Every now and then someone makes a statement that alters my perception of things. Recently I experienced such a moment and it provoked a personal inquisition of sorts. This is a story of taking a moment to ponder the sageness of an esteemed elder in my life. . .
Despite the chemo, his soft white hair remains fairly thick for an 82 year-old-man. His strained voice carried a note of exhaustion and pain, but not a hint of resignation. He still fights, praying that if God sees fit, He will bless him with a few more years on this old earth- a few more opportunities to share the Gospel.
I sat by his bedside in anticipation of what he might tell me, wishing to create a memory by willfully engraving it into my conscience. After all, I do not have the opportunity to see my grandfather (my only living grandparent) often and I am all too aware that these little visits won’t happen forever. He is such a venerable patriarch; for nearly fifty years he has served his Father and stored up His Word in his heart. I wanted to soak up his insight; I wanted to glean from his wisdom.
He listened to my requests for stories about family members who have gone on ahead of us. His words were ripe and heavy. I could sense that he was carefully selecting which things to share with me. There was so much that he could tell me and his energy was fleeting.
Peppered throughout talk of family were the ever-present references back to God, offering his sentiments on the perplexities of the Bible. I took it all in, appreciating his perspective and passion. Then he made a casual statement that stood out to me as a simple yet substantial truth.
He said, “Kelley, the great thing about God is that anyone can have as much of Him as they want. You see, right now, each person is walking around with exactly how much of God that they desire. It’s true of you, me and everyone else.”
His candid declaration rocked me. It was as if my soul recognized the gravity of his observation before my mind could grasp it with clarity.
These words have been echoing in my mind ever since, and the more that I reflect on them, the more profound they seem. What he said is as true of an unbeliever as it is of a person with devout faith. Our hearts are vessels that He waits to occupy, and how present He is in our lives is in direct relation to our want for Him. Want none: you’ve got it. Want to be filled over-flowing with Him: done.
I think for many Christians, sadly, we sometimes find ourselves sliding somewhere to the lower end of the continuum. Sure, we say that we want Him in our lives, but the way that we spend our time reveals that He just isn’t a priority. We give Him so little and in return, we reap so little of the harvest.
My conversation with my grandfather that day made me pause and take stock of how much of God that I have access to, and I spotted some inconsistencies in my walk with Him. The days when I feel Him with me the most are the days that I begin with Him, in prayer and in His Word, professing His essentialness to my existence and satisfaction. The days that leave me feeling the most empty are the days when I jump out of bed and hit the ground running, squeezing Him in like an after-thought when I find something that I need to ask Him for- living as if I am content to just get by on my own strength.
Just as I could never truly be content without Him, how could I ever say that I had enough of Him? That I don’t want a greater abundance of God in my life? That my cup “overfloweth” enough already?
As much as I was convicted by my grandfather’s words that day, I was also encouraged. I felt like I had received some good news and I was anxious to share it: the creator of the universe, in His totality, is yours if you want Him. That’s almost unfathomable. Yet if we are not careful we can take Him for granted. I know this because I have been guilty of it.
How much of Him do you really want? Are you investing in Him daily? You would never expect to wake up one day and find that your body had magically transformed while you slept: your biceps, abdomen and calves to be suddenly ripped and toned without ever having done a curl, press or crunch. So why do we Christians sometimes think that we can go through life spending all of our time and energy feeding only our flesh, and expect to have our souls nourished and sustained?
Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.
Just pursue Him. When life is a struggle; when daily circumstances wear us slap out; when we feel like we just can’t find rest or comfort and long for more of Him- just pursue Him. He’s right there, waiting to express His love and strengthen us; waiting to equip us for all that life can dish out- even things that we could never endure alone.
It has been a couple of months now since the day that my PawPaw shared his insight with me and he has since taken a dramatic turn for the better. There were times when I feared that he was approaching death’s door, but now it looks like he might just get to hang around a little longer after all. I guess I’ll never know for sure why God is granting him this extra time here, but I suspect that maybe it has something to do with my grandfather’s willingness to share God’s love with others and his efforts to inspire people like me to seek God wholeheartedly. Now that, my friend, is a legacy that I aspire to live up to.
Luke 10: 27 He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” NIV
Psalm 123:5-6 You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. NIV