The biggest difference between Mother Teresa and most of us is our ability to get close to the heart of the Father and live out of that.
Mother Teresa served the lowest and rejected in India. She cleaned the wounds of people dying of leprosy and made sure they knew they were seen and loved before they passed away. Regardless of what came, she stayed focused and on task. She stayed humble. It was never about her.
Mother Teresa heard a remarkable call for her life and she answered. She left behind everything and everyone she knew and loved and got on a train.
Most of us are not called to be Mother Teresa in the sense of moving to India and love the homeless and forgotten. But we are all called to be a risk-taker like she was and respond to the promptings in our life.
To Delight in God
We are told in the Bible that God will give us the desires of our hearts. We often take that to mean God will give us what we want. But what if I told you that really means we will come to desire what He wants and then His promptings won’t seem so scary.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps. 37:4)
Mother Teresa delighted in the Lord. She spent time with Him. She knew Him intimately. She sat at His feet and listened to His voice.
And so can you.
Delight: (v) please (someone) greatly. (n) great pleasure.
God Delights in YOU
I am going to let you in on a secret – God is delighted with you. It’s true! Oh my goodness friend, if we could see the joy on God’s face as He worked to create you.
It is a simple wood cabin made out of rustic beams. Inside, there is a fire burning. Woodchips cover every surface because when inspiration comes who has time to clean up! On the various workbenches there are several projects in different states of completion. There is an early draft of a giraffe! Hanging on the side of one table is a carving of a monkey with a long tail. On another is an intricate fish with cascading lines of scales. Even in the rough wood, the scales seem to shimmer. One thing is obvious – the woodcarver is skilled and takes incredible care and time with His work.
You see the woodcarver, bent over a table. It seems he is talking to himself. Getting closer you realize he is talking to what’s on the table. You crane your neck to see, it is the visible carving of a person. You can make out a chiseled chin and wide eyes. The woman is shorter, average build. Even incomplete she seems radiant and joyful. Given the pile of woodchips around his feet, it is obviously he spent a lot of time on her.
“I am going to give you resiliency,” the woodcarver tells the carving, “I fear you will need it with all you are going to face. But you are strong – never doubt that. And grace, oh I am going to make you able to see the good in others. Even though the world will come at you hard, there will be a softness about you. Here is a voice like an angel. I hope you use it to sing back to me. I love your voice. You will never have children, but I will give you other kids to love – if you choose to see them. My sweet creation you are the best thing I ever made. My breath will be inside of you, my fingerprints all over you. It will take a while, but I hope you find your way back to me.”
You look at the woodcarver, a wide smile on his face. He looks at the form in his hands with utter delight and joy. He examines the precision of his work, making sure there is not one imperfection. You get the feeling he tells everything he makes it is his favorite. And yet somehow he means it.
Friend, God took the same care, tenderness, delight, and joy in creating you! He knit you together with intimacy. We were not massed produced, but individually carved and created. In you, he put a rucksack for what you would need for your journey. It is all there, but some of it you need faith in Him to access.
He delights in you – period. Whatever you have done or whatever has been done to you – God delights in you! To Him, you are that carving in His hand and His joy towards you has never wavered. And His ultimate desire is that we take delight in Him as well.
Delight: enchantment, to be captivated or entranced, bewitched, to take someone’s breath away, to gladden. It is pleasure, happiness, joy or glee.
Delight. It comes with intimacy. Intimacy requires time, attention, focus, choosing this over that, cutting out that for this.
One of the mysteries of God is He can be conscious of all things and yet fully focused on one. He cares about the condition of the world and all its injustice and yet still wants to know about your day.
Make Time for God
We are so accustomed to finding God via other people. We want them to light the way, give us a path or 10 steps. Listening to someone else is a safe way to encounter their view of God. I love the line in “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”: “Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”
And that is just it! Far away God can look unjust, vindictive, overpowering, detached. We are too little. He is too much! He will always be veiled if we stay far away. But friend, sweet friend, we were never supposed to stand on the sidelines with God. We were meant to get in the ring.
Get in the ring! Show up with your Bible and an open heart. This has to become a non-negotiable in your life. And no, podcasts on faith or a sermon on Sunday do – not – count. This is you and God doing life intimately. Jesus was sent so we no longer need a mediator to God (so stop using them). It is going to take planning on your part:
- Listen to the Bible while you do dishes.
- Keep the radio off in your car after you drop the kids off and claim that space as holy.
- Let the kids entertain themselves for half an hour (I promise they will be okay).
- Leave for work earlier and find a quiet place you won’t be interrupted.
- Don’t turn on the TV at night until you have gotten with God.
- If you have time to scroll you have time for God. This for that.
- Give up “The Bachelor”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, or a Netflix binge.
- Intentionally schedule time alone if you are they type that always has to be out and about.
- Make your plans 30 minutes later and intentionally use that time for God.
God is relational. He made us for relationships. And He longs to be in relationship with us. God is personal. God is close. If you don’t believe me read The Gospels. Jesus (who came so we might know who God is) is intentional about getting time with His Father.
For Mother Teresa silence and getting with God were non-negotiable parts of her day.
We must improve our prayer and, flowing from that, our charity toward others. It can be difficult to pray when we don’t know how, but we can help ourselves through the use of silence. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence. This silence takes a lot of sacrifice, but if we really want to pray, we must be ready to take that step now. Without this first step toward silence, we will not be able to reach our goal, which is union with God.
We forget that in the silence of the heart God speaks, and from the fullness of the heart we speak. Only when we have heard him in the silence of our hearts, only when we have learned to listen to God in the silence of our hearts, only then can we say: I pray. There is no either/or about prayer and love. We can’t say we have either prayer or love: There is no prayer without love and no love without prayer.Mother Teresa
If you want to get close to the heart of the Father and live out of that then you have got to make time for Him. Period. There is no other way.
We all want to do big, bold, amazing things – even if it is just having the courage to love others well (which is a mighty calling indeed!) and friend, we will get there. But the first thing – the first and most important – is to get with God and let Him love us so we can love Him. Out of that, we will know what delights Him and how He called us to move and love in this broken world.
How do you see God? What does it mean to you that He is not safe but He is good? What keeps you from coming to him? Go deep, and get at the root. What are you holding you don’t want Him to have? Why can’t you trust Him? What do you blame Him for? You cannot have intimacy if there are secrets. God already knows your heart, all you are doing is getting things in the open. Secrets lose their power when brought into the light.
How will you re-organize things to spend time with God this week?
Lord, shatter my excuses. What is keeping me from You? You might not be safe, but I know You are good (Or, if I don’t – show me You are good.). Show me how You are that woodcarver taking delight in me. Show me love like I have never known, in my inner places, in that secret place You left for Yourself. God, I reject the lie of busy and instead commit to spending time with You. It will not be perfect (it does not have to be) but I will come. And I know You will be there too. You’ve been waiting all this time for me to come. I love you. Amen.
You got this friend. It won’t be perfect. It might be uncomfortable. But don’t give up the rewards are far too sweet!