Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

Any Way

“Any way you bless me, Lord, I’ll be satisfied.” The boom-tick of the drums, the rhythmic hand clapping, the shouts of agreement from the audience members make me miss the nauseating feeling that overcomes me at the intermingling of the “good” perfumes wafting through the air, the fear of accidentally knocking off the poised regality of church hats piled high atop graying strands when I go in for my weekly hugs, the sweat that rolls down my back and gathers in the waistband of my tights because we’re packed tightly on our pews with winter coats and visitors who didn’t know that this is where we sit on Sunday mornings. It’s a feel good sort of song, and it’s one of my favorites.

I remember joyous faces when our drummer gears it up and the choir stands in unison at the director’s subtle insistence. Before one word is uttered, we get up too, less precise and definitely not in matching attire, but ready nonetheless. It’s not just my jam! Apparently, a bunch of us like this one. And we can sing it, too. We don’t have to worry about the soprano part being too high for us or running out of breath before the next note comes. It’s a perfect sort of blend in song, and as long as we wait for the director’s hands to cue us in before we start singing, no embarrassment is even possible.

Today, though, sitting on my couch, almost a year removed from the physical assembly, I wonder: When the blessing is evident and the goodness is evident, it is easy to sing of satisfaction, but when the going gets tough, and it is harder, or rather impossible, to see how any good can possibly come from the murkiness, the sludge we find ourselves in, satisfaction is far from what we feel. Moreover, we often won’t see it as a blessing until we are long past the confusion and hurt, if we ever see it at all. 

But I thank God for His Word. For without it, I would find gratefulness fleeting. I would not be able to thank God for His wisdom and how He imparts it to me. I realize today that those tough times may quite possibly be the greatest blessings there are. God sent Jonah to Ninevah against his own will and inclination. God sent Gideon to fight when he was both doubtful and fearful. God sent Moses back to the land where he was an absconded murderer to confront Pharaoh. God sent Esther to a strict king’s bed chamber. All of this was to be a blessing and, to a much lesser degree in the scheme of things, receive a personal blessing. 

Each of these figures foreshadowed the work of Christ, who came “not…to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20: 28, NKJV). The blessing we receive at Christ’s entry into humanity, death on Calvary, and glorious resurrection is our salvation upon our belief, but there is an expectation for the one who believes: “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16: 24-26). There is nothing feel-good-warm-and-fuzzy-kick-up-your-heels comforting about that expectation unless you know God, and even then, it is not easy.

So often we are swayed by the shiny new trinkets or bobbles. We lust after the latest and seemingly greatest new trends. We wonder why God has denied us the things that glint and gleam. We water down the Word of the Lord, bow down in false worship, take up the practices and beliefs of the world, and become, like Ahaz, priests at alters we have designed ourselves (2 Kings 16: 10-14). We aren’t unique in this, but multitudes do not signify righteousness. And God will absolutely call us to account: “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4: 17, NKJV). We will have to answer for how we have squandered God’s blessings, his favor, instead of being a blessing to the world and glorifying the name of Jesus with our living.

I realize that instead of holding my hand out for the blessings of my imaginings, I want to be the blessing God destined me to be. I know I was purposed for His will, and I want to be an obedient embodiment of the refrain “any way You bless me, Lord, I’ll be satisfied.” I want to be like Isaiah who recognized his uncleanness before God and willingly replied, “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6: 8, NKJV). I want to be like David who invited the inspection of the Lord when he prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139: 23-24). I want to be like Paul who understood that having Jesus is more than enough: “for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4: 11-13, NKJV). I want to be like Jesus who was obedient even unto death: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22: 42, KJV).

I don’t want to bless myself. I don’t want to rely on man. I want the Lord. I want the counsel God provides. I want the light God provides. I want the wisdom God provides. I want the patience God provides. I want the long suffering God provides. I want the peace God provides. I want to eagerly accept the test just like I eagerly accept the gift. Any way You bless me, Lord, that is what I want!

I trust God. I have seen Him provide respite from difficult situations, and I know that He will again in current and future ones. I know God will provide rest from any storm or storm trooper Satan has his hooks in and whom God allows to test me. I know that God is with me. I am His servant. I am His child. So any way You bless me–any way you break me, any way You reduce me, any way You humble me, any way You correct me–yes, Lord, I’ll be satisfied.

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One thought on “Any Way

  1. Anonymous on said:

    I’m thinking about the “Eye of the Storm ” that exist in all of us. That invisible battle that we all fight everyday. Or at least, the invisible battle that I fight everyday. The battle over being good toward people that are in no way good to me. The battle over being a good and patient husband and putting the needs of hers far above my own. Everyday I struggle with invisible battles and confrontation of the “good in me version of myself” vs the “Do what I want and be selfish version of myself.” The funny thing about it? There are times when I want to give myself to others. There are times when I want to be selfless and giving. I look forward to “giving myself away.” But when I perceive wrongdoing against me, I become quite the opposite of what I just described above. Plagued with thoughts of taking away from or hurting those who hurt me. “The Eye of the Storm” is constantly brewing inside me. Love is the only weapon that calms the wind. Everyday this weapon is used against me with reckless abandon. It is strong, unwavering, and unconditional. Even when I don’t want it, I am attacked with this weapon daily. Constantly. Relentlessly. Why do we fight love sometimes? I guess…thank you for calming the winds in “The Eye of the Storm.”

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