Yesterday I again wrestled myself into prayer. I'm ashamed to admit how long it took me to get there, but finally I struggled through the day's distractions to find myself in front of an open Bible. I looked at the page only to see what seemed like a spattering of random words. What, whenever, surpassing, things, count, that, for.
This was worse than usual.
Meanwhile, a charming collection of junk mail had stacked up on my table. Brightly colored pizza coupons. A sale flier for... what is that, candles? A catalog of, oh my goodness: books. I tried to concentrate. I tried to pray. I batted away stray thoughts that buzzed around like flies. I repented. I expressed sorrow. I thought of how many meaningless things persistently shout for my attention. I felt sad. I felt hopeless. I felt defeated. I felt
Right in the middle of my self-beating, even as I realized that I'm not a person of discipline and routine and likely never will be, I had a sudden sense of something I cannot describe. A kind of warmth. Amazing warmth. If I could paint a picture of it, I'd show Jesus looking over at me with a tender, loving smile. As if He were actually.... pleased!
If I could put words in His mouth (and really, it was almost as if I "heard" these), they would be "you have no idea how much you love Me."
No, that was not a typo. It wasn't "you have no idea how much I love you" (although I'm totally sure that is the case), but "you have no idea how much YOU love ME."
How astonishing. Could that possibly be true? In the midst of my distractions and laziness and aridity, when my prayers are dry as dust?! Oh surely not! And yet - at the moment I felt this, I also had a strong sense of peace. It was as if a veil lifted, and in an instant I could see oh, so much at once.
The "much" started with, of all things, blogs. I thought of this one, specifically, and of how I'd originally considered this as the blog wherein I could ramble about any and every random thought that crossed my mind. Yet rarely, in the nearly two years since I started writing here, can I recall a post that didn't lead toward or speak of or include God. It's not that I set out from the beginning to do this (I realized); it's that I write (or quote) what is truly on my mind.
Even though I've felt dry, lazy, and unspeakably distracted, I have made up my mind to come to Jesus and wrestle my way to Him. How tender of Him to let me know that He is smiling on my little efforts. How generous of Him to give me a glimpse of how much I really do love Him. It's good to know the truth of it (and yes, I believe it is truth) that I love Him more than I realize. If I hadn't gone through the motions once again, I would never have been in a position to see this.
He loves me beyond all imagining. And I, distracted as I am, love Him. I want to please Him. By His grace (and His grace alone) I am growing, at least a little, in virtue.
He has been waiting for me to go through the motions
. He has been waiting all along.