I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Sharon Jaynes
You will go out with joy, and be led out in peace. The mountains and the hills will break out into sounds of joy before you. And all the trees of the field will clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12 NLV).
When I was a little girl, I used to love pretending to be a bride. I’d wrap a sheet around my body, drape a towel over my head, and hold a bouquet of plastic flowers to my chest. Then I would start at one end of our ranch-style house’s hallway and make my saunter down the “aisle.” In my little mind, all eyes were on me, as my sheet became a pearl studded wedding gown, my towel a lace veil, and the bouquet a spray of white roses.
My Uncle Ernest understood the longings of little girls to be a bride, so for Christmas one year, he gave me a two-foot doll dressed in full bridal regalia. Along with her white wedding gown and netlike veil, she had short cropped, curly brown hair that felt as real as my own, soft plump skin that squished when I squeezed her, and moveable eyelids lined with thick black lashes. Her eyes opened and closed with her changing positions so that when she lay in her box, she resembled Sleeping Beauty just waiting to be kissed. Her perfectly shaped lips were small and dainty, and her crystal blue eyes appeared strangely real.
But there was one problem with this delightful gift. Because she was so expensive, my mother wouldn’t allow me to play with her.
“You’ll have to wait until you are older,” she explained. “She’s too nice of a doll to play with. You might tear her gown. We’ll just keep her in the box until you’re old enough to know how to take care of her.”
So the bride doll remained in her box, safely stowed away in the bottom dresser drawer.
Day after day, I slowly opened the drawer and stole a peek at the doll as she lay sleeping inside the drawer like a treasure in a safety deposit box. Sometimes I removed the box lid and gently stroked her pink skin, but I knew if I ever took her out of the box and played with her, I would be in big trouble. As time passed, I forgot about the bride doll in the drawer, and today, I don’t even know what became of her.
I am sure the doll’s fate was never my uncle’s intent when he gave her to me. I imagine he envisioned me spending hours and hours playing with her, pretending with her, and enjoying her. As a matter of fact, had he known the doll lived in the bottom dresser drawer, I think he would have been sorely disappointed.
Oh friend, have we done the same with the greatest gift of all time? Have we done the same with Jesus? Have we accepted the gift of the Gospel and then stored it away in a drawer for safekeeping? Have we put Jesus on display, but neglected or refused to enjoy Him? Have we made the Gospel into a religion-in-a-box rather than a relation in the heart?
The Shorter Catechism, written by the Westminster Assembly in 1647, reads, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Enjoy God! The only way to enjoy God is by being in His presence, by making Acts 17:28, in Him we live and move and have our being, a present reality. Glory moments will not be found in a boxed up religion but in a budding relationship.
What does God want from us? Some say that He wants obedience and sacrifice–that He wants us to stick to the rulebook and color inside the lines. Others say that God wants us to be happy and victorious in all things. None of that is necessarily wrong, but it neither is the greatest desire of God’s heart. What He longs for, more than anything, is for you to be in relationship with Him. He wants your heart. He wants you to enjoy Him, to love Him, to join Him in intimacy as you live and move and have your being in Him.
Dear Lord, thank You that You initiated a relationship with me--that You want to spend time with me. I love that I can talk to You and share my thoughts with You. Thank You for talking to me and sharing with me. Thank You for giving me all things to enjoy!
In Jesus’ Name,