Four words that change everything

On and off for a year or two I have been asking Him, but more intensely these days.

“What should I do when my medical license comes up for renewal in December? Is it time to let it go?

It is not a matter of defeat, of giving in to the illness and assuming God will not heal. The question is deeper now. “Even if You gave me back my health tomorrow, would I want to step back into medicine? Would You want me to?”

For a long time, I worked from the assumption “of course.” It seemed the responsible thing to do. So much time, so much money, so much effort invested in gaining the skills of a doctor.  And the privilege of so closely observing the miracle of  new life as it grew within the mothers for whom I cared. . . it seemed unthinkable to step away.  And besides, should my health improve, I needed some way to support myself, something to fall back on.

And yet. . . there has been a deeper longing growing, barely perceived. Or perhaps perceived but unspoken. Barely believed. Moments in the last two years when God seemed to be calling me to give all my attention to sitting at His feet, listening to His heartbeat, doing what I can to help others hear it too. I have paused, awed at the thought. I have wondered to God, “Really? I want this so much. Can it really be that You are calling me to this?” With Moses I have hesistated, “But I don’t think well on my feet. Even in a small group I can barely stammer out an answer. Why would you choose me?”

Lately my questions have shifted, the longing within me growing too strong to be ignored. “Abba, I want this more than anything. I long to sit at your feet, to hear your heartbeat, to write in ways that let others hear your heartbeat more clearly too. But is it irresponsible to give up my medical license? Is it selfish? Lazy? Unwise? This desire is so strong. Is it okay to let go of all else and pour all of my time and energy into listening for your heartbeat?

And then I heard them, the four words that changed everything. “I want it more.”

And what do you say to that?

Those four words, they silence all of my questions. What do you say when your Creator tells you that more than you want to know Him, He wants to be known?  More than you want to spend every moment seeking Him, He wants to be sought?

His answer echoes through my days.

“So few people are given this privilege of concentrated time at Your feet. How am I so blessed?”

“People know Me in different ways. This is how I have made you to know Me.”

I read back through what I have written in months past, about how God is a blessing God, how I can trust him.

The pastor speaks the same truth on Sunday morning.  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” Not “the Father.” “Your Father.” The One who brought you into being, who knows you, who is committed to you from the very depths of His being. Doesn’t just “give you the kingdom,” but “is pleased to give you the kingdom.” He has chosen gladly. It gives him great pleasure to give you all that He is and has.

And I realize that as I asked my questions, I expected an answer, but not the answer that He gave. Perhaps something about being a good steward of my gifts and skills. At best a slightly reticent, “Well, if you’re sure that’s what you really want, then it’s okay with me.”  What I got was a take-your-breath-away passionate declaration of longing. “I want it more!”

It’s the same Voice that rings throughout Scripture:

“And then I’ll marry you for good—forever!

I’ll marry you true and proper, in love and tenderness.

Yes, I’ll marry you and neither leave you nor let you go.

You’ll know me, GOD, for who I really am.”

(Hosea 2:19-20, The Message)

“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose?   If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?” (Romans 8:31-32, The Message)

And the song that has risen in my heart hundreds of times in the past year swells again and I sing, free, confident that I am being led into Life.

And I pray that I will forever be spared from believing the lie that God is holding out on me, keeping back His best. And I ask that God would keep the longing fresh, the passion for Himself alive in me. And I hear again the four words and know He will answer. “I want it more!”