As I was walking this morning I felt an unaccountable gloominess. A flatness. I waited for the joy that usually comes when I listen to the songs of praise, but it didn’t come. For someone who has just started a two month sabbatical, just coming off a wonderful vacation I should feel ecstatic, joyful. But the feeling doggedly haunted my steps. I praised God anyway. I passed some chalk drawings on the driveway, highly unusual in a retirement community; hopscotch and people with stick arms and legs. The whimsical innocent drawings of childhood made me smile, but there was also a sadness behind it. I was reminded of how much time I am missing being so far from my 7 year old niece. But my Father knew all the things I was feeling and He had a surprise.
I think sometimes He allows the gray feelings so that we can recognize the brightness of His Presence when it comes. That way He gets the glory. I settled into my “prayer chair.” I thanked Him for the day, for my health, my breath, and that of my family, friends. I needed something else. I started praying for whatever and whomever came to mind, going down the list. Then as so often happens when I need to hear from God, I opened His word and this is what I saw.
6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way
and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
How did God know exactly what I needed to hear at that moment? What I got out of it was this. God is omnipresent, unchanging, omnipotent. Nothing is a surprise to Him. He knows exactly what I am feeling at any moment…..and here is the important part. He cares about His daughter enough to come down to my humble place of prayer, to quicken His Spirit within me, to completely obliterate the grayness, and totally change my outlook…..and He did, all in a matter of minutes! And if He hadn’t? He would still be God, still be in control. I would still love Him just as much because He is worthy!
I may read those same verses tomorrow and it won’t have the same effect at all, but today, He shone a light behind them just for me and maybe, hopefully, for someone else reading this as well. Those verses leapt off the page and into my heart, and blasted me with His brilliance and again I was caught off guard!
We really do serve an awesome God. Thank you Father, for surprising me once again with Your joy!