God’s mercy is what is keeping me here right now. It is what has been molding me these past twenty years; and what will continue to mold me until He decides to call me home. But sometimes, it terrifies me. To know that I fall so short and yet, he loves me. I listened to a sermon tonight by Matt Chandler and he said, “What leads us to discipline? It’s love. The love of Christ compels us, it pushes us, it controls us…Why does the love of Christ compel you? Because you’re dead!” And something clicked in me.
This semester, God has been showing me that above all, He is merciful. Everything that He hands me is because of His mercy. Especially the sufferings I go through. If I were to have everything I want exactly how I want it, I would never know how much I need Jesus. My foundation of joy would be built on everything I have and all I have done. But seeing how quickly things and people I love can be taken away or placed out of reach, I know that nothing I have earned is mine to keep. The only thing I can keep is Christ. He loves me. He desires me to know Him deeply, and I’m finding that the more I seek Him, the more I want to find. The more I want to find Him, the more deeply I love him. The more I love Him, the more I want to do what He says. The more I want to do what He says, the more I want to know Him.
Last July I was studying in Jonah and wrote this in my journal:
“Jonah disobeyed God and he knew the only way to make it right was to jump into what God placed in his path. I have been so stressed out and insecure lately, but honestly, I’ve been avoiding God, not trying to grow close to him. I feel like I should be able to control things and that I know better for my life than God does…God help me…Throw me into the sea. Come what may, sink or swim, throw me into the sea. Don’t let me chicken out or try to talk myself out of this. I want to be real. I want with every fiber of my being to be the woman You created me to be – show me how to get there.”
The next day I read Jonah 2:2-9 and I knew that learning was coming. Then at the beginning of fall semester, I wrote a poem begging God to make me love Him, pleading with Him to give me a desire to know Him more deeply than I ever have. My prayer since then has been for Him to break me, for Him to break those around me because I understand that the only way to see how much I need Him is for Him to show me that He is my only joy. He is the only solid foundation; the only one that will not cave in on top of me. I need Him. And He loves me, He loved me before I ever desired to obey Him. He loves me as flawed as I am. And that is the joy of my life: Christ is my foundation and He can be rebuilt upon when lesser joys are taken. Everything else fades when compared with my Treasure; I may rejoice in everything - the obvious joys and the heartaches - because it all leads closer to Him.
All the commands in Scripture are about leading you into joy. He’s not trying to steal from you; how is God glorified by your begrudging submission under the fear of Hell? God’s not glorified in that. God’s glorified in the fact that we enjoy Him, that we love Him, that He gives good gifts to His children…When God speaks into any facet of life, God is trying to lead you into joy; He’s not trying to steal from you, He’s trying to lead you into life. – Paraphrase of Chandler from Pastoral Prayers.