I stood in your house the other day, the mid-morning light streaming through the windows, and worshipped. I am no stranger to worship, I frequent the halls and rows and offices where we talk about worship and extolling your name. But this worship was different. Usually when I come to you, I come for what you can give me, or, if it is a good day, what I can give you. This day was different: I was worshipping you for what you might not give me and how you offer it all the same.
Not like a bad parent who lends peeks to their kids at Christmastime, tricking them into believing they'll get certain gifts, all the while knowing they mean something else for them entirely, but like a good parent who holds out a pony and playhouse and asks their child to pick. "Me?" I ask, because I am unaccustomed to getting what I want, let alone getting the choice of what I want, "Do you maybe mean this for me?"
I wrote this in December, not to you, because I was struggling to believe you meant good for me that day, but I wrote it just the same. I knew the fault was in me, for not asking, for not believing you could possibly dispose yourself in my direction. But I also think I believed the fault was in you for pretending to not know my desires anyway.
I see now you want me to ask.
Today I talked to my friend across the table and told him thank you for pastoring me in December. He sat on my couch for three hours four months ago and talked and listened and asked and didn't advise much and it was the best. It was as if I was a wayward arrow and he stepped in to blow a welcome breeze in the right direction, a degree off, maybe two, now righted. Joy, he said, pursue joy.
I know you've said this to me again and again, and again and again. And I don't know why I run the opposite direction so often, certain you must mean crumbs for me when if I would just lift up my head I'd see the feast you've prepared for me.
Joy, you've said, pursue joy.
Father, I play with mud-pies and sandcastles, you offer me kingdoms and plenty, and I can't stop thanking you for the choicest pleasures and even the choice at all. It's only through your Son's willing choice to sacrifice Himself on my behalf, so it's in His name I pray, amen.