Psalm 119:32 (the message)
I’ll run the course you lay out for me
if you’ll just show me how.
On Sunday I spontaneously invited my oldest daughter’s good friend Hannah to come home with us and spend the night since they were out of school on Monday. You can imagine the sheer glee! They were just happy to see each other that morning at church but then the unimaginable happened! The moms consented to a sleep over out of the blue! I heard the Hallelujah chorus in the background. Smile…
Rivers asked me, twice, while Hannah was at our house “Mom, how come you let Hannah come over?” It took me a second to respond because I guess to me the answer was so unbelievably obvious and yet my oldest girl didn’t see it. “Because I love you,” I told her. She went on her merry way but I was left with a lingering thought in my heart…Is this how God feels sometimes? He’s good to us just because He loves us but we keep wondering why…thinking we need to earn it or wondering what we did to get Him to bless us…and maybe He pauses, too, wondering at our perspective of who He is.
Today is a rainy one here in eastern NC. Before my girls woke up I had a few minutes on the front porch. I came across the scripture above and thought some more about perspective. The rain reminded me of going to a concert years ago with some friends and how our seats were outside. There was a chance of rain but I recall declaring I had prayed about the rain and it wasn’t going to rain on us! This morning as I sat looking out at the rain I thought about what a gift the rain is to farmers and creation. I thought about my innocent misunderstanding of prayer and trust and faith. I had asked God not to let it rain but it was summertime. I bet a million dollars a farmer close by was asking God to bring the rain! My perspective was pretty limited that day. So often it still is.
How about that verse above? Do we tell God we will run the course He lays out for us if only He’ll show us how? And yet He seems far away and we become frustrated, straining to hear Him and be touched by His nearness. But what if Jesus is as close as He ever was? What if, ready?, our persective of running the course is trying harder to be more and do more for Him that we have neglected just being with Him.
This morning I felt like I should just sit still and be quiet! Oh I’m an earner…a spiritual worker…so this was against my grain! But impressed upon my heart was how Jesus is as close as He ever was. He does not leave us or abandon us! He does not play games with our hearts! The Bible is so cotton-pickin’ full of scripture about His desire to have relationship with us…how as we come near to Him, God will come near to us! So I wonder if it gets really hard to stay “connected” to Him because our perspective, our view, becomes cloudy. It was quite difficult for me to just sit quietly this morning! I felt like I needed to talk…to ask…to run through my mental “how to connect to God” list. Instead I closed my eyes and listened to the rain. Quietly sang a couple of choruses from my childhood to Jesus…imagined Him sitting in the empty chair beside me…such comfort in those few minutes. My heart whispering, You know I love You, right? And knowing the answer is Yes, daughter, I know.
See, we can ask God to lay out the course, or His plan and ways, and show us how to run but unless we let Him adjust our perspective we may end up frustrated. We ask for direction but without even realizing it we have already decided, based on our limited perspective, what His answer will be. It makes more sense to my personality that I could earn His nearness with all of my trying and efforts at serving or praying “just so.” What doesn’t make sense to my thinking is when God leads me to Just be quiet. Sit still. My perspective is one of earning and striving. The truth, however, is that He is a God of relationship and grace, probably pausing with me this morning just the way I did with Rivers, wondering, Don’t you know how much I love you? I want to be with you and bless you just because I love you.
Remember how I thought God should answer my rain-prayer at the concert because I was declaring my belief that He would? I was not one for much “according to Your will” type praying. In my lack of understanding I sometimes prayed “according to my will” prayers. I thought if I prayed and believed then God was kind of under compulsion to answer the way I wanted. Sigh…makes me tired thinking about it! There are lots of promises in God’s Word and we can pray and believe them with confidence. But I am learning there is a significant difference between relying on my persepective and efforts for certain outcomes and truly trusting God to lay out for me the course He wants me to run. And as long as I hold fiercely to my vanessa perspective, I miss God’s perspective.
Somewhere on that concert day was a farmer needing rain. I don’t remember but I hope God poured it out for him, in spite of me. I hope as that farmer felt hope rise in his heart at the sight of rain clouds he heard the whisper of our Father saying, Just for you, son. And just because I love you.
And I hope as you read this post today your heart hears His, as well. Maybe you have done what you know to do. Memorized the scripture. Prayed the prayers. Cried the tears. Maybe you have crossed your T’s and dotted your church-world I’s. And that’s okay! And good because God sees your heart! But perhaps now the perspective you need is one from His heart for you…Maybe today God is not asking for more, just different. Maybe His whisper is one of perspective…can you hear Him…
Come near, son. Come near, daughter. Just be with Me because you love and want relationship with Me. I have a plan and a course for you to run, but first run to Me. Laying everthing else aside, just be with Me. Just because you love Me. And I’ll meet you there…Just because I love you.