O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. (ESV)
All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. (NIV)
Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You. (Amplified)
Yesterday, in the middle of between-classes hustle and bustle, I sat on a bench with a new friend and she asked questions: How did you get here? How do you hear the Lord? Who is your family? They're simple questions that are rarely asked; and as I walked away from her, I felt so refreshed. Some encounters feel like a deep breath in, but this one felt like a deep breath let out. Like I got to let a little part of me out where it matters. Out where someone can hear it. Out where someone can know it.
It was a moment of conviction for me. How often do I stop in my whirlwind of a week to learn something new about a friend, let alone a stranger? How often do I ask those questions that trigger that heart feeling--that feeling that says, "This person is safe. This person wants to know you"? Rarely, to be honest. It's a thing I plan to work on, an area I want to grow. I want to be a story collector.
As I went through the rest of my day, I kept thinking, "Thank you, Lord. Thank you for that sweet moment of feeling known." But in an instant, I felt:
I know you. Have you forgotten that?
And the reality and truth of it sat me down for a moment. Because I had forgotten. This little, heavily significant truth had slipped from my mind and heart...and the absence of it was devastating.
The awakening was dizzying.
Our Father knows us. He formed us. He loves us. He hears us. He guides us. He saved us. He knows us.
What a sweet privilege that is. What a gift to be known and still loved by a God who is holy, loved by a God who is so unlike us--so infinitely above.
The past few seasons have (not actually been, but) felt empty for me. I felt left out of great things I was seeing the Lord do. I saw, what I thought were, perfect opportunities for the Lord to use gifts He gave me, but I was still left on the sideline. I watched as others served God the way I wanted to. It took a lot of prayer, a lot of redirected focus, and a lot of faith to get through those seasons. A lot of faith that my desires wouldn't be forgotten, that, when He saw fit, He'd call me into the game.
For one thing, I realized that I wasn't on the bench. I wasn't serving Him the way I thought I should have been, but He had places for me to work out my faith in other ways--ways I never would have dreamed; and I'm grateful for that. But...
In the past week, God has placed opportunities before me that I was not expecting. At all. Opportunities that are similar to the capacities I longed to be a part of before, only better. Only more perfect for me and where I am. Our Father is good like that, is he not?
I've found myself thinking, over and over, "How sweet that You know me, Father...that You remind me how deeply I'm known." I'm just about bursting with gratitude. It's bubbling over all over the place. There's a sweet little children's song that sings: Jesus knows me, this I love. Yes, Jesus. This I love.
*Below is a song that's so beautiful it makes me hurt. Almost literally.