snailI recently had a conversation with a pastor who was discouraged with the progress his church was making. He felt like things were going at a snail’s pace and nothing was getting done. He just couldn’t seem to get all the pieces moving forward at once.

Eventually he said, “Maybe I’m not looking at the right indicators of success. What would be the more appropriate indicators of success?” As he thought aloud he found himself focusing on who was getting it, where he saw God at work, and what evidence of transformation he could see.

In our efforts to make progress, we sometimes miss where God is working. We can neglect the people and the opportunities where there’s a great deal of potential. If we start with what is working, we can then look toward how we can cooperate with the progress that already exists.  How can we get more people on board? How can we move toward the tipping point for transformation?  We rehearse the changes we’re seeing in other people and in ourselves; we rehearse what God has done.  That encouragement that yields encourages us to get back into the game.

We see the same pattern in the Psalms. Even in the face of difficulties and very real challenges, recounting the blessings of God helps us move forward.  Meditate on Psalm 136 for further insight into this dynamic.