Reunite With Delight - A Repost

No+excuses!.png

For children, delight is easy to come by. A new toy. Recess. A trip to the zoo. A loose tooth. Christmas. Yes, each of these things and many more bring a gleam to the eye and a smile to the face of youngsters across the globe. But in the grown-up world of jobs, traffic, deadlines, and bills, delight is harder to come by. Perhaps that’s why so many of us struggle with the concept of delighting in the Lord. We want to be happy and joyful. We want to sing praises and give worship to God because we know He’s worthy. But how do we force ourselves to feel delighted when the emotion isn’t there?

“Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

— Psalm 37:4

Does anybody else cringe when reading this verse? Delight thyself also in the Lord. Up to this point in the chapter, the psalmist (under the inspiration of God) has ordered, “Don’t worry, don’t be envious of others, trust in the Lord, and do good."  And then, on top of everything else, he continues, “And delight yourself in the Lord.” Seriously? I can’t even get the first command in check, and now you want me to smile and praise like I don’t have a care in the world? I read that verse, and instead of finding comfort, I see one more demand on my time, energy, and resources. But more than that, I see one more area in which I feel like a spiritual failure.

This morning, however, I took the time to dig into the meaning behind the command, and I discovered something that changes everything. Once again, I had limited God’s Word to my feeble understanding by concluding the word “delight” meant only one thing—to be happy. But if you study it out, you’ll find the word actually has multiple meanings, and those other meanings transform this command into a reprieve or respite. 

The Hebrew word translated “delight” means “to be happy about; to be soft and pliable; to be pampered.” Yes, the Lord wants us to be happy in Him and to experience joy in His presence. He longs for us to desire and obey Him, to long to please Him. But, it goes beyond that. He also wants to see us soft and pliable, as clay in the Potter’s hands, ready and willing to be molded as He sees fit. The good news for us here is that we don’t have to do the work. We only have to be willing to allow God to work in and through us. We don’t have to determine the how or why, nor do we have to figure out how to make everything come together as we feel it should. God does the work. He is the Potter, and we are the clay.

Better still, to delight in the Lord is to be pampered by Him. We rarely think of the Lord pampering us, but isn’t that precisely what He does when He pours down blessings on us time after time. He responds to our every cry and meets our every need. When He asks us to delight in Him, He does not intend to burden us with another item on our to-do list but rather to invite us to rest in His presence and allow Him to lavish attention on us. Think about it for a moment. One-on-one time with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That’s something special—remarkable even. And we’re invited to spend time in His presence anytime we want for as long as we want. We can talk, listen, or just enjoy the silence. God offers us a time to come away from the world—the grown-up world of jobs, traffic, deadlines, and bills—and to reunite with delight.

Delight thyself in the Lord. It's more than an emotion.  It's a choice.  A choice to rejoice even when we don't feel like it.  A choice to allow God to mold and make us into what He wants us to be.  And a choice to rest in His embrace and allow Him to pour out His goodness upon us. Now that I understand it fully, I think I can do that. How about you?

1 Comment
Print Friendly and PDF

Making a List; Dreading It Twice

adult-1850268_1920.jpg

Well, it’s official. We’ve completed the first stage of our moving to move to move process. We’ve set up a temporary home in the basement of my in-laws’ house. So far, it’s been a place to sleep and not much else as we’ve spent the majority of our time packing up the rest of our belongings and beginning the repairs and refreshes on our house.

After talking with two different realtors about the best way to approach the selling of our home, we determined we would need to do some significant updates throughout the property to get top dollar for our home. As the realtors walked through our house, I jotted down their suggestions on a notepad. By the end of the tour, I had nearly a full page of projects like remodeling the bathrooms, putting new cabinet doors in the kitchen, painting all the walls and trim, landscaping, refinishing the floors, and on and on.  

Over the next few days, Jason and I priced out all the items on the list and balked at the dollar signs swimming before us, not to mention the time and effort in store for us. That list has become my nemesis. It keeps me up at night. It runs through my mind on an endless loop. It causes my stomach to churn and my head to pound. So much to do. So little energy. Yikes!!!!

Jason, on the other hand, has pretty much ignored the list. After seeing what needed to be done and what the cost would be, he set to work. He views the list as a guide, a tool—nothing more. I, however, have allowed it to run my life and dictate my attitude. For the past week, I’ve felt as if the world—at least, my world—was spinning out of control. After making my list and dreading it twice (an hour), I went about my work as if it were all up to me. I forgot that I’m not the one in control, and better yet, I don’t have to be.

From the beginning of time, God knew this day would come. He has seen how this will all work out, and He has promised strength to those who wait on Him and trust in Him (Isaiah 40:31). He’s got this! Sure, things may seem like a big mess, but they only seem that way. God has it all control, so there’s no reason for me to dread. Besides, dread and worry only steal the strength and energy I need to accomplish the tasks before me.

Lists are useful and sometimes necessary, but when they become all-consuming, they’ve overstepped their bounds. I’ve given my list to God and will let Him “worry” about the details.  After all, I’ve got plenty to do to keep me busy.

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
— I Peter 5:7

Trusting in the Rock

Untitled design-23.png

On Saturday, Jason and I took Barnabas out for a hike.  We hoped to get away from all the stress and decision-making taking place in our lives right now as we prepare to sell our home and purchase a motorhome for full-time deputation. Overall, it served its purpose, but more than that, God used a moment of that hike to point out a hard truth in my life. Allow me to set the scene.

We came to a water crossing. The stream was wide but not deep if one planned his steps carefully. Barnabas crossed first. No big deal. Jason followed, and I was next. I did well until I reached the last step, which was more like a leap to the river bank. I made it across but landed in the gushy sand that sank and squished as soon as my foot made contact. This is the conversation that followed:

Me: “Ew, I stepped in the gushy stuff.”

Jason: “I used that rock just under the surface so I could step far enough to be on the other side of the gushy stuff.”

Me: “I guess I didn’t see the rock.”

Jason: “It wasn’t a rock you would trust.” (He knows I’m very particular about what size and shape of rock I’m willing to put my weight on.)

Me: “Oh, well, I’d rather step in the gushy stuff than stand on a rock I don’t trust.”

At that moment, it was if those words flew out of my mouth then circled back and hit me right between the eyes. How often do I settle for the “gushy stuff” in life because I’m not trusting in the Rock? How many times do I take flying leaps instead of standing firm on the Rock? Why is it so hard for me to trust the Lord? He has come through time and time again. He has proven His power, His love, and His goodness. Yet, I still bypass His way for my way. I step around Him to take the path I see, the one that looks best to me.

As I discovered later that day, my trust issue with the Lord has wreaked havoc in all my relationships. Not only have I stopped trusting God, but I’ve also stopped trusting others. I expect the worst out of people and situations and have fallen for the lie that the only one I can depend on is me. When I realized this, I had to laugh out loud. Not because it was funny, but because it was so ironic. I know I’m a mess. I know me better than anyone, so surely, I understand I cannot depend on myself. Yet, I do. It makes no sense. And all of it began when I refused to trust God with my life.

Maybe you can relate. Perhaps you know what it’s like to follow your own plans and try to solve your own problems. Maybe you, too, live a life of fear, worry, and stress rather than trust, peace, and joy. If so, I will tell you the same thing the Lord recently showed me—it doesn’t have to be that way! It’s a matter of choice. We can choose to stand on the Rock or to make our own way through the gushy stuff. We can choose to trust God instead of fretting over every detail of our lives. We have a choice, so what’s it going to be—the Solid Rock or the sinking sand?

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.
— Psalm 31:3
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
— Psalm 40:2