Eternal Pleasures

It’s been a month now since our world literally
crossed hemispheres and flipped upside down.
 I remember like it was yesterday the feelings I felt so deeply,
caught in a moment of fellowship with my God,
my heart stirring with Spirit whispers that said,
“See, my girl.
I told you I would be with you.
And here I am.
Emmanuel.
Just like I promised.” 

In just a few short weeks,
I watched our humble African abode
 turn from our home to just a house.  
We sold or donated or gave away nearly everything
not essential for us to carry across the ocean.  
One night near the end of our time there,
I sat with the Lord,
my back pressed against the empty wall of the living room,
my bum on the dusty carpet where the couch once rested. 
Lettie leaned on my legs, trying out some new sounds with her little voice,
every so often throwing her head back to catch my eyes and
make sure we shared a smile. 
There, of course, were many emotions
dancing throughout my head and my heart,
but the greatest sensation was that of Company,
and of pleasures far exceeding what that house could give me. 
Earthly securities had all but slipped out my hands as
we again uprooted to head into more unknowns. 
But there He was. 
God With Us.

Thirty-one months ago we landed on that continent,
in that space. 
I remember so vividly
sitting with my back against that same wall,
my bum on that same floor with empty walls around me.
 A couch yet to be bought, pictures yet to grace the walls,
in just a house that was soon to become my home. 
I felt alone. 
No clue what to do, where to go, who to talk to. 
So much left unknown and only time to find it out.  
Our prayer from the beginning was from Psalm 16:11,
“Make known to us the path of life,
fill us with joy in Your presence and
eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”
Sitting in that empty room back then and sitting in it today were
entirely different experiences. 
Where there was loneliness, there was now fellowship. 
Where there was fear, there was now trust. 
Where there was uncertainty, there was now peace. 
By no means did this African journey perfect my faith,
but it opened the door to the presence of God in my life. 

I now have so many of the very things for which I longed
while we were worlds away.
Family, farm life, a sense of safety, kitchen appliances. 
There is even the ease of Wal-Mart!  
Pleasures of the flesh, albeit good as they are. 
However, here I am this morning in another house
that again will take time to feel like home. 
Here I am with a routine that, for now,
boasts more in solitude than in company. 
Here I am again not quite sure how I plug into everything.  
All of this so familiar, yet worlds away from what it was in Africa. 
I’ve learned earthly things all lead down similar paths,
no matter where on Earth you are.

My mind skips throughout the daily rhythms of
babies, laundry, groceries, exercise, dinner,
husbands, communication, fears, finances,
church, doctors, family dynamics,
life,
life,
and life.
I recognize many of the same
anxieties and pressures and spirits of discord
which are threatening to push into our
hearts, our home, and our marriage. 
We know them. 
Desires of the flesh with which we are quite familiar. 
The same ones that threatened to destroy us early in our African journey.  
The same ones the enemy has used over and over again to
send stormy waves into the walls of our boats. 
This time, however, there is a deep Anchor securing me to my Heavenly Home.
The Lord has given us Spirit eyes with which we can now view our world. 
He has given us hearts that long to take delight in the things of Him.
He has opened our minds to purposes which
greatly surpass the goals of my naturally selfish and short-sighted mind. 
Eternal pleasures. 
There they are.  Just like we asked. 

I stand by my statement that my faith has not been perfected.
This I know because I must fight so hard for the joy of His presence to be enough.
I must ask daily for these eternal pleasures to reign in my heart. 
I must seek His company diligently as I walk on the path of Life
allowed only because of His sacrifice.
It makes me angry that it takes so much effort on my part. 
I know the Truth of His goodness, and yet I still struggle to walk in it.
I am so sinful.
The enemy is diligently trying to steal, kill, and destroy. 
Satan and his tribe prowl about,
waiting on me to give them just a second of attention. 
This journey has taught me the truth of Romans 8:5-6. 
If my mind is governed by what the flesh desires,
I will only walk down a path of death-
destruction of my joy, my security, my peace, my dreams, and my life. 
But when my life is in accordance with the Spirit and
my mind is governed by His desires,
it is there that I will find life and peace.  
There is no disappointment and no fear
when our pleasures are rooted eternally in Him. 

Praise God for His faithfulness that extends through
hemispheres, circumstances, seasons, and ages. 
When the road turns, when the scenery changes,
He is steady. 
He may leave us on the edge of our seats wondering
what our next step looks like,
but His character is so predictable.  
He is love.  He is kind. 
He is firm. 
He is caring, seeing, knowing. 
He tells the truth. 
He expects much from us. 
He is forgiving.
He is jealous.
He is present and He is good. All the time. 

I look forward to the day when “welcome home”
means I am bowed before the feet of Jesus. 
Today, however, I will bask in the eternal pleasures of His presence
sprinkled throughout my life in small town Tennessee.
This is my prayer for us all as we gear up for another day
in bodies of fleshly desire,
in a fallen world full of really hard things:
          “…if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
          think about such things. 
          Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—
          put it into practice. 
          And the God of peace will be with you.”  
          (Philippians 4:8-9)

Go boldly with Emmanuel today.
God is who He says He is,
and in Him there is life and peace.