There is very little in my spiritual life that excites me lately. I’ve been “in the desert” for quite some time now. Being faithful more often takes work than it is a natural outflow of the joy of my salvation. I know that it is a way to grow me, but I also long for a return to the joy of my salvation, to the comfort of having my head and heart be in synch. For my heart to love God in the ways that my head knows are good, and right, and holy.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not losing my religion, or my faith, or my convictions (though at my rapidly advancing age I grow more and more gracious and see things less and less in black and white every day, it seems); but the fervor of my youth is somewhat diminished. I’m sure a big part of that is the amount of work and time that being a parent takes. And most of me still rebels at being forced out of myself, forced to be selfless, through marriage and parenthood and a myriad of other ways. In my youth I was selfish, self-centered, self-obsessed — even in my faith.
So I appreciated a glimmer of joy today, an insight given to me by my Father as I sat in church this morning with a squirming almost-2yo on my lap. My almost-2yo was upset with me for making him sit still, and be quiet, and because I wouldn’t read out loud to him the board book he had on his lap, caring nothing for the words of the Gospel being preached from the pulpit. As I held him tightly and tried to keep him quiet (successfully, as it turned out) with a combination of not-quite-tickling and not-quite-bouncing, it hit me — this is my relationship with God.
I am the rebellious child, half-heartedly following rules I don’t understand, upset at not getting what I want or expect, restrained only by the love of a Father who wants nothing more than to hold me in His arms while I listen to His wisdom. I fight and I fight, and what I am fighting for is to be left alone in my sin, to do what I want, to be less than what I am called to be. Thank God He doesn’t let me go. Ever. Thank God He holds me tightly, even when I can’t feel Him. Thank God.