Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Becoming a Calf Again

So recently I was going through a rough time and I was praying to God, whining like we sometimes do, telling him, “Oh, God! People tell me I have to sacrifice for you, people tell me I have to give up something in this situation, but the only thing that keeps coming to mind is my happiness. Do you really want me to give up my happiness?”

Now, I should mention that God doesn’t normally speak to me--at least not like someone on a loudspeaker at a baseball stadium, but sometimes I do hear his voice whispering to me, telling me things I would never have thought of on my own. Jesus said that his sheep hear his voice, and this was one of those times when the Shepherd spoke, because when I said, “Do you really want me to give up my happiness?” God said to me, “Are you willing to give up your unhappiness?”

So I decided to try again, “But God, sometimes it feels like disappointment is the default setting for my life!”

And he said to me, “Would you be willing to let it be joy?”

Why does he have to do that to me.

I haven’t heard much from God since praying those things, probably because he’s still waiting for my answer. Am I willing to let go of unhappiness and disappointment, and simply accept the gift of joy?

Well, sometimes yes. Sometimes no.

When I was considering all this one day, I stumbled across a Bible verse tucked in the corners of the Old Testament: “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall,” (Malachi 4:2 NIV).

A rising sun with healing wings. Freedom. And a wide open pasture. That’s what I need more of.

So lately I’ve been praying that God will help me to stop letting my failures make me feel guilty, and just let my weaknesses make me humble. I’m praying that he’ll help me focus not on the times I’ve let him down, but on the ways he has lifted me up. To default to his promises rather than my circumstances.

To give up my unhappiness.

To let joy back in.

And to run in the open-gated fields of his love once again.


Deseree said...

I enjoy the way you use words!

God and I had a little chat the other day too, and he suggested to me that joy is resting in him and allowing him to give me peace.

Steven James said...

Thanks for your thoughts Deseree. The hardest journey is also the shortest one--from ourselves into his arms. I'm finding that every day I need to make it over and over again.