O LORD, we wait for you;
your name and remembrance
are the desire of our soul.
9My soul yearns for you in the night;
my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
I'd like to start off with a verse...
Yeah, not just "kinda anticipating" or "sort of anticipating" but all-encompassing, wake-your-parents-up-at-1:30 a.m.-because-it's-technically-Christmas-morning anticipating. What in your personal calendar evokes that kind of response?
Undoubtedly, some of you are going to remember from whom this blog post comes or from which site it originated and put on your "church" hat and say, "I crave and hunger with a deep-seated desire to worship my God every Sunday!" Or others may say, "I wait daily and patiently for the Lord Jesus to return on that triumphant and glorious day!"
My next question is this, if those statements are true, would you look at your life and say that the statement and the reality match up? What about those around you, would they say the same?
What fills your conversations? What dominates your personal time? To borrow a question from brother Dave Ramsey, what is scrawled all over your checkbook? Yeah... gut-check time.
If you ask my wife, she'll tell you that very few days go by without me spending some time in front of my laptop, headphones on, listening to something, and more often than not, I'm humming along or singing softly (I hope) to some sort of praise and worship music.
"Oh, I do that too!" some will say. "I listen to K-LOVE when I work out." others will add.
That's fine and I'm ecstatic that you make those choices. My question still remains, though. Do you anticipate that time with the eagerness of a starving child who aches for food? Does your soul ache when it is not relating to God... or do you not even notice it?
I admit, sitting in my favorite restaurant, talking with friends, my mind wanders and drifts from my relationship with my Savior, and I've become convicted of this. At work, I make it a point to pray more often, so as to renew that connection.
How does one do this in a time and society that puts the highest price on our time? For that, I have only one word... surrender.
Please, take a moment to watch this video. You know what, take more than a moment, take five minutes and shut out the world, pop your headphones on or your earpods in and let the words of this wash over you.
Even the intro breaks my heart with a truth that I can honestly say that I don't do... yet. He says, "... and we commit all that we are to You, God and everything that we do... and we reach toward you, Jesus." It sounds great as an inter-song-prayer-type-thingy, but shouldn't it be more than that? Can any of us honestly say that we commit our whole selves to God? That everything that we say, and hear, and do are aimed at bringing glory to Him? For those who know Christ, this task is the only task that we will know in Heaven, bringing praise and honor and glory to the Creator of the universe. Then why... why do we presume and impose the belief that we ought to be doing something else on earth when we will spend eternity doing something completely different?!?!
For me and I suspect others, it's because we have this illusion of control over our lives. And yet, how much control do we honestly believe that we have over our lives? The answer is none. We have to look at our God, fall to our knees, and realize that He holds our very breaths in His hands. We have only one option. I even hate that word, "option," but in this context it fits. Our only option, the only one is to do what we in our sinful nature and our prideful hearts cannot and will not do... surrender.
I sat listening to YouTube videos this evening, putting the finishing touches on a painting that I'd worked on all week and the weekend. Our daughter had gotten up for a drink a few minutes earlier and had gone back to bed, or so I thought. Instead, as I glanced over my shoulder, I saw her watching me as my brush moved across the canvas constructing the image that I had in my mind. She grinned sheepishly and ran off to bed, but I was struck by a thought that brings tears to my eyes even now as I write this blog entry.
My daughter realized tonight that art is important to her father, but do my children know how important Jesus is in my life? Do they know that my every waking thought and every willful gesture is aimed at furthering His kingdom and His message of grace across the world? Do they see a father who is doing his best to heed the call to be like Christ?
My prayer is that my children don't see a father whose aims are to make money, retire comfortably, and vacation when the whim hits me. My prayer is that my children don't see a father whose aims are to fill my life with entertainment, pastimes, and and games until the serious stuff comes up.
My prayer is that my children do see a father who takes his faith seriously, who strives daily to grow closer to God, and makes it a point to engage the culture about their faith. My prayer is that my children do see a father who puts the will of God above everything else that this world pulls away from, that distracts from an eternal perspective, and diverts our attention from the only reason worth doing anything.
My heart is that everyone finds a way to move past themselves and towards an amazing God. We may have to forego some things that seem so important to us right now, but between you and me, I cannot... I just can't allow myself to get to Heaven, look back and think to myself, "Why did I waste so much time and energy on that? There's not a single soul here because I did that. The kingdom of God didn't grow in the slightest because I spent time doing that."
My prayer is that you don't have that thought one day, either. First, however, we have to take the hardest step... we have to surrender our lives (yeah, the whole thing) to God.
"... and we commit all that we are to You, God and everything that we do... and we reach toward you, Jesus."
Much love to you all,