Friday, November 04, 2005

A man after God's own heart

This is from my old Yahoo 360 account. I'm reposting here because I liked it so much. The original date was September 7, 2005.

When I was younger, heck, last week.....yesterday? Okay, let's start again. In the past, recent and distant, I have wanted to be a man after God's own heart. I've also thought to myself that I would have chosen as Solomon did and gone for door number three and the wisdom. In the distant past I wanted these things because I was proud and I wanted God to look at me and say "There goes my boy, look at what he can do!" I also wanted other people to think that I was a very wise and insightful person.

Of course, both of these desires were foolish, and obstacles to the very thing I was hoping for! David was a humble Shepherd when God said that he was a man after His own heart. David wasn't looking for applause or commendation; he found his pleasure in glorifying God. For a long time I missed the mark with this, I just didn't get it. I thought I did. I was very proud about how humble I was, especially about how much more humble I was than other people. What a fool I have been.

And bingo, there it was. With that one sentence, with that one admission I took the step towards being a man after God's own heart that I needed to take. I realized that I was proud and that this was foolish and with that thought I became more like David. When I made that admission, I became like David when he confessed to Nathan (2 Sam 12:13) that he had sinned against the Lord. That confession was what made him a man after God's own heart, and similarly, my confession of pride drew me closer to God and the man he wanted me to be.

Am I done now? HA! Not even close. Each day is a battle. The race is long and grueling. Some days I run through life and it is glorious. I move as the wind moves, lighter than air and free. Those are the days in which I am grounded in the Word and fully trusting God to lead the way. Those are the days I am humble before Him and I realize that the day is but a gift that He has granted to me.

Other days I am shackled to the ground, and each step is painful. (Think mile 22 or so of a marathon) These are the days that I am bogged down in what has been, what might not be, what I have done and not done. These are the days that I forget about God, or at least push Him away. I am thinking too much about the next mile, instead of just being thankful that I can take the next step.

Before the great spleen injury I was running. In my best week I ran 16 miles. That was quite an accomplishment for me and I was very exuberant about that. I can remember the first day that I pushed myself to three miles. I was so exhilarated. The days that I am trusting God are just like those days. It is so exhilarating to know that the creator of the universe is looking out for me, walking with me, planning my day.

The first day I ran was different though. I got about 200 yards or so into it, and I began to wonder what I had been thinking to undertake the endeavor in the first place. Each step was taken only by sheer will. My legs were heavy like lead and my lungs seemed like they would never get enough air again. These are the days that I am thinking how awful it is that my marriage failed, that my mother died, that I have no child, I can't make a sale..... Instead of trusting that the God that has brought me this far hasn't stopped loving me perfectly and will take care of me because I am His son, I lose my focus and start to wonder how I will make it through the whole race. My job is just to take the next step.

Of course, all this makes me think of other days that can be just as harmful. Those are the days that I forget that I am running a race at all. These days seem harmless enough, but in forgetting the race I am forgetting God, or at least telling Him "I'll get back with you in a minute
." These are days of selfish indulgence. They seem harmless at first, but when you stop running the race, you get out of shape and unprepared for what is to come. These days lead to the days where the focus on God is lost.

Thankfully, God never fails to come down and steer me back on the path, to help me back into the race. It usually hurts, I won't lie. There is usually a good deal of weeping on my part, and often a need to repent. Ironically, those are the first few steps of running the race again. Those are the steps of realizing that I have allowed impurities to pollute me and am no longer prepared to run the race. Those are the days of grace, when I feel closest to God, because I realize how far away from Him I deserve to be and am overwhelmed by how close He has pulled me to Him. I never feel so loved as these days.

I started this by saying I wanted to be a man after God's own heart like David and wise like Solomon. I did have a point beyond the race analogy, but I enjoy digressing. My point is that I have never felt so close to these aspirations as I do lately. Going through what I have gone through with the spleen injury, most notably the nearly dying part, has changed me in a way that I may not be able to describe sufficiently.

I have come to realize in these past few months just how fortunate I am. In the past I have been fortunate for the way that God has provided for me. I have been able to look back at my life and see the obstacles that God moved out of my life to get me this far. I can see the times that God has caught me when I climbed too high in a tree and lost my grip. I can also see the times that He let me hit the ground when I climbed the same tree one too many times. For all of that I am and have been thankful, because He did what He did to make me realize how much he loves me.

This is different. The Bible compares life to a vapor (
James 4:14) and never before has this been so firmly rooted in my consciousness. Each day, each minute, each breath is a gift that God has given to us. Some days I am driving to work and I just ponder the very fact that I've been given another day and I am overcome with gratefulness. (Other days the guy in front of me is a moron and it's harder to focus)

Each day is a gift. God is great and He deserves to have control of my life. I am wiser, more like Solomon. My heart is closer to David's. Time for bed. I have to wake up tomorrow and take another step.


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