I love poetry that doesn’t rhyme and books that don’t neatly solve every problem.
In my world, checkbooks are for determining a ballpark figure of how much money I have.
My sister was talking with her friends about how they balance their checkbooks to within a few dollars, but never to the penny.
Kara, the banker, felt like she was at a crime scene. What kind of horrible thing were these people talking about?
I told her that one time my checking account was so messed up that I actually closed it, took the money they told me I had, and opened a new account at a different bank. Poor girl nearly threw up. There’s really no preparing a banker for a story like that.
So when Free Spirit Me reads Psalm 119 there’s a disturbing little ruffle in my spirit.
It’s about God’s Word, which I love, but the 176 verses are filled with references to the law, statutes, commandments, and rules.
Yikes. The term “rules” conjures up images of restrictions. Narrow, stingy, austere, careful, lifeless living.
Disturbing ideas for free spirits.
So I was surprised to read these seemingly contradictory words:
“Your commandment is exceedingly broad.” verse 96
“I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.” verse 45
“I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!” verse 32
The words seem contradictory, but they ring true for the effect of God’s Word in my life. When I open His Word it’s like stepping outside on a cool, breezy evening when the house is still sweltering from a summer day.
There is refreshing relief when I savor pure truth. But there is transformational freedom in submitting to His commandments.
I’m just gonna openly admit right now that I have no idea how this works. My poor little brain is so stuck on rules being restrictive. It’s truly a mystery to me that choosing to obey Him brings freedom, largeness, a broad path for exhilarating running.
His mysteries don’t worry me too much. I like that my God is so huge that my little mind can’t begin to figure Him out.
The tough part in this is the actual, physical obedience. That’s the restrictive, narrow thing. That I would choose to limit my “freedom.”
But the few times I’ve actually done that, I find that it’s like being in a glass bottle and squeezing through the narrow bottle neck out into fresh, wide, real life. I could never stumble upon this freedom without embarking on the difficult, narrow path of obedience.
Going the way of my heart, the way that seems right to me, is actually a trap.
“The wicked lay a snare for me, but I do not stray from your precepts.” verse 110
In this case “the wicked” is usually my own lusty, longing heart. And I can gather such convincing reasons that following my heart is actually good. Billy Graham himself would be convinced.
But it’s a snare. A façade of freedom. Not the real thing.
His precepts keep me from the trap. I don’t need to agree or understand, but my safety and freedom depend on me simply obeying.
So, step by step, little by little, I will follow.
“The unfolding of your words gives light.” verse 130
At each step I will bask in light and freedom.