April 1, Wednesday – Psalms 55, 74; Jeremiah 17:5-10, 14-17; Philippians 4:1-13; John 12:27-36
When I first saw the readings for today, I was pleased that some of my favorite and familiar scriptures, were contained in these readings. I expected to write about trusting in God and Him filling us with His perfect peace. It felt comfortable.
Unfortunately, the Holy Spirit seldom takes us to comfortable places. This past week, I felt led to go in a totally different direction with these readings. (A place where I would need to share on a more personal and honest level, as many of the Lenten bloggers had done). Jack’s recent sermon confirmed this for me.
What now jumped out at me, was no longer Philippians 4:6-7 or Ephesians 4:8-9, but rather Psalm 55 and John 12:27. David and Jesus, vehemently crying out, in anguish to the Father.
Jack spoke of Jesus’ desperate plea–seeking a “way out”–yet surrendering with the words: “yet not what I will but what You will.” He could have been delivered from his suffering, but recognized that this was the culmination of his life–the very reason for his coming.
By vs. 2 in Psalm 55, David had cried out three times to the Lord.
Then in vs. 4: “my heart is severely pained within me”, which Spurgeon compared to Jesus’ Gethsemane experience when “his soul was exceedingly sorrowful even unto death”. At this point, Spurgeon invites his readers to follow the examples of David and Jesus in pouring out their hearts to God.
Verse 6 was the verse that really drew me in. David’s desire is to escape. “Oh that I had wings like a dove, for then I would fly away and be at rest.” This is very familiar for most of us. When things get tough, we want to run.
This past Fall, I went through a period, that I have come to refer to as my “Jonah Phase”. The Lord had been calling me into the unknown. I sensed, in my spirit, that this was going to be a difficult and painful path and that my heart would be vulnerable.
I had all the reasons for “escaping to Tarshish”–there were others more qualified and gifted, my heart needed more time to heal from recent losses…
Everywhere I turned, I was confronted with the Jonah story. I knew that this was no accident. The Holy Spirit was trying to get my attention and I was trying my hardest to block Him out!
One day, while singing the refrain from a very familiar song, I was caught “off guard”. As I sang “Here I am Lord. Is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if You lead me. I will hold your people in my heart”, my heart melted.
As my tears freely flowed, I knew that, at that very moment, I was surrendering — not my will but Yours, Lord…