When still nothing came to mind I went to the bookshelf that holds among it the bible that belonged to my paternal Great Great Great Grandmother and thumbed through for inspiration. I found a newspaper clipping bookmarking Ezekiel. So I pulled out my Life Application Study Bible and read through the preface of what the book of Ezekiel covers.
I loved this:
Restoration: Ezekiel consoles the people by telling them that the day will come when God will restore those who turn from sin. God will be their King and shepherd. He will give his people a new heart to worship him, and he will establish a new government and a new temple.
The certainty of restoration encourages believers in times of trial. But we must be faithful to God because we love him, not merely in our future benefits.
Give his people a new heart to worship him, yes Lord.
The part that left an impression on me was the second excerpt. The certainty of restoration encourages believers in times of trial. But we must be faithful to God because we love him, not merely in our future benefits. I was reminded of the time I spent discussing today's Jesus Calling devotional with the kids. Today's topic Come to Me closed with, "What I want is to be their hiding place -- and yours. Let Me heal your hurts and give you a quiet place for your soul to rest. Come to Me, and I will give you rest." We read the listed scriptures, finishing with Matthew 11:28.
While the devotional pointed to seeking Him in times of trials, I took a slightly different approach. In retrospect the approach my heart is dealing with. We discussed how easy it is as believers for us to rush to the Father in times of unrest. We pursue his face with petitions of how to change a situation, heal a body, to bring restoration, and the list flows deep from there. But we are called to a relationship in all the ebbs and flows of life. He is the source of life in all things.
The parallel of these coming together stung. The reference to be faithful to the Father in all days and in all ways, not just in times of benefit. To come with our burdens, yes but also with our joys. To come with our brokenness, but also with a restored heart of thanksgiving. How easy, how complacent I can become in seeking out the Father's healing for my laundry list of woes and yet in the time of wholeness I drift.
As I contemplated it all I starred at these books filled with wisdom and smiled at their origin.
One that spans generations with it's weathered cover and family lineage scrawled inside. One that shares sweet moments with my babes, discovering the Lord's truth together. One that my groom gave me with my forever name imprinted on it. One loving selected by my biggest of big brothers.
The Lord gave me a tangible moment to show my unbelieving eyes that he sees me. I needed the reminder of the love that surrounds me when I want to give root to the lies the enemy plants. The truth is I am a joy counter. I seek beauty and count it joy, but I also absorb pain and wallow in it too. The later beckons me to lay it at the Father's feet, but in the fullness of joy I should also rejoice.
And so I will continue to count joys, strive not to give way to lies, and in all ways give thanks to glory and goodness of God.
What is God speaking to you? How can I pray and believe with you?