Finding pleasure in God

There are times when I forget myself and just bask in the joy of the moment.

Quite often these days, that happens at family gatherings.  I realize I am becoming a romantic old fool.  But I am glad that God has planted that joy in me.

There are other times, though, when I am dissatisfied.  Like my father, I have regrets about things that I have not done or accomplished.

Where does this dissatisfaction come from?

In part, it comes from the widespread need – particularly among men – to achieve.  You want to be recognized by others for what you have done.

But, in large part, it comes from God.

Unconsciously, I have bought into the old Christian idea of service.  I must serve God.  Unless I help God out, he will be diminished.  He won’t reach his goals.  I will have let God down.  Or God will have let me down because I have not reached my goals.

But that is not what God is looking for from me.  He wants a close relationship with me – just as he had with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  So, I will only find satisfaction in God.

I admit there is a lot about serving God in the Bible.  But Jesus said in John 15:13-16 that he no longer called the disciples servants but friends.  Why?  Because there was a new intimacy in their relationship – they knew him and he knew them.

Over the years, I have read a lot about “practicing the presence of God” and silent contemplation of the Lord.  I have also read and re-read books about being thankful to God for his gifts.  Occasionally, I have practiced what I have read.

But the idea of accomplishing something for God has muscled its way back into my mind and heart.  Hence the feeling of dissatisfaction.

Recently, I have thought a lot about this dissatisfaction.  I realize I am comparing myself with certain standards of success that I have set for myself.  When I realize I am falling short, I feel discontented.  And that is a sure route to sin – of mind, word and action.

Instinctively, I know that I will only find true and lasting joy in God – not in what I accomplish for God.

So, I am resolving to slow down and draw closer to God.  He is waiting to embrace me just as the father did in the great story of the prodigal son.


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