I need to explore this more. This thought.
This morning as I was drinking my coffee and reading I suddenly remembered a person who over 30 years ago was in my College and Career Sunday School class. He was paralyzed (recently?) and was trying to make connections with others in the class. Sometimes I would sit next to him as he tried to turn the pages of his Bible.. his hands in a type of strap that made it difficult. I remember wondering if he wanted help… sometimes I would help.. sometimes I wouldn’t. Why didn’t I have the sense to ask him if he’d like me to help? The thought didn’t enter my mind. Only whether I should help or not help.
But that’s not what my mind was focused on this morning. This morning I remembered when this young man tried to start a Bible study class in the evening, and nobody came. I don’t remember any other facts around this event, just that it pierced me. But no, I didn’t go the class either. I felt horrible about it, but pushed it out of my mind as best I could.
And this morning I remember him and his Bible study and I ached for him. And then I wondered, how would I feel if one of my sons tried to start a Bible study and nobody came? And what if my son was this paralyzed young man? He’s somebody’s son.
I only thought my heart was pierced before. It bled when I placed my sons in this other young man’s place. And myself in the place of his mom.
And I prayed for that man, and if he was alive today would God please bless him. And while I was yet praying, suddenly and without warning, a new thought came to me:
“God, do you want me to be sad about this?” Because I was. I was very sad.
“God, if you want me to be sad about these things, and all the sad things that pass my eyes (and imagination) all day, I will. I will be sad if that’s what you want. But if there is something else you want me to feel, please let me know.”
And as the story often goes, I opened my Bible for my daily reading and this is what I read:
“Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.”
In all honesty, I read this and it didn’t hit. I looked up and prayed again, “Lord, if there is ANY other way you want me to feel besides sad, please somehow let me know…please show me…somehow please make it known…. Oh. You just did.”
There it was. How God would like me to feel. Just from that little bit of a Psalm is a blizzard of how he wants me to feel! He wants me to be thankful and call on him. He wants me to let others know what he has done. As you may know, you can spend a great amount of time recalling what he has done. I intend to do that.
Also, he wants me to sing about him, to tell about him, to Glory in his name. I’m not 100% sure what glorying in his name means, but I’m hoping to find out.
Lastly, he wants my heart to rejoice. To look to him and his strength, and to seek his face always. Rejoicing sounds quite a bit different than what I’ve been doing. Yes, please, I would like to rejoice.
I do understand that there is a time to laugh and a time to cry, and I understand that he makes some of us more tender (frail?) than others, and this is his will. I also understand that just because I think something or feel something doesn’t mean it’s what I should be thinking or feeling. My thoughts and feelings need to be sifted though his Word. Early and often.
Now, I don’t want to be a hearer only and not a doer. I know I will have sad thoughts because sad things happen, but it is my intention (Father, help me) to liberally add thankfulness to my thoughts for what he has done. And I’ll start right now.
Thank you, Father, for creating me.
Thank you for redeeming me, for making me new, for giving me a new name.
Thank you that my future is secure in you.
Thank you for the Holy Spirit – your Spirit lives in me!
Thank you that you will never leave me, never forsake me.
Thank you for rescuing me from wrath, thank you that you are preparing a place for me…
I could go on and on. And I will. Thanksgiving really does have snowball effect. I’m hoping for an avalanche.