Thursday, October 12, 2017
Psalms 100:1 – 5 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Several years ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit an amazing woman who truly lives the 100th Psalm every day of her life. She is a wife, a mother, and a young grandmother. She is living in a wheel chair in a rehab facility, trying to recover from brain surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. The tumor has returned and is growing again, and there’s nothing more they can do. When I asked her how she is responding spiritually to all of this, she replied, with tears in her eyes, “This is the best thing that ever happened to me.” I asked her why. Her response overwhelmed me.
She began talking about all the ways she had tried to relate to God in the past through her activity for Him, trying to earn His approval. She knew what faith was, and that her faith had saved her, but she was stuck in a performance cycle of trying to earn the ongoing approval of God and make herself worthy of His presence in her life. She admitted that she thought God was only interested in what she did for Him, and that she was primarily interested in what God would do for her.
Now that she was not able to do anything anymore, she passionately proclaimed that she has discovered the secret to having a meaningful and fulfilling relationship with Christ – He just wanted to know her heart and occupy it.
She told us about a vision God gave her that will stick in my mind forever. She was on top of a big hill overlooking a beautiful meadow in the valley below. About halfway down the hill was a large pier that extended out over the valley. A little girl played in the grassy field while an old man sat on a bench at the end of the pier. As she walked out onto the pier she noticed that the old man’s shoulders were shaking gently. As she approached him she discovered why. He was chuckling with delight as he watched the little girl play. She instantly knew that she was the little girl in the meadow, and the old man on the pier was God. He was taking delight in her life.
I thought of how many times I have found myself just sitting and watching my children and grandchildren playing and being overwhelmed with joy that they are mine. They don’t need to do anything to prove themselves to earn my love.
That is how God loves us. He made us, and we are His. We are His people; the sheep of His pasture. He delights to watch us from above while we play in the meadow.
This wonderful woman of God, who has had all her ability to perform for God removed, is living the ultimate life of joy. How significant it is that her name is Joy. She has taught me a tremendous and unforgettable lesson – the Lord is good, and His love endures forever. I did not earn it. I do not need to perform to keep it. God just wants me to experience it. He desires to fully experience me. Knowing that makes me want to come before Him with singing.
Joy admitted she wanted to sing to Him also, but she can’t sing anymore. I reminded her of the verse in Zephaniah 3:17 which says, “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Now she listens to God singing to her.