I woke at 3:15 this morning, to the sound of something driving up a gravel road. Only, there is no gravel road near my window. After a few seconds, I realized it was only the rain, then looked at the clock to check the time. Rather than roll over and try to go back to sleep, I decided to "go with God" on this one, and rise earlier than necessary and spend time with Him. This isn't the first time He has woken me at this hour...in fact, it has become quiet a routine thing over the past few weeks. This was the first morning I didn't try to go back to sleep or wake and occupy myself with other things like baking or surfing the web.
As I got out of bed, I thought again of the strange sound of the rain...the sound of something approaching. Then I thought, something is approaching. A new day...new mercy...fresh grace.
This morning, I desire that new mercy and fresh grace so much. I so want it to humble and break me, that I might be truly contrite before the Lord. I need it...it's been far too long. Yet, as I type that, I am reminded that even the desire to come is a gift from the Spirit of God, and that what pleases God most is not emotion or outward shows of worship, but a heart that is turned toward Him.
Oh, what I wouldn't give to know that my heart was truly turned toward Him right now. I feel that it is so full of other things, so distracted, so prone to wander, so set on seeking all but Him.
This weekend, before our prayer time, we sang "Give Us Clean Hands."
We bow our hearts
We bend our knees
Oh, Spirit come make us humble.
We turn our eyes
From evil things,
Oh, Lord we cast down our idols
I thought about my idols, and how much they had been in the forefront lately. Then, as a kind and gentle Father, I was shown why.
I was created to know and be known by God. I was created to seek after Him...His glory...His kingdom. I can't honestly say that this has been the driving force of my life of late. What truly is? I can't really say that either. I've sort of just been going with the flow...not really seeking one thing...not really being ultra purposeful in much of anything.
Perhaps that is it? I've been seeking ease - minimum effort, maximum comfort.
Whatever it is, the point is that I know I haven't been seeking after the Lord as I should. Sure, I read most days, I throw up quick and needful prayers throughout the day, but that is not seeking. That is wanting the benefits of God without being truly subject to Him...without taking the time to stop and be still and know if what I am asking is what I should be asking...to know why I am being led to read what I am reading...to receive correction and application. No...not to receive, because that tends to come, regardless (thank you Lord) but to SEEK it more than I desire what I want, what I am praying about.
The Psalmist says, "One thing have I asked of the LORD,that will I seek after:that I may dwell in the house of the LORDall the days of my life,to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple." (Psalm 27:4)
I think the lesson of these last few weeks is, that when I am not seeking after this, I will seek after other things. I was made to seek. It is in my, put there by God. I was made to seek Him, but also made to have a choice. In effect, created with the ability to choose to NOT seek Him. If it were not so, the choice to seek Him wouldn't be a choice at all.
In her book, "Discipline, the Glad Surrender", Elisabeth Elliot speaks on this topic. She writes: "The freedom to obey (or choose or seek) would be nothing at all without the corresponding freedom to disobey (or choose wrongly or seek other things).
What an awesome thought! The creator of the universe...and of me...who knows that I am simply because He is and continues to give me breath, who has revealed Himself clearly through His creation, His word and His Son, has given me a choice to seek after Him or seek after other things. This same God, knowing what I would choose, and how sincerely, and how often, has called me and keeps me and continues to send new mercy and fresh grace each day.
If one is not humbled and broken by that thought...perhaps one needs to read it and think on it again.
Which is exactly what I did.
I read that passage and thunk on those things last night, underlined them and wrote them in my journal and everything...and nothing. Then I was awakened by the sound of something approaching on a gravel road...to new mercy and fresh grace...and time to re-read and re-think.
Thank you Lord.
"One thing have I asked of the LORD,that will I seek after:that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple." Lord, let this be true of me today! Holy Spirit, continue to stir up this desire to seek. Help me make right choices...choices that show that it is the Lord that I seek and desire most!