This morning’s devotional time took me to the book of Job for inspiration. Job! Really? There are so many other destinations for inspiration…almost any book other than Job, and maybe the Song of Songs.
Because God often works in and through us, in spite of ourselves, it’s not surprising that in my reading of Job, I found the inspiration and direction I needed in that moment.
The context of my situation will explain why.
Have you ever wanted something so badly that it began to consume your thoughts, conversations, dreams? A relationship. Job. New home. Vacation. Add your own to the list.
That’s where I find myself. After 50-some years of working, I’m a few months from retirement. This may well be the single most important transition of my life, and one that I have quietly looked forward to for a long time.
Quietly, that is, until now. Too often recently I have found myself day dreaming in significant detail and with an almost unlimited imagination about my planned move to Tennessee. My hopes and plans quickly (and selfishly) become part of almost any conversation with someone…anyone…with a willing or patient ear.
But my longing for and dreaming about the life that lies just over the horizon has begun to take on a new, unsettling, and even sinful dimension…a quiet, subtle, underlying fear. Fear of something that could shatter my dreams. Fear that has begun to negatively impact my health and well being.
Which brings me back to my devotional reading this morning. Nestled providentially between the reading of a Davidic Psalm and the beautiful 12th chapter of Hebrews were these words from Job:
“My days have passed, my plans are shattered. Yet the desires of my heart turn night into day; in the face of the darkness light is near.” (Job 17:11-12, NIV)
God used the words of Job to address my fear that my good days are behind me, that my plans for a retirement that I once thought was out of reach could be shattered. In the midst of my fears and their impact on my life, God reminded me that the desires of my heart turn night into day.
“But, if that’s true,” I asked myself, “why is my heart’s desire for a life in Tennessee having just the opposite affect? Why is it turning day into night?”
A gentle nudge from God’s Spirit answered me. The desires of my heart needed re-centering. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with wanting a well-earned retirement, but as a disciple of Christ, that shouldn’t be what turns my night into day. I was reminded that the desires of my heart should properly focus first on pleasing my Lord, on serving my King, on wanting more of God and on sharing God with others more.
I was left with these lessons. First, don’t judge a book by its cover; especially one in the Bible. Second, make sure that the desires of my heart are in the proper priority. Pleasing my Lord comes first. Finally, if it’s His will, I’ll be able to do that from Tennessee. And, if Tennessee isn’t God’s will for my life, pleasing Him from somewhere else will still turn my night into day.