I write when God presses something on my heart, or when He releases new revelation to me that I want to share. I write when I’m inspired. I write to process. But for the last 2+ months, I have been in a self-induced emotional and spiritual coma. I have had nothing to say.
Before our move to Dallas, I had big expectations. God spoke so many affirming words to Dan and I about this next season, so I was surprised when the days, and then weeks, and then months felt filled with pain, disappointment, discouragement, loneliness, and hopelessness.
I was like a little girl, angry at her daddy, deciding she would get her revenge by just running away. That will show him. A little girl who packs a little bag with some snacks and a toy, heads out the front door, walks down the sidewalk a block or two, sits down with a proud sense of accomplishment and independence, and waits. Only she realizes pretty quickly that this plan stinks. It’s hot. She’s run out of snacks. Sitting on the sidewalk is boring. What am I supposed to do now anyway? Has daddy even noticed?
I, too, ran. I recoiled. I self-protected. And I did it all without even realizing what I was really doing. I blamed the rarity of my alone time in God’s Presence on Norah’s awful sleep habits. I blamed my lack of new community on the distance from our house to our new church. And, well…I did a lot of blaming.
Then I realized, this plan stinks. Over the last few weeks, as Jesus has penetrated my hardening, walled heart, I crumbled in brokenness and assumed responsibility for the distance and loneliness I have felt with Him. In His overwhelming grace, mercy, and kindness for one earthen pot stuck in doubt and self-pity, questioning it’s maker, He has overwhelmed me with His Presence.
I’m not surprised when I have no food to eat at home if I have stopped going to the grocery store. I’m not surprised when I feel insecure, lousy, and ugly if I have stopped showering and taking care of myself. I’m not surprised when my home feels chaotic and stressful if I have stopped cleaning it. So why am I surprised when everything in my life shifts away from peace, unity, and hope if I have stopped seeking and coming into God’s Presence?
I have been living in pain, disappointment, discouragement, loneliness, and helplessness (all of which are real, sometimes justified, emotions and realities), when His Presence would have changed everything.
There is nothing like it.
I have spent some time recently in Psalm 73. The writer has been consumed by an internal struggle with an unfair reality. The wicked prosper. They don’t suffer pain or trouble. They involve themselves in all kinds of violent, offensive, deceitful behavior and get away with it. They are always at ease and their riches only seem to increase. All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning. This is the timeless, immortal question of mankind–why do good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people?
But then, the writer has a life changing revelation. But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end…For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me, it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge that I may tell of all your works…Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
Trying to understand the ways of an infinite God is wearisome. Claiming the right to understand the ways of an infinite God is sinful. Yet when we enter His Presence, there is wisdom and revelation from heaven that bring peace and hope to the distress and despair. When we enter His Presence, the weight of His Glory consumes everything that doesn’t matter and points us back to everything that does– He is with me. He guides me. Nothing on earth is as desirous as Him. He is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. He will receive me to glory. Heaven awaits me, and there I will find a matchless reward.
How is that unfair? Today, I have the privilege of His Presence (His endless source of joy, pleasure, protection, wisdom, salvation, redemption, refreshment, blessing, healing, freedom, truth, life). Forever, I have Heaven.
My testimony today is this: a week ago I was living in pain, disappointment, discouragement, loneliness, and helplessness. This week, because I have sought Him and come into His Presence every morning, I am drinking from a well of joy, comfort, hope, friendship, and strength, that never runs dry. And Heaven awaits me.
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you! Psalm 84:10-12