Adoring Spectator

Sunday, New Year’s Day our hearts were moved to tears through dance as a display of praise was demonstrated to a Faithful Father. She was an adoring spectator. Despite experiencing much pain in the past year she chose to express thanks and in doing so ushered each of us to join her as adoring spectators in offering praise to our Creator God!

Robert Murray McCheyne was used by God to start an amazing revival in Dundee, Scotland in the early 1800’s. He died at the age of 29, after being a part of an amazing move of God. He is quoted as saying, “Rather than having been an instrument of the Lord, all I was, was an adoring spectator.

What a profound combination of words I thought to myself as I spent time journaling. The more days I spend on this earth the more I realize the truth of these two words: adoring spectator. As I reflected back on 2022 and all its twists and turns, I acknowledge the Sovereign hand of God behind all the weavings of His divine tapestry. We have really been called as McCheyne said, to be “adoring spectators” of all His mighty works in our lives.

This does not mean we are called to inaction, rather to “walk by faith and not by sight,” as each day His “everlasting arms” carry us every step of the way.

I took my first trip to South Africa in 2003, traveling with my step dad Bill. 20 years ago I was a young pastor who took up the challenge from a Promise Keepers event. World Vision sought to inform Christian leaders about the pandemic of HIV Aids and the wave of destruction in its wake. To be honest I really had no desire to go to Africa. But when my legs became weak and started shaking, I felt pulled by a spiritual force. Somehow I found myself walking towards the front of the venue, dropping to my knees with my face on the ground.

I could have never envisioned that many years later, I would be part of a ministry called Oceans and Patty and I would be living at Oceans Retreat Center where the currents of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans intertwine in South Africa. Only God!

As the New Year arrived Patty and I spent time worshiping our Faithful Father God as adoring spectators. We have witnessed His supernatural works beyond our tiny understanding. He has provided through His precious people-prompted only by His Spirit to give. He has opened and closed doors for our good and His glory. He has orchestrated divine appointments according to His perfect plan not ours.

He has often reminds us that we are not in control. He is. He carries us through our pain, problems, and spiritual battles with sin, Satan, and a seductive world- and He reaches out His hand calling us to healing and forgiveness by receiving in faith the broken body and shed blood of His Son Jesus.

Psalm 46 is a text, which I have turned to often to help me be an adoring spectator. The entirety of this well-known Psalm shouts clearly to us, especially in our world today, how we can be an adoring spectator. It is best summarized in verses 10-11:

Surrender your anxiety. Be still and realize that I am God. I am God above the nations, and I am exalted throughout the whole earth. Here He stands! The Commander! The mighty LORD of Angel Armies is on our side! The God of Jacob fights for us! (TPT).

The Psalmist shows us how to live as an adoring spectator in the midst of a busy, crazy, distracted world, “Be still and know…” As you enter into 2023 take some time to be quiet in His presence and look back at all the ways Father God has carried you close to His loving heart. That same Faithful Father will continue to cradle you in 2023 and ultimately on to your eternal home.

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