Most of the first half of my life, I only approached God when I needed anything, or I thought it was the right thing to do. There were nights when I was too exhausted to finish a replay prayer (replay means it’s the same prayer every night of my life). That’s because I delighted in all the things I did all day and not looked forward to spending time with God. I treated God as the Source and Giver of all that I needed and wanted (mostly wanted), and so, I approached Him to ask, ask, and ask. Of course I knew how to say “thank you” for every blessing. But did I really have that desire in me to pursue Him and know Him well – His ways, His will, His joy (yes, the things that bring Him pleasure)? Did I reserve a special time in my jampacked schedule, while I was busy advancing my career, to seek His presence and tarry with Him with my undivided attention?
The answer to all that is “No”. I wonder now – we call God our Father but often times, we don’t act as children. Kids love to play with their Dads. They shriek in delight when he tickles them or carouses with them; they climb up to his knees and listen to his stories; they follow him around, hero-worshipping him. I know because that’s what I see with our 6-year old boy. Indeed, kids do better.
I only learned to really know God and pursue Him with a purpose and longing when I received the Lord Jesus Christ in my life and embarked on an intimate relationship with Him. When I made it my life’s purpose and joy to know the God who created me, loved and saved me, and who delights to bless me – that’s when I learned that God doesn’t only bless but also longs for His children’s love and adoration. When the Holy Spirit began to dwell in my heart, that’s when I became sensitive to the voice and whisperings of God in my heart and soul. I began to live like He was in everything I did, and indeed He is, if we really consider it. He’s everywhere. Even with our crammed minds and days colored with confusion and weariness, if our souls are attuned to Him, we will hear Him calling.
Yet they seek Me daily,
And delight to know My ways,
As a nation that did righteousness,
And did not forsake the ordinance of their God.
They ask of Me the ordinances of justice;
They take delight in approaching God. (Is. 58:2)
When we start the day with the intention of spending time with Him and end it the same way, we will know that He is faithful to be ever present. And when He sees that our shoulders begin to stoop, our brows knit, and we look like we are drained of all energy, peace, and joy – He comes to the rescue.
This is one of the important lessons I’ve learned recently: The Lord calls us to His presence in many different ways. It could be a deep longing in our souls that we can’t really put our fingers on. A restlessness that no tangible thing on earth can quieten. A sadness or sorrow that can’t be reached by words or actions by another human being. Yes, I’ve learned that through these the Lord calls us to enter into His presence. And enter into His presence with an offering of praise. I know no other, shorter way to His heart than heartfelt songs of praise.
So, keep still before Him, open your mouths and sing. Sing loud, sing low – He hears them all! There are times when I sing and I just want to speak out what’s gripping me, and the singing and the wanting to speak vie for time. But this is what the Holy Spirit has whispered in my heart: Sing and let the lyrics speak; sing with hearts trembling because it’s bursting with love and worship for the living God – because your singing has touched the throne of grace and God is listening. And He’s delighted. It is when praise, words, and tears exquisitely meld together that we.are.in.true.worship.
Delight in approaching God. Not because we want things, but because we want. We want Him, His very essence.
(Photo courtesy of Perla Frisberg).
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Journey with Jesus,