If I love God, and He loves me…if I’m nice to the people who are nice to me and I never do anything really terrible to anyone else, God’s plan for my life will include my happiness, I think.
Actually, that’s not the way I think, at all. But I do know that He loves it when I smile. And He catches my tears when I cry.
Joy is that little word that packs a much bigger punch than happy. Joy laughs in the face of happy. Joy smiles in the face of pain. Maybe the semantics aren’t important to you, but they are to me. My God wants me to have…find…pursue joy.
I read her the story of Abraham, and a tear streamed down her face. It was a big, splashing tear that wet her paper. Abraham wanted his son to marry his cousin, but I’d told her she couldn’t marry hers. That was the source of the sorrow in the moment.
“Honey, God has someone so wonderful for you. That’s not something you need to worry about, OK?”
And then she said it, “But what if I don’t like who God picks?” Her crocodile tears turned to hot sobs.
What is it about God’s perfection that causes us to miss it…about His amazing sense of humor that we just don’t get? Why can’t we understand that what God wants and has planned for us is so much brighter and better than our daydreams? Why don’t we know that He loves us?
I pulled the doubting princess into my lap, and I smoothed her baby fine hair. “My love, do you know that God loves you?”
And then I firmly pressed the pause button on our school day, because I had something to teach my daughter.
Psalm 37:4 is one of those verses that we like to use, often, to encourage each other. I’m convinced, though, that we don’t fully understand it. Maybe that’s because of a moment in my life where I actually felt like I did. I remember where I was sitting and what I was doing. I remember what the air smelled like and how the hot desk lamp felt on my back. God was about to heal me of a (literal) eight year head ache, but I didn’t know it yet.
I stopped typing and I looked up…looking for God. There were things that I wanted so badly, most especially my healing. I praised Him all day long, I thought, but He hadn’t answered even one of my most fervent prayers.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart!” I reminded Him. And then I was hit with the indescribably exciting acknowledgement of my ignorance.
I raced for my concordance and every Bible translation that I owned. The ten minutes that followed changed my life, though I’ve been tempted to turn back many times.
The word delight is where the mystery lies.
The Hebrew word is pronounced aw-nag. It means to be delicate or feminine. According to Strong’s, it carries the idea of being pliable. Delight yourself. He won’t mold you without your permission. I think one can praise Him all day long without truly letting Him mold them.
I know I could.
And if delight yourself means become pliable, that changes the whole attitude of the teaching.
I know I’ve posted on this before, but this was the first time I’ve passed the lesson to my children.
“Sweetheart, all you need to do is trust God. Believe that His ways are perfect, and ask Him to make you more like Him…ask Him to give you His thoughts.”
She squirmed. And because I understood her fear, I did too.
We don’t give our children candy for breakfast. We don’t buy them everything they want. We give them good things, and as they mature, they begin to want for themselves the things we want for them. As we mature as Christians, we begin to think like God. As He molds us and makes us, we start to get…
…everything that we want!!
Beth Moore calls it being a “spoiled brat for Jesus”. And she’s right.
Become pliable in the hands of the Lord. Become more like Him. Over time, your heart will want the things that His heart wants for you, because He has planted within you His own desires. Then, because He loves you, those deep desires will come to pass (and this is spiritually speaking, because we know that poverty and pain will not cease to exist on this earth).
“Jesus loves you more than His own life. You can trust Him. He will never force you to do anything that you don’t want to do…marry anyone you don’t want to marry. But if you’re thinking like Him, you’ll want things and think things that you can’t even imagine right now.”
She sat up a little straighter, she was starting to understand. “And I’ll be happy.”
“And so much more.”
When Papa Bear succumbed to depression last year, I asked God what I should think, how I should pray, and what I should want. And because He filled my heart with His answers, I got my way...His way. As I looked around the room, still holding my sweet daughter in my arms, I spotted my husband’s socks under the living room chair, and I couldn’t help but be thankful for that lesson God taught me all those years before I’d really need it.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Why would I want my own way? All of His ways are perfect.