Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.
– Psalm 119:18
Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.
– Psalm 119:143
The two quotes above bring me comfort. Comfort is a great thing. It’s funny though. We often seem to go through periods in life when we actually seem opposed to comfort as though to accept it is to admit to weakness and to surrender our own power. To me, that part about “surrendering” is something that takes much courage, faith, and trust. It takes a strong person and a strong commitment to surrender to the power and the rules of another. Admittedly, we’ve all very likely been hurt or disappointed by some we’ve trusted in the past. However, trusting in the Lord ultimately does not disappoint. True, while we learn from Him and come to understand His methods and His plan, we might find our human weakness rising to the top, but hopefully our faith grows stronger and we find ourselves able to, with increasing faith, realize that not only do His commands give us delight, but that it is His intent to do so! He delights in us!
Sadly, speaking for myself, I too often find I’m weaker than I should be in the “wrong” ways and don’t always learn as quickly of the strength in weakness of another sort – the weakness that is my ultimate surrender to my loving Lord who delights in me and desires all the best for me if I would simply let Him take all of me. If I’d just quit whining sooner than I so often do, I would so much sooner realize the “wonderful things” the Psalmist speaks of in the verse above. Being human is a learning curve that never really ceases this side of heaven. I realized this once or twice recently as I felt the Holy Spirit simply flooding over me, around me, and through me at church only to find that once I stepped into the church parking lot I felt cold water being dumped on me instead. Oh, the splendor of being in the company of other Christians in communion at church – the body of Christ together can do so much as we seek to find our individual special gifts and work together. Sadly, sometimes this resolve drops off on the way out the door into the car. Why is this?
I don’t think any of us really intend to fail. I don’t even like the word fail. Fail sounds so permanent and for a Christian our faults are not permanent. Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sin, our faults, and so we simply need to repent and reach out to Him. It’s a let down when stepping into the parking lot of the church finds us leaving the Kingdom of God and entering a space where He is less often invited. It seems all too quickly that tempers rupture, compassion evaporates, and we suddenly see all of our faults in ourselves and one another once we’re in the church parking lot when just moments before we were sharing the body and blood of Christ together and seeking His face in all around us. So, I am challenging myself to seek His face more often than I do. I know that trouble and distress will always be near, but if I can just grow stronger in faith, I know He will enable me to take delight in His commands and it is His delight I hunger to reflect on the world.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
– Isaiah 9:1-3