Now that trees have dropped their colorful garments onto the lawns of unhappy rakers, I’m noticing all the nests. I wonder how the squirrels that constructed them feel to be so exposed after six months of their foliage disguise. (I also feel uncomfortably conspicuous as I carry a large zoom lens around my neighborhood to take these shots!)
With Thanksgiving upon us, my mind is filled with thoughts of home. Our adult children no longer see our house as their home – in fact, our family has grown so much with grandchildren, when they’re all here, we need to use a friend’s house for overflow sleeping. But I’m pondering the concept of a home base, a resting place, a default state. And a verse I read this morning is applying that to my spiritual life:
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts. (Isaiah 26:8b)
The verse leaped out to me, sparking a reaction in my mind and heart. But was my response a confirming “Amen!” or a sharp pang of longing for it to be true of me?
A desire for his name and reputation should be the default mode of our hearts. But what does that mean?
First, God’s name is more than a title or appellation. It’s a window to God’s character and purposes. And we, walled in by our limited human understanding, can glimpse a portion of the panorama of his greatness through that portal he gives us.
Second, God intends to be the main character in everyone’s narrative. Just look at Scripture. The short form of his revealed name, Ya, appears roughly 6800 times in Scripture, far more than any other word. It’s even Jesus’s name – Ya-shua: God saves.
It’s easy, in reading Scripture and in viewing our lives, to think that life is our story into which God acts, when, in fact, it’s just the opposite. It’s God’s story. How do we fit into it?
So, winters approach. And the protective foliage is stripped away. Our resting places are laid bare.
I laughed when I saw this tree, imagining it as a squirrel apartment complex. But it does make me wonder about my own divided heart. I have many interests and purposes. Is God just one of them, or are they all expressions of that longing for him to be revealed and honored?
Is that desire the default place of my heart? It’s a work in progress. I take comfort that my reaction to the verse is a work of the Spirit. I would never exalt his agenda over mine in my natural state. In his grace, God makes it possible, in the words of C.S. Lewis, to “Give up yourself, and you will find your real self.”
And isn’t that miraculous work of God part of the renown we want to spread?
Lord, we want to have a passion for your purposes and reputation to be the default state of our hearts. But we cannot do that without your Spirit’s help. Change us. Make our stories your story.
Reader: How does this passion for God’s name and renown express itself in your life?