Yesterday, my pastor said something in the middle of the message that caught me. It’s been churning in my heart ever since, as a picture…a demonstration…that I knew, but that is now being revealed to me in a way that is even more real.
Here is a map of me in this world. A different kind of map:
Life feels like that a lot. I’m surrounded by things, both good and bad, swirling around me. Often, it seems that the negative ones are closest around me. It also seems that, for every good thing I desire in my life, the alternative is hanging around close-by, ready to clobber me if I’m not careful.
And somewhere, hiding in the midst of it all is God.
Now most humans (myself included) spent/spend/will spend a lot of time searching and working toward those gems. The problem is, when we’re striving for success (for example), this is often what happens:
Success moves father away, and weariness and impatience and selfishness and bitterness and jealousy move in. And all the while, poverty and failure are hot on our tail. And God is still somewhere out there.
This seems to be the story, no matter what noble thing we’re striving for. Those things we want act like we’re the opposite end of a magnet–no matter which way we move, they scoot just out of reach.
Eventually, I came to realize that I was going about it in the wrong way. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” The problem was, I wasn’t quite sure how to delight myself in the Lord. I knew I loved Him. I wanted to serve Him. But I had this nagging feeling that the main reason I wanted to serve Him was so I’d get all those other wonderful things…which meant I was still more delighted by those things than I was by Him. And so I asked Him to change me…to show me how to delight myself in Him.
I started searching…harder and harder, as I clung to His promise in Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek Me and you will find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” That’s His promise that He’s not going to act like the opposite magnetic pole. When we draw near to Him, He draws near to us, instead of scooting away like all those other elusive desires.
If you start reading this blog from the beginning, you’ll see that He began to reveal more and more of Himself to me. And as He did, I began to find Him more and more delightful. More amazing. More awesome. More wonderful.
And the desires that my heart used to have keep fading away, more and more, only to be replaced by one greater desire…to know Him, and to walk with Him.
So is that promise a trick? We’re not really going to get our desires, because by the time we fulfill the conditions, we won’t want them anymore? Honestly…I can easily see how that would make some people not want to search for God, if He’s going to make them stop desiring what they want most.
And yet, there’s these two verses, which my pastor threw out in the middle of the sermon yesterday.
Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life…”
And Deuteronomy 28:2 says, “All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you.”
I suddenly realized something remarkable about these two promises. Both indicate that all those wonderful things are behind me. There is no promise that I will find them (or that they will find me) as long as I am facing toward them or looking for them.
Not only that, I must be moving in the opposite direction. You cannot be followed or overtaken if you are standing still.
What direction should I be moving in? The answer is not just any direction. Moving toward poverty will not give me love. And moving toward selflessness will not bring me hope. There is only one direction that the promises hold to, and that is toward God…seeking Him and finding Him. For goodness and mercy will only follow me if I am letting my Good Shepherd lead me. If I am following Him.
This, then, is what following God looks like, and this is the picture that flashed through my mind on Sunday:
This is how life works. And this is the reality that I am starting to discover…for these things are overtaking me now that I’m not searching for them.
Life with God is so incredible!
This is why, for today’s Multitude Monday, I am thankful for:
358. Him speaking through my pastor on Sunday.
359. These pictures that God gave me
360. Psalm 23:6
361. Deuteronomy 28:2
362. The bounty of vegetables coming from my garden
363. The financial blessings that have caught me by surprise in the last few months
364. The peace that clings to me regardless of what goes on around me
365. The reconciliation I had hardly even asked for that God did
366. The patience and love that I sometimes can’t figure out what hidden spot inside of me it came from
377. His strength extended to me when I hardly dared ask for it
378. And grace because I don’t deserve a single one of these gifts.
2 thoughts on “Followed and overtaken…”
Katie, the pictures help the heart understand! "Being followed and overtaken"…good food for chewing on this week. Blessings to you and your family!
🙂 I think in pictures a lot. That's why these mental pictures meant so much to me. I'm glad they speak to you, too, Donna!