I have a confession to make. I have a contrary heart. I mean really contrary.
Deep in the belly of the whale contrary.
I set up curtains there. It’s a home away from home. That’s how much time I spend there.
When I was a teenager I was busy telling the Lord what I could handle. A child with Cerebral Palsy? Okay. One with Down’s Syndrome? Sure. Just not Autism, Lord. I can’t handle that.
I couldn’t handle leading a ministry at church either. Nope. God didn’t want me to date a young man from seminary because I wasn’t meant to be a pastor’s wife. There’s no way I could be a role model. Nope. Not me. God knows I’m not role model material.
It took me until the age of 45 to realize He wasn’t listening to me. I wasn’t listening to Him either. Funny thing that. Do you know that if you’re busy telling God what you’re not then you can’t listen to Him telling you what you are? Because, you know, you can’t listen when you’re talking.
Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Psalm 4:4
Declarative statements are all fine and dandy in a court of law, but they sure don’t work with God. He asks us to be still. Be quiet. “Meditate in your heart” sounds nothing like talking. It’s a whole lot of not talking.
I did a lot of talking. A lot of telling God what I couldn’t and wouldn’t do. Just like Jonah. And like Jonah I’ve spent time in the whale. I know what it means to be sitting with the sun beating down on your head, wondering why God doesn’t do something! Why doesn’t He say SOMETHING?! But if you’re busy grumbling about your situation you can’t hear God saying:
Move, silly. Just get out of the sun. My shade is over here.
You know, it’s not at all comfortable to be in a place God doesn’t want you to be. I’m sure Jonah didn’t think the belly of that whale was a 4 star hotel. It wasn’t at all comfortable for D to be in public school. “But homeschooling is DEFINITELY not for me, Lord”
And that fast, I’m back in the whale.
I’m sitting in the sun. His shade is 3 feet away, but I’m. Not. Moving. I have a contrary heart. I’m hardheaded. Sheer stubbornness.
I’m satisfied with coal because I’m not digging for diamonds. It’s too much work. I have to stretch myself too far. It’s not comfortable.
By the way, God isn’t concerned about my comfort in the least.
Getting up in front of people isn’t the least bit comfortable for me, but now I’m leading a ladies’ bible study. I’m comfortable at work but I’m a stay-at-home mom. Autism scares me and I have a child with Autism.
Perhaps you have a contrary heart too. Perhaps you like to spend time in the whale. You don’t have to stay, you know. It’s up to you. This is all you have to do:
Cease striving and know that I am God; Psalm 46:10
Be still. Meditate. Listen.