September 16, 2018

“Be joyful,” Wendell Berry says, “though you have considered all the facts.” Though you have considered all the reasons the Lord may choose not to bless you: there are people starving, you dropped an f-bomb in traffic, and of course, not everyone gets what she wants. But is it that? Is it that you can’t reconcile sovereignty and suffering? Is it that you believe God stands ready to slap you the moment you screw up? Or is it that trusting Him doesn’t feel safe? That’s it, isn’t it? It’s that wanting something so badly is so hard, and holding it pressed to your chest without fully letting Him near it seems like a better idea. A more reasonable plan. A backup, a contingency, a “I’m going to ask for this, God, but not with everything I have.” Because it’ll hurt too much if you ask, and He denies you, right? But doesn’t it hurt already, what you’re doing? Trying to convince yourself you don’t want this blessing as badly as you do? “Be joyful,” you tell yourself, “though you have considered all the facts.” Be happy, though there is a hole in your heart that could swallow the sun. Be content, though God has told you He will fill that hole to overflowing—give you Himself, give you His joy, in all the ways He manifests His kingdom in the here and now. But you choose to let your pulse grow thin and thready and say, “I can still love God if this is as good as it gets.” But is that loving God? Or is that your pride trying to prove you don’t need anything from anyone, not even Him? You need everything from God. Whether you choose to ask Him for the big, bold heartbeats does not change the fact that you need Him even for the breath you’re breathing in this moment. So why not take Him at His word? Why not ask and seek and knock and actually expect an answer? Why not trust that a good Father gives good gifts to His children, though you’ve seen this a thousand times over? Why not consider that, by giving Him all the facts, He will give you joy? And not the sad, sorry, human joy you’ve been trying to muscle yourself into. But actual joy. Spirit-filled, pouring-over, bright, beautiful, God-throbbing joy. What if He wants to bless you because He loves you? Have you ever considered that?

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