>Enjoying the stillness

>I love these times in the evening when it’s cool enough outside to open up the apartment and let the humid after-rain air in. It smells so good, and I love the sound of the crickets and cicadas. There are comfort foods, comfort smells and for me, comfort sounds. The only sound missing is a train. I grew up just a few blocks from the river and consequently, the train tracks.

I have absolutely overwhelmed this week with precious times in the Lord’s presence. Just times where everything is quiet, with the exception of music in the background (lately I’ve been loving hymns, and Pandora wireless on my iPod and dock).

There are two truths that have really made themselves known to me this week, and I will try to include Scripture references:

God does not require perfection to come into His presence; in fact, He is made stronger in our weakness and delights in our willingness to surrender to Him.

This is something I realized last night at worship practice. Here you have seven or eight musicians, all of whom are human and have his or her own trials, sin, what have you. And God still visits us and we can still worship in His presence, and even lead others in worship! He is perfect, holy, spotless and we are the complete opposite. Still He delights in our humility to bow down before Him and worship amidst our humanity. This was the entire point of Jesus coming to earth, to tear that veil from top to bottom and allowing us to come into the Holy of Holies with only Jesus as our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16).

He is faithful to fill us with His joy, even in the midst of trials and disappointment.

This week I’ve had a breakdown or two, when I confess to God and to my husband that I “just can’t do this anymore”. No, I can’t. I have no strength left sometimes. But if we are faithful in our confession of our weakness, His joy can fill our spirits and really have an impact on the situation.

In our Bible study this week, Aaron and I took a look at the latter half of Psalm 16, verses 8-11:

 8 I have set the LORD always before me.
       Because he is at my right hand,
       I will not be shaken.
 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
       my body also will rest secure,
 10 because you will not abandon me to the grave,
       nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
 11 You have made known to me the path of life;
       you will fill me with joy in your presence,
       with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
I made mention of the fact that yes, God will show us the way and give us joy, but often we miss the point. Our side of the commitment, that we have to first put the Lord before us. Only then will He meet the desires of our hearts and give us joy in our weakness.
I have noticed in the past couple months, as I’ve been confessing my weakness to the Lord and sometimes my unwillingness to go on in this situation, that almost immediately I find relief. The next morning I wake up with puffy eyes, but also a new indwelling of His Spirit and strength for the day. I know that relief will not always come immediately, so I have really come to treasure it in this season.
I have noticed lately that again sometimes my thoughts dwell on getting to Korea too much. I can make a pretty little idol out of my desire to be with my husband. I could make what the world sees as good excuses to complain and bemoan my circumstances. The truth is, this situation has brought about so many opportunities to praise God, and to pour into others’ lives. My lack of time commitment, save to church events and to my part-time job, allows me to spend time with friends and family. It also allows me to do things that I enjoy like sewing, knitting and reading.
I know that many of the Psalms only David could write. He knew what it was to make his bed in hell and to praise the Lord in all circumstances. He knew what it was like to come before God with an impure heart (Psalm 51). I am learning in my personal experiences what some of these things are like, such as praising God in the midst of trials, and setting the Lord before me day to day.
And it’s transforming my worship, whether it’s in the car or on Sunday morning. When you’ve been there, done that, you can relate. And when you can’t only relate, but testify of the Lord’s goodness, that’s when the song is much more than a song. It’s a cry from the heart, a confession. I love the meaning behind “confess” in the Greek, from Strong’s:
1) to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, assent
2) to concede
a) not to refuse, to promise
b) not to deny
1) to confess
2) declare
3) to confess, i.e. to admit or declare one’s self guilty of what one is accused of
3) to profess
a) to declare openly, speak out freely
b) to profess one’s self the worshipper of one
4) to praise, celebrate
Is that speaking to you? Because it is to me. Remembering Greek roots from sophomore etymology (yes, high school!), homo- means “same” and log- means “speech” and -logy means “a speaking, discourse, treatise, doctrine, theory, science” (last definition from Online Etymology Dictionary). Wow.

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Elizabeth

Exploring, reading, running, teaching, traveling, yoga, in alphabetical order.

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