As a kid, I loved going out for Chinese food with my grandpa, Ed. Not only was the food great, but we always got a fortune cookie after the meal. In all honesty, I didn’t care for the taste of the cookie. Rather, I was intrigued by the concept of placing little nuggets of wisdom within a desert. Brilliant!
My grandpa Ed was the first to give me my own Bible.
I was one of those kids who got excited about receiving a book. And that particular book was the largest one my small hands had ever held. It also had a leather cover with my name engraved in gold letters at the bottom. How cool was that? I recall opening the paper-thin pages with awe and curiosity. However, I became discouraged when I could not understand most of what was written in the amazing book until …
I stumbled upon the books of Psalms and Proverbs. The Proverbs reminded me of the fortunes from the Chinese cookies. And the rhythmic Psalms were my introduction to poetry—words filled with deep emotion that danced across the pages. I was hooked!
As a teen, my fascination with poetry and the “sages from the ages” increased as I became acquainted with the works of Yeats, Shakespear, Wordsworth, and others. I had an unquenchable desire for knowledge and philosophy which kept me enrapt during my coming of age years. But nothing compared to the Psalms and the Proverbs.
To this day, I get excited about the lessons I continue to learn in these two books. So, when God impressed upon me an idea for a blog series through Psalms and Proverbs, I was over the moon.
Interestingly, a study through Psalms and Proverbs coincides with the word of the year God gave me: KNOW.
I arrived at the word when journaling my goals and dreams for 2019. As I began writing, I experienced an unsettling and restlessness.
I expressed to the Lord how I yearned to grow deeper in my relationship with Him when God impressed a simple yet profound sentence upon my heart:
“In order to grow, you must KNOW.”
It took my breath away. I realized God was not only referring to ‘head’ knowledge.
“All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.”
His Spirit was calling to my spirit—to the essence of who I am. Deep calling to deep (Psalm 42:7).
“Do you KNOW me?” He asked. “Do you know who you are in me?”
Instantly I realized I had reached an impasse. If I was going to grow, this meant depth. For me, depth means revealing things hidden. Of course, nothing is truly hidden from God. These are things I hide from myself. Lies I believe. And truths I have not allowed into my desperately hidden brokenness.
Perhaps you have been hiding, too?
We tend to reveal only parts of our true selves. We keep our worst fears and deepest sin buried deep, not only from ourselves but from God. But He knows us better than we know ourselves. And He desires real intimacy and wholeness.
“Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.”
Psalm 119:29 NLT
My life-long quest for knowledge has brought me full circle, but not in the way I imagined. Ironically, my first published book entitled “Secrets” is more telling than I realized.
In order to grow, you must know.
Like Adam and Eve in the garden, I have attempted to hide undesirable aspects about myself from God as if my brokenness is a surprise to Him. But my hiding has only prevented me from a deeper intimacy with God.
For the first time, my desire to allow God into my brokenness is greater than my desire to keep it hidden.
I’m not sure what this is going to look like. But I do know this: God is good. Everything he does is good.
So, although uncomfortable, His calling me out of hiding is going to be good.
I hope you will enjoy our journey together through the Psalms and Proverbs over the next several weeks.
Let’s get started.
“Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3
I’m a creature of habit. I love routine. It makes me feel safe and secure. I also love mornings. Needless to say, I have a morning routine. I fondly refer to this time as “coffee with Jesus.”
I read the verse above on January 1st. I smiled at the timeliness of the verse and was about to move on when I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit to linger a while longer. I glanced at the clock. I only had a few more minutes left for my quiet time.
You see, I thought I had gleaned everything the verse had to offer and was ready to skip ahead until my eyes landed on the words wait expectantly. I realized I had read God’s holy word as if it were a fortune cookie. Although fun, fortune cookies are a novelty. God’s word is more than a mere desert cookie. It is a meal intended to be feasted upon.
Sometimes routines can become a trap. Which is more important—the self-imposed routine or the nudging of the Holy Spirit to wait? And to wait expectantly.
I have the morning routine down pat—at least I thought I did. But there was something else about the morning time the Lord wanted me to understand. With the first rays of sunlight, the morning chases away the darkness. Things that were shadowed or hidden completely, are now revealed.
On this particular morning, the light revealed how often I don’t pray with the expectation that the Lord will answer me.
Prayer is a two-way street: We speak to God. God speaks to us. But how will we hear Him if we don’t wait?
Imagine asking a friend for a favor and then never giving them a chance to answer you.
I could hear the Spirit say, “You would be surprised at the answers you would receive if you would wait expectantly.”
So, I started the new year a new way. I still have my morning coffee with Jesus time. But I am going to be more intentional about waiting to hear what God has to say. I’m going to allow the sunlight of a new morning to shine into the shadows.
Father, help me not rush through my morning prayer time mindlessly like an ordinary routine such as brushing my teeth. Help me allow the sunlight into hidden areas of brokenness You want to heal. Teach me the art of listening for You and to wait expectantly. In the powerful name of Jesus, AMEN.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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