What matters most
This morning in my time with the Father, I spoke with him about an issue that has been hounding me – my alternate status with the team preparing for Antarctica. I envy the folks who have primary status. When I scroll down the page of Facebook post of team members, I am excited for them, and frustrated at the same time. Their plans are set in place. As an alternate, I prepare as if I am going on October 1, with no idea if that will actually happen. I’ve scrutinized the gear needed down to the specific fabric content of the recommended base layers. Amazon delivers packages to my front porch almost on a daily basis. A storage bin in the back of my closet, dedicated to McMurdo, is overflowing at this point. But the one thing I cannot purchase is peace over not yet having a job placement. Over the past few days, I’ve talked with the Father about my longing for a primary position. I’ve asked him to give me a job placement. I’ve told him how unsettled I feel in the process of waiting. I’ve asked for resolution, not because I want a specific job, but because I want certainty.
But this morning, my mindset changed. As I sat meditating and praying, I was reminded of the joy of experiencing the presence of God. The manifest presence of the Father in the midst of the everyday moments of life is a treasure. To know he is near brings me joy. When his love washes over me, the unnecessary things fade away. And the things that are critical come clearly into focus. Distinguishing between the two is crucial to understanding the peace the Father longs for us to experience.
When I was reminded of his presence with me, suddenly the room felt illuminated, lighter, carefree or at least care-less. In that moment, whether or not I even went to Antarctica did not matter. If I got a job assignment, or what placement I got did not matter. Only the presence of the Father mattered. Suddenly praying for these things seemed frivolous. The Bible says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV). The Father thinks thoughts that are far different from mine. To flip the script, my thoughts are lower than the Father’s thoughts. My ways are lower than his ways. I’m a low-thinker. I’m concerned about a job placement. The Father is a high-thinker. The Father is concerned about drawing his kids closer to himself. He longs to dwell with them. This is the thought that consumes him. The key is to learn to think like he thinks, prioritizing thoughts of his presence with us. Focusing on the one thing that matters: dwelling with him. When we do this, we find the other things we thought were so important are not. Suddenly it no longer matters what job I get, or even if I go at all. All that matters is that I dwell with the Father wherever he leads. Today, in this moment, I dwell with him. Tomorrow, whatever may come, I choose to dwell with him. I practice the priority of his presence and nothing else.
This is not to say that my low thoughts do not matter to the Father. It is just that he sees them in the proper context. It is the difference between how a toddler thinks and a father thinks. A toddler thinks about what will make him happy in the moment. If he wants a toy, he will cry if he doesn’t get it. All that matters is his happiness in that specific moment. The father understands, but he also is thinking about the health and safety of the child. The father is thinking higher thoughts. The child is thinking low thoughts. The father loves the child, and loves doing things that will make the child happy. But the father is always aware of the higher issues – the health and wellness of the child. The happiness of the child is far less a concern.
So I let go of my toys, and crawl unto his lap. He lifts me unto his knee, and brushes a hair from my face. I reach up with my tiny hand to feel the stubble on his chin. He laughs. He smiles as he looks into my eyes. I collapse unto his chest, feeling the warmth of his breath on the back of my neck. All is lost in the moment. All concern, stripped away as his chest rises and falls beneath me. I am a child with my Father. In this moment, nothing else matters. His thoughts become my thoughts. And the things I thought were important suddenly seem so far away, so distant, in a muffled haze.
In the stillness of the moment, I realize I have forgotten what I wanted to ask.