The Very Great Reward

I love the word of God. And for the first time in my life, I can actually say that statement with confidence.

Don’t get me wrong, I thought I loved it long before, and in part I did, but this year there’s been a radical shift in what I think about this Great Book. Maybe it was the mountain air, or the “Greystone bubble” I was living in; it even could have been out of sheer dependance to make it through the day, but this past summer during my time as a camp counselor at the happiest place on earth, I found myself, for the very first time, falling in love with the word of God. And that’s coming from a girl who grew up in church all my life.

It’s like I couldn’t get enough. I devoured scripture. Things I’d read one hundred times before now seemed alive, real and rich and true. And I ate it up.

But like all mountain top experiences, what goes up must come down. And I started slacking. I got busy, I got complacent. Heck, it just stopped being a priority. I started living out of my own strength instead of feasting on the word of God.

And I know I’ve learned a ton this year. It’s been the most stretching and rich (key word for incredibly hard yet incredibly worth it) year of my life. That’s actually been my favorite question to ask lately, “What have you learned this year?” Seriously, you should try it. Whether we realize it or not, we’ve all grown and changed. We’re not exactly who we were this time last year. We’ve learned something, experienced something new. And we all have stories to tell. So ask those you’ve loved most what they’ve learned. It’s worth it.

But I digress. My time with Jesus has always ebbed and flowed. Like anything, there have been lush, life-giving, mountain top seasons as well as seasons filled with valleys of dry, dead bones. And while this Lentant season was one of incredible life as I committed to meeting with Jesus every morning for forty days (I skipped a few days, so please don’t see that as any sort of “holier than thou” type mess), this week after Easter, I might have met with Jesus once. Other days, it’s been a half-hearted attempt or nothing at all.Image

And I know there’s grace. I’m not downing myself or making myself look good. I’m just trying to lay the cards out on the table, show you my mess, and share what I’m learning.

So in this week of skipping out on Jesus, this is what I’ve learned: IT’S A TERRIBLE IDEA.

Seriously though. What good came out of my hours of instagram, facebook, and pinterest, or my rationalizing? Not much.

Now please note that I think social media is cool. I love instagram, am addicted to facebook just like everyone else, have about 25,000 pins (I’m sorry I just love it), so I am not saying we should delete everything and only sit in our rooms and read our Bibles.

But what I am saying is that this week (and every season where I’ve stopped meeting with Jesus for whatever reason) has only left me anxious and hungry. And instead of turning around to the only true Life source I know, I try to get filled up on the world and the desires of my flesh.

Even today, I found myself rationalizing with myself. “I don’t really have to have Jesus time. I can just read a Christian book or something. I’ll just listen to worship music while I’m on pinterest and call it a day.” And all of the sudden, in a very clear feeling in my heart, I heard these words: There is no substitute for time with me.

There is no substitute.

There’s not even a substitute for his Word.

In Genesis chapter 15, the LORD came to Abram in a vision and said,

“Do not be afraid Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” (15:1)

And then, even as Abram continues to doubt and look for tangible symbols of God’s favor, God STILL blesses him above and beyond as he promises him the great inheritance of a son and offspring to number the stars of the heavens.

And that’s the crazy thing. Before the gifts, before even the good feelings and peace that come with spending time with God, HE is the reward. The very great reward. He’s the reason why I do it. He’s the reason why I read my Bible, He’s the reason I wake up at the crack of dawn (much to the dismay of my roommate), He’s the reason I have to keep going. Because when it becomes about me, it becomes a mess.

I think so often whenever I stop getting the feel-good feelings of spending time with God, my heart is so quick to just turn away and stop. Because if I’m not getting my needs met, what’s the point? If God isn’t speaking or isn’t answering my prayers, isn’t it kind of silly to wait around until it starts happening?

But the truth is, as hard as it sometimes is to swallow, is that none of it was ever really about me. It wasn’t about me at all! All the glory belongs to him. And he’s worthy of so much more than I give him, even in my best moments. He’s worthy of all of my heart, all of my time, all of my attention, all of my affection. He’s WORTHY.

So what do we do when we get to the dry seasons? What do we do if we haven’t read our Bible or whispered a prayer in days, weeks, or even years? What if God doesn’t show up? What if it’s all just a facade?

Wanna know something I love about the most about God? He always shows up. Even when we can’t see the fruit of time with him in our tangible now, He’s still working, still showing up and creating for us an inheritance that’s far beyond all we could ever ask or imagine. And the inheritance is himself!

More than anything in the world, I want to know him more. It’s like two people in love. And not the temporary, hot and heavy movie love, but the kind of love that gets your heart racing. The kind where you never want to leave, because there’s so much more to learn about the other person. It’s like the kind of love we can’t even really dream about. But He’s the real deal. God is. Jesus is. Holy Spirit is. That relationship is the truest, most life-giving, identity-fulfilling, joy-breathing relationship. And He’s just waiting on us.

I don’t want to wait anymore. My souls has tasted of the sweetest love and I just can’t walk away. It isn’t worth it to walk away, even when it doesn’t feel worth it. Trust me, spending time with Jesus is always worth it. And all it takes is us making space for him to show up.

So maybe you get thirty less minutes of sleep a night. Maybe you miss out on what’s happening on social media for an hour. Maybe you have to say no to watching netflix or hulu for hours on end. Really though, what are we missing when were filling our minds and hearts with those things.

We can do it guys. We can do it. We can meet with the living God.

It’s about relationship. It’s about Him.

He is our very great reward.

He is the greatest love of all.

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