It is a beautiful Sunday morning in Atlanta, GA. Frank took my car to church so he could get it washed and filled up for me. Of course, I reminded him as he left that I would appreciate more than the $12.99 deal at the car wash, which he tends to do if he is feeling particularly penny pinching. (No second guessing why I didn't go to church. Someday I might tell you - or not).
As he left, he kinda shook his head like he was trying to get something out of his ear. I asked him what was wrong, and he said, "I'm just having trouble with you telling me not to be cheap about something I was trying to do for you as a part of my 'love language.'"
When he came home, my car was the cleanest it had ever been, and he had purchased additional car washes for me, filled up my car and gave me the keys with a smile on his face.
It reminded me of how the Lord listens to me treating him like a "genie in a bottle," telling Him what I need and exactly how I need it, and the Son of the Living God continues to treat me with with respect and unconditional love, always meeting my needs above and beyond anything I could ask or imagine. Long ago, He handed me the keys to life with His death and never complained.
The more I know about Jesus, the more I realize just how well He knows my frailty. I have always known that with my heart, but why has it taken me so many years just to get the fact that He not only knows my frailty, but He expects it and loves me anyway. It is unfathomable to me that He does not judge my lack of faith, but He sends me message after message to remind me how to strengthen it and in so doing, see my frailty decrease.
I was thinking this morning (and it would take a lifetime to find all of the references) about all of the verses I have memorized with reinforcement like, "be not afraid, I am Thy God," not I am THE God, which He is, but I am thy God - you are mine and I am yours, Mec." "Trust in me with all of your heart and don't lean on your own understanding," "I won't do you harm but good," "cast all of your care upon me," "my yoke is easy, and my burden is light," "you can do anything through my strength," "Rejoice in the Lord alway, did you hear me? Let me say it again," "I don't slumber or sleep," "I will never Leave you or Forsake you" and on and on.
It is only when I clear away the expectations of others and focus on what He expects of me that I get the message. He wants me to "love Him, my Lord and my God with all of my heart, soul, and mind" and obey out of love, trusting His faithfulness. I can only do that because He first loved me. I can only do that as I yield my will, less of me, more of Him - no - not just less, but none of me and all of Him.
Those moments (which can be few and far between because I am so easily full of myself), when I completely surrender are the moments of victory, peace, joy, and utter delight in the person of Jesus Christ.
Notice, there is a moment of surrender. I have learned over and over ((I'm hard headed) that it is in the deep moments of decision, heartbreak, suffering, and often remorse that I come to the point of complete surrender. It is also in the moments of overwhelming gratefulness for His goodness that I come to the point of surrender. It is often His goodness that brings us to repentance, depending on my needs at the moment. (Romans 2:4)
My prayer every day lately is that I will learn to rejoice with as much glee in the valley, as I do on the mountaintop and to be as mindful of His goodness on the mountaintop. I can forget how I got there sometimes.
After all, He is my joy and my rejoicing, and He never leaves me and never forsakes me. I heard a preacher say that "leave" indicates the physical while "forsake" indicates the emotional.
I am the apple of His eye, He left the Holy Spirit to indwell me, and He sends people across my path on a daily basis to speak encouragement, even loving rebuke into my life, and He left His Word so that I understand as I feed on it that He has left me with the most amazing emotional source of strength - Himself.
He will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). Today, right at this moment, I do believe that with all of my heart, soul, and mind. Do you? It will revolutionize the way we live our Christian lives when we really get a grasp on that truth and never let it go.
Oh, How I love Jesus,
Oh, How I love Jesus,
Oh, How I love Jesus,
Because He first loved me.
And All God's people said, "Amen and Amen." Always approaching the day with joy. Mecca