The past two Sundays, the kids and I have attended my childhood church with my parents. I lovingly refer to it as “Fancy Church.” Though Dad says it’s gotten pretty casual these days. He says, “I don’t wear a suit and tie anymore. Just khakis and my sportscoat.” The music minister apologetically joked about being so tired from VBS, he’d forgotten where he’d put his own sportscoat. Clearly, he didn’t mean to come on stage jacketless.
In addition to always wearing some sort of jacket to church, my dad has also been teaching Sunday School for 45 years. Beginning with newlyweds before I was born and going right up to his current class he’s been leading for (and this is a guess because no one can really remember) 20 years.
When I’m in town, I so enjoy going to his class. It’s a privilege I don’t take lightly, sitting under his teaching of scripture. The class started a new study of 2 Samuel recently. David and Saul and Jonathan and Michal, David’s wife and Saul’s daughter, who never bore any children, verses haunting infertiles everywhere.
Last Sunday, the class was in 2 Samuel 3, Ish-bosheth, David, and Abner. Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, falsely accused Abner, a loyal member of Saul’s side in the war with David, of having an affair with one of his father’s concubines. (Can I tell you how much I dislike that word?) (Not to mention the entire concept.) Abner didn’t actually do the thing he was accused of so he let Ish-bosheth HAVE IT. And then he stormed out headed to David to switch sides.
David, being far less suspicious of people than Ish-bosheth, welcomes Abner.
“Then Abner said to David, ‘Let me go at once and assemble all Israel for my lord the king, so that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may rule over all that your heart desires.’ So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.” ~2 Samuel 3:21 (NIV) (emphasis mine)
Those words, “all that your heart desires,” they immediately reminded me of this verse…
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” ~Psalm 37:4 (NIV)
Along with the story of David’s wife, Michal, that verse in Psalms also haunts infertiles.
During the years infertiles wait on God to grow our family, we become the recipients of a good deal of unwanted, unnecessary, and often, flat wrong, platitudes. Including that beautiful verse from Psalms.
People Who Don’t Know What to Say, say…”You know, God will give you the desires of your heart!”
God does say He will give us the desires of our heart but the “delight yourself in the Lord” part is kind of vital. Either people forget that part or they leave it out to focus on the promise.
But you don’t get the promise without the delighting.
It’s a package deal. And even in the delighting, the promise isn’t an immediate thing.
David is an excellent example of this. Anointed in his father’s house, the youngest brother, called in from the pasture during his job of caring for the sheep. And the Lord told Samuel, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”
But then. David anointed and chosen King of Israel, spends the next 15 or so years waiting to take his place on the throne. My pastor said this, David was anointed but not yet appointed.
During those years of waiting, David was accepted into Saul’s life, then rejected, pursued and hunted, fighting and moving from place to place with his men just so he could fulfill the calling God has placed on his life.
For me, motherhood was the calling, the anointing. But the appointing? The fulfillment of the calling? That took some time. There was some accepting and a lot of rejecting, realizing God was pursuing me and my heart just as the enemy was hunting me to destroy my hope. What I didn’t know then was God’s calling on my life could not be rescinded.
“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable [for He does not withdraw what He has given, nor does He change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call].” ~Romans 11:29 (AMP)
Not sure what God has called you to in your life. Maybe it’s motherhood or maybe it’s planting a church or being a teacher or a bank teller or a landscaper or a photographer. Each of us has a calling complete with gifts and talents needed to fulfill that calling.
But before we can walk in that calling, accept how God completes the work no matter how different it might look from our own expectations, we have to learn how to delight ourselves in the Lord.
For it is in the delighting that we find our deliverance.
Sometimes our callings come right out of nowhere. Samuel comes knocking on our door, calls us out of ordinary, everyday life, and says, You were created for more. The Lord has called you. And we stand humbled and amazed and completely uncertain about what comes next. And over the years of working and waiting, moving inch by tiny inch towards that calling, the enemy never rests. He relentlessly hunts us down, chipping away at our faith and hope in God’s calling. Until we are worn thin.
Friend, we must find our way back to the delighting.
We have to go back to the beginning, to speaking the language of heaven, the laying our offerings of gratitude at the feet of our Savior.
Today, let’s remember the calling God has given us right smack in the middle of our eating, sleeping, going to work, ordinary life.
And thank Him for Something. A cool breeze on a hot day, the sunlight through the trees, sticky little faces stained with red popsicle juice, the sound of laughing and splashing at the neighborhood pool, the kitchen table messy with imaginative creations, blankets hung over chairs for forts, drying beach towels on the fence.
In finding our Something for which we can be grateful, Everything around us becomes an opportunity for our thankful offering. Our heart has shifted just a bit, readjusted it’s position towards Jesus and away from the war the enemy is waging. We’ve tuned in to a good God and tuned out the thief.
Before we even realize it’s happened, we’ve found ourselves thanking God for His kindness, He grace, His sovereignty, His righteousness, His Son He lovingly gave just to get us. Just to get you. And now, we have found our delight. He is our Delight, our Joy, our Author and Perfector of our faith.
Grateful for our One Thing.
The delighting doesn’t make the appointing come any faster. God will do what He needs to do exactly when He needs to do it. But the delighting makes the journey worth it and you know the fulfillment of God’s calling on your life might now look anything like you expected but there is such joy and peace in knowing you are exactly where you need to be.
Gratefully delighting in the Lord.