"Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!" (Psalm 147:1)
So I leave today to lead a silent retreat for a group of “twenty-somethings” living and working in Knoxville. And as I do, I have long been aware of a strange dynamic that takes place within me whenever I leave to go and do whatever it is that God has called me to go and do. There is a definite sense of excitement (most times) about the people and the place and the time that we will spend together. But there is also a sense of sadness, even when I am really excited about where I am going and what I am doing. I have always attributed this sadness to the constant sense of anxiety that I live with on a daily basis; my thorn in the flesh, if you will. Or, should I say, one of my thorns—at least Paul only had one, right?
But today as I was praying Psalm 147, God met me in a really sweet way. He gave me a bit of an epiphany. One of my dear, and very wise, friends always says, when praying the Psalms, we should “Listen to the words of the ancient prayer and listen for the prayer of God that rises in our hearts.” Well, today what rose in my heart was the word “fitting.” For some reason that word just leapt off the page. So I stopped, and I asked God what it was about that word that made it his word for me today. And as I meditated on the word fitting, and began to dig down a little deeper (quarrying instead of strip mining it), I discovered that the Hebrew word translated as fitting (in Psalm 147:1) is probably most accurately translated to be at home. As in, we are most at home, most ourselves, most who we were made to be, when we are praising God. It just fits. That’s when it hit me: I love to be home. When I am at home I am most at peace and most at rest—most myself in a really beautiful way. And I hate to leave home; that’s where the sadness comes in. And thus, this sadness is not a bad thing. In fact, it is a very, very good thing—the Genesis 1 kind of good.
That’s when God began to really answer the question of why this word (fitting) was my word for the day. “You love home. You love being at home. And that is a very, very good thing. I actually made you to be at home; that’s what life with me was intended to be. And the way you feel when you are at home is the way I made you to feel all the time—in me. I am your true home. And you do not have to be at your house to be at home in me. That can take place wherever you go and whatever you do. All you have to do is choose to be at home in me. Choose praise. Choose joy. Choose gladness. Choose life. Choose to make your home in me, just as I have made my home in you. Now that is good, and pleasant, and fitting!”
So please pray that no matter where I am, or what I do, I will learn how to always know and experience the joy of being at home—in Him.
(By the way, I wrote this Saturday morning just before I went to lead a retreat...that was wonderful. God is so good. Praise him!)