I think it was Joyce Myers who had the funny lesson about taking another trip around the mountain. Like, for instance, when the Israelites missed it with God and he sent them back out into the desert for a longer time to think about it and hopefully learn their lesson.
She called it "taking another trip around the mountain."
Ever feel like you keep having to relive the same trials time and time again? Keep getting mad about the same things? Keep bouncing checks? Keep missing appointments? The list is endless. Life seems one trial after another.
One more trip around the mountain. Will I get it this time?
After 95% of the original Israelites were dead, the promised land finally came into view.
Oh, Lord, don't let it be that way with me. Help me to learn Your lessons by at least... the third... maybe fourth time around?
After three grueling weeks, I managed to drag myself out of bed this morning, determined to get back into the habit of having an early morning quiet time with God. I know better than to let that time slip. Every thing simply goes awry when I don't carve out that predawn hour to sit quiet, listen for His call, and take in his words like honey on warm toast. How could I allow myself to start each day without filling myself? Haven't I learned by now I need His sustenance to make it in this life?
I sat at my desk, groggy eyed and empty headed, too early for even my thoughts to start their swarming. "Well?" I ask after downing half my first cup of coffee. As a response to the quiet, I open my journal and write, "Lord help me get back into a routine. The past three weeks have been a blur. I feel like my free time has been squeezed of all excess like a damp rag. I'm weary and I'm begging for a short rest. A time to recollect myself."
I've talked before about John Eldredge's book Walking With God on this blog. This is one book you can not race through. It's one that needs to be savored, re-savored and yet again, savored at least once more.
I heard, "Fall. Third entry."
And it sounded familiar, something I'd visited before. The title read, Until God Becomes Our All, and of course, I've savored this morsel a few times.
You see, I've been struggling with several things: changes, disappointments, readjustment, family... to name a few. The job I'd hoped for didn't come through. So I was bummed. Life itself, ever moving and revolving brings its own changes in relationships, events, time constraints. The job I do have has changed drastically and it's been a struggle to keep up. During all this, my eyes once again moved off my steady rock and onto the wildly lapping waves around me. But at least I didn't sink completely this time. No eye-to-eye moments with a tuna. Not this time.
Yet the distance grows, and will keep growing if I don't throw out my arms and plead, "Catch me, daddy!"
Eldredge wrote, "We see God as a means to an end rather than the end
itself. God as the assistant to our life versus God as our life. We don't see
the process of our life as coming to the place where we are fully his and he is
our all. And so we are surprised by the course of events.
It's not that God doesn't want us to be happy. He does. It's just that he
knows that until we are holy, we cannot really be happy. Until God has become
our all, and we are fully his, we will continue to make idols of the good things
he gives us."
And isn't it easy, when everything is going smooth, and life is good and you need shades the world is so bright. And we slip on those shades and color our vision until He's not the center anymore, but all the things we THINK make us happy and complete.
Such as the job we want.
That perfect relationship.
Perfect, well-behaved kids who are acing all their classes.
He wants these things for us as well, but not at the cost of our relationship with Him.
In Philippians 4:12, Paul says, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."
That secret, my friends, is found in making God our all. Eldredge also wrote: "As long as our happiness is tied to the things we can lose, we are vulnerable."
Our happiness needs to be tied into the fact that He loves us, no matter what's going on. He loves us even when we don't get the job we want. He loves us even when our kids are fighting and we join in the fray. He loves us when we are being less than kind and caring to each other. He loves us. He loves us and He has our best interest at heart. He only ask to be the center of ours.
Then, as Paul summed up, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." vs. 13.
I can do everything. Nothing will hinder me. Nothing will separate me from the love he has for me. A love that is wide and far reaching, that goes deep and past my fingertips high. There's no boundaries to it. No end. No beginning. We don't have to earn it. It's just there.
He loves me.
He love you.
forever and ever and ever, amen.