure how I got there. Sometimes my Sabbath hike prayer time flows from one stage to another in orderly sequence. Other times, it gets pretty random. As I walked through Sullivan Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains yesterday (enjoy the pics – I enjoyed taking them!), I had one of those random moments.
I decided to tell God what it was about Him that made me glad. I began listing the reasons, completing this phrase: “Lord, I am glad that _______.” A mile later, I wasn’t done. Half a mile or so after that, I finally moved on to something else. But I knew that I was far from exhausting the list.
Some of the reasons for my gladness were predictable. “I’m glad for my wife, my kids, my grandson, my church.” “I’m glad that you’ve forgiven me for the stupid stuff I did this week.” “I’m glad that you love me at my most unlovable.”
Some were driven by Scripture and theology. “I’m glad for the tough times you send my way.” “I’m glad that You are all-powerful, faithful, unchangeable.”
Some were quirky. “I’m glad for opposable thumbs” (yeah, I really prayed that – a first for me, as far as I can recall). “I’m glad for the silence between the notes in a song.” “I’m glad for my senses.”
One was directly related to the way I pursue Sabbath rest. “Lord, I’m glad that you have invited me to walk with you, that You accept to walk with me, and that I will never walk alone.”
Something powerful happened. The more I told Him what it was that made me glad, the gladder I became. I experienced the unexpressed benefits that come to us when we obey a command written to a church in Philippi 2000 years ago: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil. 4:8) For thirty minutes or so, I consciously thought about those things. And it was wonderful.
Can I challenge you to give it a try? Find a quiet place, turn off the outside world for a few minutes, and just start telling God what He has done to make you glad. You may wind up needing more time than you expected when you started. But however long it takes, I’m confident it will be worth your while.
I learned today that some form of the word “glad” appears almost 50 times in the Psalms. In one of the them, King David writes this: “May all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You. May those who love Your salvation say evermore, ‘God is great!’”” (Psalm 126:3)
I love the salvation that I have received and don’t deserve, so I say without hesitation, “God is great!” And it makes me smile to know that those who seek Him can also be glad in Him.