Ever since I became a truly born-again Christian, and really, even before that, I have held up the beautiful idea of having daily time in the Word and prayer as the mark of a true, mature believer. I have prayed for this to be true of my life. I have anguished over how I could never manage to faithfully keep the habit. I have tried morning devotions, and every trick possible for getting out of bed early. I’ve tried afternoon devotions, and before bed devotions. I’ve tried a hundred different reading plans and prayer guides.
I’ve been following the Lord for over 15 years now and I still cannot do it every day.
I have cried out the Lord, and asked him to make it easier, asked him to show me the key to this discipline. I have wept bitter tears over my unfaithfulness. Surely, if I loved Him as much as I say I do I would make the time!?! I’ve carried so much guilt and so much confusion over this one thing for so, so long.
Why? Why couldn’t I get this right?
After 15 years I am starting to get a glimpse of what God was doing – something so much bigger than my “quiet time’.
I wanted to have that time with God, to get to know Him more, yes, but also to feel and look mature, and to earn his special attention.
I thought I knew what was best for me. I thought that the only way I could mature in Christ was to have this elusive Quiet Time. “Not so,” says the Lord. I know the path you need to take.
God was patiently addressing a bigger issue in my life than my daily bible reading. He allowed me to struggle to spend time with Him, allowed distance in our relationship so that I would come to the very end of myself – so that I could see the truth about myself – my sin and weakness and utter inability to do anything about it.
I learned that He really does love me unconditionally, whether I perform or not, and that His blessings have nothing to do with what I do to earn them.
I needed to know that all my effort wasn’t doing me any good so that I could invite Him in – to forgive and change. I’ve finally found peace.
If you are struggling right now, if there is something you’ve wanted to sort out and get right for so very long, but it’s just not happening, please, trust Him. Entrust yourself to Him. Ask Jesus to help you, but know that his help might not follow the course you’ve mapped out for yourself. One day you may look back and see that the path He chose for you, that made no sense at the time, was inifinitely better.
His grace is enough.