It’s rainy today. The droplets splatter on the car, on my face, on the windows.
I’ve been stressed, nerves stretched taunt and thin. I worried last night, as I lay in bed, that I just don’t have it in me to do the things God has called me to. I want to walk in His wisdom, in His grace, but so often I find myself stumbling over my own will, my own desires, my own bitter sinful nature.
“What do I do?” I whispered, but there was only silence when I fell asleep. My dreams were rough and troubled. Even in rest, I was distraught and questioning.
When morning arrived, I woke up and stumbled to the kitchen. At least it was clean. I cracked the eggs for breakfast, heated the skillet, moved through the motions then hurried to the car to drive to my brother’s to watch his boys for the morning. They were both fussy and tired. It took a few minutes to get them settled. A blanket, no, not that one, the soft one that snuggles him tight. A bottle of warm milk, a binky. Finally they rest, fussing stops and quiet reigns.
“You know, God,” I say to the emptiness, “I could use whatever the equivalent of a soft blanket, warm bottle, and a binky is.”
Rain falls harder outside, splattering the windows.
My Bible is just a cheap slimline one. Eggplant colored. I have a bad habit of folding the pages back and the binding is already broken. Just last week, I pulled out packing tape and ran strips across the sides. I’ve learned the most effective way, since I’ve done this same thing to every Bible I’ve ever owned. It’s because I write as I read. I want to hold the pages with one hand, scribble thoughts with the other.
Usually I write in my notebooks, but sometimes my words scribble their way into the margins of my Bible. Like in Jeremiah 9. “They go from one sin to another,” the NIV version says, “they do not acknowledge me.”
The Amplified Bible says, “they do not know and understand and acknowledge me.”
They go from one thing to another and they do not know God. I run my finger over the place where my pencil scratched on the page. Despite determined self-effort they still do not know Him.
The rain has stopped. The clouds are still low and grey, but the water is left to soak into the ground.
My greatest self-effort will not produce what I desire. It never does. When I’m caught in patterns that drain my energy away, it is not more effort that I need to practice. What I need is more yada.
Yada is Hebrew. It is a verb. It means:
The sun breaks through, warming the earth that is working to produce new life.
I need to know Him more. I need to reveal more of my heart to Him. To allow myself to be known by Him. It’s like a blanket, no, not that scratchy one, the soft comfortable one that snuggles me tight. His presence, surrounding me.
“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom,” He says, “or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches.” The words are pouring off the page, pouring down into my heart like warm milk that soothes and quiets. “but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me.”
Restoration of the soul. It breathes life deep. It pacifies fears and tears and questions. It gives rest to the weary, living water to the thirsty.
Restoration is not a return to determined self-effort to please God. No, it is a return to relationship with God. To knowing and being known by Him.
Tiny plants are shooting up in the flower beds. Little bits of green that carry the promise of new life.
I breathe. He is good.