“Come cuddle with me,” she asked, her arms still looped around my neck. I complied.
How could I not? It was the end of her second day of kindergarten, and as I tucked my little girl under the covers, I sensed the tiredness in her voice. It had been a long day for her after a long work trip for me, on the heels of a long summer for us all.
“Of course,” I said, as I laid down and stroked her hair. Nuzzling my nose behind her ear, I began whispering the words that came to mind, the same words I had recited in my hotel room hundreds of miles away the night before, the words that always brought comfort to a weary heart.
“The Lord is my shepherd,” I started, then paused.
“I shall not want,” she replied.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures,” I picked up, and we exchanged the words of that beloved psalm until we got to the very end. “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” I finished with a smile.
“No,” she said firmly, turning to face me, her cheek resting on mine. “For a month.”
“What??” I laughed. My little jokester was trying to get a rise out of me.
“I’ll dwell in the house of the Lord for a month.” She repeated, trying to gauge my reaction.
Her words lodged deep within, the strangeness of her proposed idea juxtaposed with the generosity of reality. Even if all God ever offered us was one month in His presence, it would be enough. It would be more than enough. It would be wildly more than anything we deserved.
All of us, like sheep, have gone astray, turning from our Maker and Creator, our Redeemer and our Savior. And yet, in His goodness, He went searching for us, rescuing us, and bringing us back into relationship with Him through His death on the cross and resurrection to life again.
One day in His presence would be an incredible gift.
One week — abundant grace.
One month — extravagant generosity.
But eternity? That’s just beyond human comprehension.
Because of Jesus, we’re promised that goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives. Every day will be filled with His goodness and overflowing with His mercy. But what’s more, the greatest gift of all is that we get to dwell in His presence forever and ever.
And it’s in His presence that we find everything our hearts wanted because it’s Him we’ve always needed: “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11 ESV). There’s that word again: forever.
But often that’s not our reality. Packing lunch and paying bills, running errands and running on a treadmill all make us feel like we don’t quite have enough time to spend with Jesus. And unfortunately, what started as an invitation turns into an obligation that leads to desolation when we fall short.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Sure, an Instagram-perfect-picture of our Bible with a steaming cup of coffee would be nice, but most days will find us opening our Bibles next to a cold breakfast, half-finished homework, unpaid bills, and something sticky we have yet to investigate. Let’s not shrink back, friends. Let’s come to Jesus as we are because He welcomes us with open arms.
Listen afresh to the words of Jesus:
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
Rest? Freedom? Joy? They’re all ours when we make our way to Jesus — if only we would come.
I smiled into the darkness after I finished sharing my newfound insight with my daughter. “Even a month would be more than enough,” I concluded, planting a kiss on her forehead. “But God loves us so much He invites us to be with Him forever. Isn’t that amazing?”
She nodded as she closed her eyes, and my heart felt like bursting with joy.
What would it look like for you to come to Jesus out of joy instead of guilt? Ask Him to help you start your day with Him and become aware of His presence throughout your day.
Because of Jesus, we’re promised that goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives. -@asheritah: Click To Tweet