Jon Acuff, who writes the fantastic blog Stuff Christians Like put up a post that really resonated with me recently. He talked about the fact that when he has troubles or issues in his life, he wants God to give him a present that will fix it. Instead, God gives his presence in the midst of the trouble.
As I look back over the past year of my life, I totally got what he is saying here.
I began looking for a way to leave the corporate job that I don't care for over a year ago. Sometime in February last year, I had a powerful event where God poured out his Spirit on me in a new and fresh way.
I mistakenly thought this was a signal that all my dreams and desires were about to be fulfilled.
As I had to keep making the long commute everyday to a desk where I didn't want to sit, I began to grow impatient and frustrated with God.
"Why would you give me passion and your Holy Spirit if I'm just going to keep living this meaningless corporate existence" was the attitude that began to pervade my thoughts.
God, it seemed, was cruelly taunting me.
But I eventually began to realize what Acuff is referring to. God isn't a genie. He isn't looking for wishes to grant. And he isn't looking to see what he is getting out of you.
A friend of mine, Zach Neese, wrote a book recently called How to Worship a King, which has this statement:
"God didn't create you so that He could use you. He created you so that He could know you."
I worry so often that I'm wasting my years at a corporate job, so when I come to God, I've already got a grievance against him. But I don't think he sees it that way at all. My job isn't a problem that is #15,987,446 on his list of things to do.
My purpose in this life isn't to achieve enough to be able to stand up against everyone else's resume.
What in David's life qualified him to be a king? What in Peter's background prepared him to be a foundational pillar of Christianity? What did Gideon do that earned him the title Mighty Man of Valor as he was hiding in the bottom of a well?
God's purposes for what we do are his own. They are inscrutable, and trying to decode or discern our path is not only impossible, it leads to frustration, as it did with me.
As I got more and more caught up in what God "wasn't doing", his presence faded in my life. He gave me a wonderful gift and I didn't appreciate it for what it was, only for where I thought it would take me.
I've had to spend quite a bit of time getting rid of my attitude and seeking God's presence in my life again not as a means to an end, but as the most wonderful end in itself.
I mean, seriously, God wants me to know him? He wants to invite me into his presence so I can simply be changed and filled by his Spirit?
I'm not back to where I was a year ago yet, but I'm getting there. And I'm grateful to have screwed up yet again, to find that God's way truly is best.