Friday, February 12, 2016

Just sittin' here, enjoying the Lord!

I've been off work for nearly 50 days now, and at times, it has felt like a prison sentence. You'd think I'd enjoy such a long break! That just hasn't always been realistic while dealing with the symptoms of the pneumonia and the endocarditis I was diagnosed with. But even as the meds I'm on have helped to improve how I feel, I've still felt frustrated that I can't be working right now. 

On my eleventh day in the hospital in early February, I texted the following to a friend: "Day 11. Still no word on my sentence. A little mouse has begun to visit. I am glad to share my meager portions with him. I think I may have found a way out of here. My plastic spoon is able to remove the rotting wood from beneath the broken sink. But it may take weeks. I will not give up."

I'm home now, and recently as I was shuffling around the house, the Lord suddenly spoke to me amidst my struggles with being off work for so long. What He said was quite simple: I want you to enjoy Me.

I'd been focused on working. The Lord was focused on our relationship. And He wanted me to enjoy our relationship. Amidst my discontent, it was that emphasis on enjoyment that got my attention. Then later that morning, I turned to Psalm 31 as part of my Bible-reading schedule, and it didn't take long for the Lord to reinforce His message to me. King David wrote, "I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness, because You have seen my affliction; You have known the troubles of my soul" (Psalm 31:7). Amidst his troubles (afflictions that the Lord knew all about, but hadn't prevented from happening to David, even though God loved David dearly), David chose to rejoice and be glad in God! That's because David knew all about God's affection for him, regardless of the circumstances. And that awareness is abundantly clear in the declaration David made later in the psalm, and which leapt from the page as I read it: "Oh, how great is Your goodness..." (v.19a)!

The Lord was clearly wanting to send me a message! "Whatever your troubles, whatever your frustrations, whatever your distractions to do with work, I want you to enjoy Me, and My abundant goodness is available to you even now!"

In my weakened state, my work-focused mindset seemed more inclined to declare "Oh, how great is the work I feel I must be doing for You!" What a contrast to Psalm 31! The work I wanted to do clearly wasn't something the Lord felt I needed to be doing, because just as in David's case, He hadn't prevented the afflictions that were now hindering me. It then began to dawn on me that the work I was so eager to do was more important to me than it was to God! I wondered if that was because I thought I needed to be busy working just to please God. It's as though I thought my good deeds were necessary to experience God's goodness. And God was gently turning all that thinking upside down.

"Oh, how great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!" (v.19). Is my trust in how hard I work or in how much I accomplish? Or is my trust in the great work that Jesus accomplished on the cross so that God's abundant goodness is freely available to me as I make Jesus Lord of my life? 

I know that choosing the latter is much more likely to result in me enjoying the Lord, as He has affectionately invited me to do in this season. And that is exactly what I intend to do!

© 2016 by Ken Peters


Laurence said...

John 4:6 Jesus, tired with his journey, sat down beside it, just as he was.
J.B. Phillips

I'm going to write to you some thoughts on this verse. But I just want to say Amen to your Blog post here today.


John 6:9 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” ESV

It sounds to me like you've been working :) it just doesn't look like the work we're all use to. You're working for the food that doesn't perish.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

God Bless you.

Ken said...

Thanks Laurence. It's clear from your comment that you truly understand the message God's been trying to get through to me.

Laurence said...

with tears I say it's a message he's getting through to us :)