We're studying Ecclesiastes in Sunday school - and yes, it did take 3 attempts before spell checker quit red-lining my attempt to spell Ecclesiastes - and at the bottom of the handout for todays lesson was a question: "What are you pursuing?"
We'd read chapter two. The wise man had stated that he'd decided to test himself with pleasure. He then tried so many different things, land, possessions, "stuff" that made him both wealthy and known in the land. Wives, concubines, slaves. He stated that he denied himself nothing that he wanted that would please him.
And he found it was all futile. Vain. Worthless. He even found himself frustrated because all these things he'd gained would eventually be left to someone when he died and who was to say that that person would be wise or a fool?
I believe I have a pretty good perspective on "stuff". I don't typically acquire much, the latest and greatest thing out there doesn't usually draw me with a burning desire to possess. I like minimalism to a point that usually has people raising their eyebrows at me, wondering if I'm truly sane. And I still feel cluttered. I'm actually looking forward to June when we move because I'm planning on most of my furniture and "stuff" staying with my brothers family leaving me a little bit more bare.
So when I read that question this morning I felt bad that I didn't have an answer. Because when someone asks you a question about what you need to change and you don't have answer that seems almost foolish because obviously you're not perfect. But the idea of "pursuing" things held me up and I couldn't figure out an answer.
Until church began. My mind was constantly distracted with something that I might could possibly have or try to get and while it wasn't a physical possession it was still something that kept me looking for it when I should have been seeking and worshiping God.
I don't want to pursue anything except God. I want my life to read like a road trip home. Sure I might stop at a convenience store along the way, grab a bite to eat, or pull over and stretch my legs. But the goal, the focus of the whole trip is still the same. I don't want other things to blur my focus of the real place I'm headed to. Of the true goal I'm trying to reach. Everything else is just stuff along the way. I want that to be my mindset, and I don't want to allow my mind to be distracted from that to desiring other things.
But like everything else in the world, no matter how many times I tried to reign my mind in, it was like a wayward cat - if you've ever owned a cat you know herding a cat in the direction you want it to go is practically impossible. So I prayed that God would help me not to want anything else more than Him. And I hoped between the two of us we'd defeat this distraction.
Tonight though, as we sang yet another song service my mind was happily filled with only thoughts of worship. And when we came to the song "Rescue" I was driven once again to swallow worry of embarrassment and walk to the front to worship as they sang:
You are the Source of light
I can't be left behind
No one else will do
I will take hold of You
I need You, Jesus
Come to my rescue
Where else could I go?
There's no other name by which I am saved
Capture me with grace
I will follow You
My heart is Yours for life
I need Your hand in mine
No one else will do
Lord, I put my trust in You
Tears didn't fill my eyes this time though, instead JOY filled my heart as I sang with an undivided heart that "No one else will do" and that "I will follow You" and said with solidarity that "Lord, I put my trust in You". And I realized I literally had to put my trust in Him just to defeat my flesh enough to carry out my pledge of fidelity and loyalty.
At the end of the song tears of joy and laughter escaped as I sang over and over again "I will follow You" And I realized that by His grace I meant every word.
What kind of God loves me so much He helps me love Him better?
What kind of God loves me so much He doesn't just wait for me to serve Him better, but when He finds me desiring other things instead of Him, hears me ask Him to help me not think about those other things - and does it.
I've said it before, and I guess I'll just keep saying it. It's a love that I just can hardly grasp. Who of you, if you were married and found yourself lusting after someone else would ask your spouse to help you not think about ________ ? How well do you think that conversation would go?
Even if it's the right conversation to have... I can guarantee it's probably going to be a long one with tears from a very hurt spouse.
But my Father God instead, simply rained down His love again and reigned me in. He captured my hearts desires and led them to the source of ultimate hope and peace. And because of that, just as the song said "He's captured me with grace". I'm awed by His grace, His mercy, His constant presence and how present He is to see me do well, do better.
Our church is starting a 3 day fast next week (beginning the 18th) and I'm looking forward to it so much more now than I was before. I'm only tasting, eating, and enjoying the pleasure God has for me in Him and I'm absolutely ready to simply embrace it. If it means going deeper now, fine, if He slows down my growth, fine. But I'm just ready to embrace this life and love Him as deeply as I possibly can.
I've needed Him to come to my rescue, even when I obstinately declared that I didn't. And He came. That means the world to me. And I cannot love Him enough.
I will serve the Lord.