Sometimes I get really frustrated.
I’ll find some nugget, something really good, something I know is valuable. I’ll hold it awhile, relishing it, recognizing this is good and worthy of further consideration – like the sermon from Charles Spurgeon I referenced in my “Beloved” blog post in April.
Then I’ll put it down, get back to work and tend to other things and before you know it, it is lost to me. Forgotten.
Often for me, time will go by unnoticed until I’m confronted with something or someone that requires my attention, something I have to wrestle with and struggle a bit. At that moment, in the front half of the struggle, I’m usually unaware of the connection to the nugget I held earlier. But, as I’m “walking along this trail” negotiating the rocks and roots, the twists and turns, I often stumble across the nugget again, and it dawns on me – Hey! I’ve been here before! The connectedness comes over me, I’m awash in the realization of being present again.
What the heck? Why didn’t I remember this? I’ve been going around in circles.
And therein lies the frustrating part. Did I not learn anything? I had the nugget the whole time! But I had laid it aside and forgotten about it.
Am I that…ignorant? Immature? Unskilled?
I feel like an amateur. This just happened to me, again.
Psalm 23:2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. NIV
The green pastures…I love to rest in the green pastures. But what do I do, what is my modus operandi in response to this invitation to rest? More often than not, as soon as I’m rested, I get up and head out. “Thanks for the rest, God. I’ve got it from here.”
So I strike out to fight the dragons again. Before you know it I’m in unfamiliar territory. I’m on my own, head down, swinging away like a mad man. I pause from exhaustion, pick my head up and realize I’m far away from any green pastures. In fact, I’m in a dangerous place.
Romans 7:15 What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. MSG
This place I find myself is dangerous because of the potential to get stuck here, stranded, lost. This place can be full of guilt, shame, disappointment, perhaps even losing hope. It can be a place of isolation. But Paul’s words let me know that I am not alone. Paul offers hope, I am not the only one struggling. We are many.
And I am reminded of His invitation, “Come to Me” (Matthew 11:28). My shoulders drop, my body sags, and I once again yield to Him.
Back to the green pastures. Back to the quiet waters.
“Okay, God, tell me more of this ‘beloved’ idea, obviously I didn’t get it the first time.”
Dear Father, I am sorry for my frequent running away from you. For my headstrong behavior, my pride and arrogance. Thank you for your mercy and grace. You are Almighty God and I want to do your will but so many times find myself taking charge and doing my own thing. Help me with my unbelief. Forgive my sins. Thank you for your everlasting love. May I reflect you and extend your kingdom here by your power. May I point others to you and give you all the praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
To be continued…