I wanted to go!
Oh, I wanted to go. But the Lord said, “No. Not yet. Not this year.”
It was the summer before my junior year of college. My church denomination offered a summer missions program for college juniors and seniors. I so wanted to sign up and see where I might find myself for ten weeks. I did get to go the next year, to Anchorage, Alaska. But for the summer of 1983, the Lord told me to stay home.
Really, God? What could you have for me in Des Moines, Iowa that would be better than serving you in a remote corner of the United States?
He pointed me to Psalm 37:3.
Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. (NASB)
It would be years later that I’d come to understand the word “cultivate” means “feed on”. But at this point in time, I thought it meant that I needed to grow in my ability to be faithful to the Lord‘s direction. A good thing for me. And I did learn more deeply to trust the Lord, His timing, and His ways.
But the real meaning of this verse is that …
Sometimes the Lord wants us to sit still and feed on His faithfulness to us.
Today I’m concluding my Souvenir for the Soul series. I’ve talked about lessons the Lord has taught me in new and unfamiliar places. But you know what? He also has much for us to learn in those stuck-at-home, hot-and-sticky, droopy-eared days.
He wants us to take long, cool drinks from our own wells.
He knows the most nutritious food grows in our own gardens.
He wants us to embrace the joy from the wet gigglers that jump through our sprinklers.
He knows our richest treasures will be found sitting around our own kitchen tables.
You know that verse I just mentioned, from Psalm 37? The very next verse is one we know well—and often misunderstand.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalm 37:4, NASB)
Something in our brains (probably from our preschool days when we believed fairy tales) tells us that if we put God first, He’ll grant our every wish. As we’ve grown older, we’ve learned (probably in heart-wrenching ways) this is not true. That same part of our brain wants to think God’s not fair. Or, He must not love us. Or, we haven’t figured out how to truly delight in Him.
But I think our spirits understand that the truth is …
When God is our foremost pursuit, He will plant His desires inside us.
And as we trust Him, wait patiently, and watch expectantly, He will be faithful to fulfill those desires.
So for those of us who didn’t get to “go” this summer, God still has souvenirs for our souls.
Souvenir for the Soul: God’s most precious treasures aren’t discovered in the wow, but in the right here and now.
Lord, teach us to look hard in our own places and discover the riches you’ve set right in front of us. Help us savor that honey-sweet manna that arrives daily on our own plates—Your goodness.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; …
(Psalm 37:5-7a, NASB)
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
(Psalm 34:8, NASB)