I was contemplating recently those people I know whose relationship with God I envy (yes, it is rather counter-intuitive to break a Commandment while desiring to be closer to the Lord). I see these people - the ones who 100% get it. They speak truth over their children; they serve the Lord with all their heart; they mourn over inconsistencies in their lives and speaking of their love for God and how He is working in their lives is like second nature.
Yes, I know, they're not perfect. No one is. But they're a lot closer than I, even on my good days.
And I long for that.
I long for a love of Jesus that cannot help but overflow.
And, yet, I'm not there.
And then God spoke to me yesterday, "You cannot fully love me while being so in love with yourself."
What hurts is that it's true.
While I would never consider myself vain (though, does anyone, really?), I can recognize, if I am truly honest with myself, my infatuation with my own being. I have this insatiable need to be right; I hoard my time and only dole it out when I feel I have some to spare (but am careful not to over-schedule because I need my me-time daily); I often serve myself before others and have to make a conscious effort to remember to offer anything to anyone else; I save the best for myself and it hurts to give it up; I spend my time and energy finding little ways to pamper myself (and sometimes my family).
I am disgustingly selfish.
And while I take full responsibility for myself and my grotesquely boorish manner, I can't help but notice an air of selfishness, yes, in our culture, but even in church.
I cannot (and will not) speak for everyone (especially when I know so many who get it right), but I know I have often heard the verse (and quoted it myself, when in need of comfort), Romans 8:28, which is roughly quoted as: "For we know all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose." This verse, along with all of God's Word, is Truth.
What I only just realized yesterday, though, is how my selfish nature has twisted these words. I take them personally. I tend to believe what this verse is saying is that my circumstances will turn out for my good. And, of course, I interpret my good to be blessings - rainbows and sunshine after the storm. And looking forward to those rainbows and sunshine is what keeps me going. Because God is working this together for my good - because I love Him.
What I fail to understand, what so many fail to communicate through this verse, is that our good is not always rainbows and sunshine. And God is not working all things together for the good of me, but for the good of "those who love Him" - that's plural.
So my difficulty, my pain, my sorrow, is not always because God is working on me, but because He has a plan that is so much bigger than me. And His purpose may be in my pain. Because His "good" does not always feel good.
And though there is sunshine after the rain, we don't always get to see it. Just look at Hebrews 11 to see a whole myriad of people who believed in the good for which God was working and did not see it in their time here on earth - though the good came. The Savior came. Salvation came. And their lives were integral to God's plan. And, yet, they did not meet the Savior in their time, they did not see the Salvation of their people. But they knew God. And they believed.
Self-lessly they devoted their lives to His cause.
Do I love Him enough to truly give up my own desires, or the need to see the beautiful ending while I yet live, to bend to His calling?
Do I fear Him more than I fear man or man's opinion?
Do I love others with a passion, so that the thought of one hurting, hungry or lost breaks my heart to the point of action?
But God is tearing me down so He might build me back up. There is definitely beauty in His pain.
665. His Word beckoning
666. Truth revealed
667. The lime green of a stoic grasshopper
669. A baby giggling on the prompting of his sister
671. An itty-bitty baby tongue, all stuck out in silliness
Photos of the Weekend:
The kids and I got to splash around with some friends on Friday.
We went to the mall Friday night and Emmett got a snazzy new backpack (that makes him look just too grown up).
Daddy taught the kids the Cha-Cha on Saturday.
Then he took his little girl out for their first Daddy-daughter date - dinner and a movie.
Philip celebrated his birthday on Sunday with breakfast (and presents) in bed.