A few things God’s put on my heart of late:
1) Today as I was praying about some things in my life that are going somewhat differently than I would like, I was drawn toward the plaintive cry of the psalmist: “How long, O Lord?” Almost immediately, the Spirit gave me a quick little nudge that amounted to, “I wish you wanted me as badly as you want comfort.”
He’s right (shocking, eh?). I often cry out “how long O Lord” with reference to trials I’m undergoing on earth, but I tend not to treat my separation from him as the worst of my trials. It’s rare that I beg him to give me a desire for him that supersedes my desire for comfort. Funny how I treat the root of all sorrow–my cut-off from him–so matter-of-factly, while the shadow of sorrow enacted on earth throws me for a loop every time. Even when I wish he would come back soon, it’s usually less about my excitement to see him face to face, and more about the fact that life isn’t going my way. I wish I savored Christ more richly.
2) When our response to blessing ends in gratitude, we’re squandering opportunity. Blessings are to be spread, not hoarded. While it’s important to be grateful for the blessings we’re given, they are not given primarily for our joy, but for God’s glory. We’re blessed so that we can be bless others. I was thanking God for a full tank of gas while going through a quick gratitude check-in the other day, and he pushed back a little with, “How are you going to bless someone with that?” It was a great reminder that yes, he provides and blesses, but no blessing should end with me.
3) Jehovah Jireh will provide. It’s his nature and joy to care for his children. As I’ve been studying provision lately, I’ve noticed that Paul really harps on the themes of gratitude and provision; you know, the same Paul who was beaten, stoned, whipped, shipwrecked, bitten by a poisonous snake, left hungry and cold and frustrated by the churches he’d helped to plant. That Paul, who had pretty much the worst life ever, could still rejoice and say that God provides. Clearly he was looking beyond the dictates of this world to decipher the definition of provision. It’s easy to fear hunger or cold or beatings or poisonous snakes when I read those accounts, but I can’t forget that Paul was joyful in all that; he could choose joy because he had met Christ intimately, and therefore knew that Christ was and is better than anything the world can offer. I want to get to a point where I can accept whatever God provides with gratitude, joy, and the certainty that what he’s provided, and nothing more, is truly what I need.