Psalm 27:13-14 (the message)
I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness
in the exuberant earth.
Stay with God!
Take heart. Don’t quit.
I’ll say it again:
Stay with God.
How often do we invite God to come along with us in our plans and pursuits versus staying with Him, wherever He may be?
As I write, “I Exalt Thee” plays in the background. It’s an old chorus with lyrics like this:
“I exalt thee, I exalt thee, I exalt thee” and since this is the Jesus Culture (iTunes available!) version I hear Kim Walker singing her heart and soul out…”It’s all about You…It’s all about You…It’s all about You…” Even now I have a couple of tears trickle down my face because really joy and peace and passion can only be found when we “stay with God” and it’s all about Him.
We can have goals and hopes and dreams. We might even have purpose planted in our heart by God Himself but in the wrong time or with “mixed motives” we will find ourselves tugging on His sleeve…”God, please stay with me” instead of “God show me where You are in all of this so I can make sure I stay close to Your side.” The scripture above doesn’t recommend we stay with God, it commands us! If we want to see the goodness of God in our lives we must “take heart.” We must not quit but resolve in our hearts to stay with God…wherever He is.
What does this really mean? How can we know where God is in our situation? I think of Joyce Meyer and the way I have heard her speak of Peace. I think of other speakers I have heard talk about the “umpire of peace.” See, if you want to know where God is in a situation you must look for where peace reigns. This doesn’t mean no confrontation or boundary setting. This doesn’t mean sunshine and roses all of the time! Peace is a stability of the heart…a kind of supernatural steadiness that only comes from the Holy Spirit. If you have not experienced this then I pray you will talk with God about it. First and foremost we must find ourselves with Jesus…crying out for the forgiveness we need and receiving with open arms the mercy that rains down from the Cross. This is peace with God. This is entering into a right relationship with God, one where you have daily access and communication with the Creator, because of who Jesus is.
In my heart this morning I am captured and encouraged in my own life from these two short verses. “Stay with God,” to me, means find My Peace in the situation…find My Presence…stay where I AM. See, if I will make it my aim and focus to just worship Him, love Him and love others then I will be where He is. As He moves, I will move with Him. This, I believe, is the way God means for us to live our lives. It means not seeing your way forward, not calling the shots and not taking the credit for the good that comes. This means instead of me deciding what I want, need and deserve and then inviting God to come along to enable me with my plans, I stop and ask “God, where are you in this?”
Sometimes it’s hard! Sometimes you can’t understand the circumstances or they are just not as easy and comfortable as you would like! That doesn’t mean God isn’t there! If my greatest need in life is to live in the stability of His Peace then I eventually will ease my grip on that sleeve I’m tugging. Eventually, if what I want more than anything is to stay with Him, then I can let go and open my heart to what He says…where He is.
I hope to convey to you this morning there is a joy that can’t be taken…a peace that is beyond what can be explained or understood with our human minds. There is strength and grace, mercy and compassion, that fills and mends our lives in such a way that nothing else we might desire compares. In the end, no matter how “good” the thing is, there is nothing in life that compares with being where Jesus is. Along this journey of Christ-following, of having my life impacted and changed by Jesus, I find that I cannot rest or be satisfied with less. God does not hide Himself from us. We may feel like we can’t find Him but it’s because He isn’t where we want Him to be or the place we keep looking. Sometimes we must find ourselves longing to be near Jesus in such a way that we finally stop and ask…where is Your Peace to be found? Where can my heart find rest?
The answer is always the same. With God.