I suspect that I didn’t do a good enough job of expressing myself in my last post. I may be desperate, but I am not pathetic. I am absolutely not looking for pity, though occasionally some encouragement might be nice. I started this blog hoping to encourage others, but maybe I am the only one who needs it. I find myself wondering, again, if God has purposely isolated me so that He is the only one speaking to me about my life. Or maybe I have isolated myself, as seems to be common for people in my introverted family. Maybe it is a bit of both.
It is usually at night when I am trying to fall asleep, that I hear God speaking to me. Too often, instead of sleeping, I am taking stock of a life that can feel devoid of meaning. Sometimes I am pleading tearfully with God, other times, I am just trying to figure out where I went wrong. I remember the first time I felt God saying, “It isn’t that you have not been chosen by men; I have set you apart.” After that, I found the theme of being set apart over and over in Scripture. I also remember the first time He told me in the midst of my broken-hearted pleading, “My grace is sufficient for you.” Equally clear in my mind is the moment I realized that God’s purpose in my life was the same as His purpose in other things: His Own glory.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.Psalm 23:1-3
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Recently, as I laid in bed, I circled back to an old line of thinking, asking myself what the point was of my good decisions. It is one thing to wonder about the bad decisions, but what about the times that I made the right choice and avoided a potential path to sin? What if I had dated that unbelieving friend from school. Or what if I had given in to the guy that was pursuing me for all the wrong reasons? Would I still be alone? Would I have had children? I am certain that I cannot honor God by this kind of speculation. But occasionally, I wonder why I have bothered to strive for righteousness at all, when it seems to have left me all alone.
For no reason that I can point to, I started going over Psalm 23 in my mind to calm myself. This has never been a favorite passage of mine, but I have known it for so long that I can’t even remember memorizing it. As I went through the verses, I came to verse 3b: “He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” The reality hit me. It is God who leads me on a righteous path! He does this for His glory, for the sake of His reputation. When I look back at all the stupid choices I made, that in the minds of some must have tarnished the reputation of the God I claim to serve, I see how I could have made this far worse. But my God led me, and I learned the comfort of His rod and staff. These are the implements he uses to keep me on course. I wish I could understand His plan, and embrace it more. I suppose I need to love Him more so that His Glory is more important to me than my own desires.
Good and upright is the LORD;Psalm 25:8-10
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
This reminded me of A.W. Tozer’s chapter in The Pursuit of God called The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing. He wrote about Abraham offering Isaac, with the thesis that God’s test was to ensure that the promised child would not take God’s place in Abraham’s heart. How different might my heart be if I had married twenty years ago? Would there be room for God in my life? Would my faith be strong? In my twenties I already idolized marriage, to some degree, and I had to remove it from my heart. I had to learn to put God first and fully rely on Him.
I am not pathetic because God’s power is made perfect in my weakness. I have peace and joy, and I have a good life. God has blessed me beyond anything I deserve. From time-to-time, I get caught up in longing for more. I let myself focus on what I don’t have instead of what I do have. It is inevitable; all of us ride on an emotional roller coaster in life. I need to practice and learn to see myself as part of God’s plan for His glory. If I were something great, if I were sufficient in myself, I wouldn’t need grace, and He wouldn’t get the glory. If I can make His glory my primary objective, I will be able to “Rejoice always,” knowing that God is working to accomplish His goal. Most of the time, I feel completely surrendered to His will and His purposes. Only occasionally do I have a tantrum. In recent months, as I began praying an old prayer and asking for something that I had stopped asking for, I was still surrendered. It was a plea, not a tantrum. Desperate? Maybe. Pathetic or pitiful? Not with God in my life. I rejoice in His faithfulness and love for me, and I pray that His glory will shine in my life and in this world.