…for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.
In an impulsive moment, I recently commented on a somewhat controversial conversation thread on social media; something I rarely do. As is typical with my impulses, I later regretted it and went back to delete my comment. “Rash words are as the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing,” — words from the Proverbs that it would be well for me to live by always.
However, as is His habit, my great Teacher does not let my mistakes go to waste. Instead, He has had me ponder why I ever felt the need to have my say in the first place. It was not a case of “always being prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within” me. It was just a moment where I saw some of the thoughts that had been swirling in my head put partially into print by someone else. I felt a moment of identification and I responded.
While there may be nothing inherently wrong with the above scenario, I must be honest that there was something wrong with my motives. Ignore, for the moment, the fact that my remark was made spontaneously and with little thought and was not even representative of a fully fleshed-out idea. My error lay less in that (though it is a problem in its own right) and more in the fact that I was not finding my sense of acceptance and delight in God’s Word alone.
I know, I know, we are social beings, made to be social and operate in community. I have heard that, too. But what does it mean, really? How “social” are we actually being on the sorely misnamed social media platforms? To have a genuine conversation over a cup of tea with a live, flesh-and-blood person is a social activity. Commenting on a Facebook thread is nothing more than counterfeit community. But I digress…
The biggest problem lies in looking for confirmation from any source other than my heavenly Father. The fact is that, no matter where I find myself, whether before kings or before preschoolers, there is no human being who can fully fulfill the need for community that I have because not only are all human beings twisted by sin, the very need that I have is twisted by sin.
God is gracious to give me a family and excellent friendships, yet He has never hesitated to point out to me the frailty of such relationships in a fallen world. In so many ways, the very community I find myself a part of, while wonderful and often vibrant, still points to the need for the unchanging Rock of my salvation. Friends may move away. Circumstances often constrain the time we have for one another. Mistakes and, yes, rash words can cause injuries or rifts in relationships. People die.
I firmly believe that God allows a deep, soul-shaking lonesomeness to plague His own from time to time to remind us that He is our primary source of companionship and the only One who can truly fulfill our needs. Perhaps a sense of loneliness can also serve as a reminder that we are not yet at home. He will one day come to physically receive His bride to bliss. Until then, we have His word in which to take delight.
When I speak out of the turmoil of my heart, out of my own sometimes conflicting thoughts and emotions, I am frequently shamed by what spills out. However, if I find my delight in My Lord’s words, if I speak of His testimonies and lift up my empty hands to His word, then “I will not be put to shame.”
Once refocused, I do find my delight in His commandments, which I love. And when I do delight in His word, the burden of my need for connection or reassurance is shifted to the only pair of shoulders that can bear it — the mighty shoulders that have already borne the weight of humanity’s sins –those belonging to Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.