sharper focus “God’s great need”
By Erin Wikle, Soldier
Weeks have come and gone and I find myself in yet another busy season of life. Toting kids to and fro, from home to school and back again, packing the Wikle world into cardboard boxes with plans to turn an old house into a new home, ending my time in an old job for a new opportunity, testing out the entrepreneurial waters and launching a new coffee house out of our small Salvation Army corps. Time is passing, things are happening, and during certain moments, I’ve barely been holding on.
We all have stories like this. Life happens. I need a bumper sticker sprawled across my tiny Toyota.
During a momentary lull ‘mid the madness, I sent a quick text to my corps officer that read, “MUST. MEET. FOR. DISCIPLESHIP.” Later that evening, we spent an hour at a nearby park, enjoying the not-yet sweltering weather while swatting mosquitoes out of our faces, sipping iced coffees, and swapping stories.
During a quiet moment, she asked the usual question that plunges us from chit-chat to greater depths: “So, how’s your soul?” Ugh. My soul. Well, I knew exactly how my soul was. I wished I could just launch into a little, “It is well…,” but wasn’t sure how that’d fare with the onlookers of the religious South. Instead I took the question seriously, thought for a minute, then began to share.
The truth was, I knew that while I wasn’t doing horribly given all that was happening in my world, I wasn’t doing wonderfully. My glass wasn’t even half full! As my dear corps officer put it, “I was down to the dregs.”
I expressed my frustration that the recent busy-ness and a temporary change in routine had led to my settling for less and less of the Holy Spirit’s daily filling. I wasn’t trying to fool anyone. And I certainly wasn’t trying to fool the Lord. And really, I couldn’t have fooled anyone. Little time with the Lord leads to but a few things in my world: a monster of a mommy, a rapidly withering wife, a not-so-neighborly neighbor, and a sorely lacking soldier. I knew full well of my choice: 1) spend time being filled by the Everlasting One and get sucked dry by everything else or 2) Make priority of my Savior and King and stay filled, so that as I pour out, I’m never really empty.
God’s mercy is something else, isn’t it? Even when rejecting him (and friends, let’s call it what it is. If you are choosing something else over time with him each day, it’s rejection), he allows us to feel the absence of his presence. That is mercy. I am in the thick of learning (daily) of my great need for a Savior. Not just learning, but feeling/experiencing/being convinced of this need.
It’s funny though, while the Holy Spirit is busy daily convincing me that I am nothing without his help, he’s recently begun showing me how much my Savior is in need of me! His great need, his great desire, his great pleasure is time spent with me! While I’ve coveted time with my Father, recognizing that he alone empowers (equips/enables) me to be the gentle mother, the kind wife, the good soldier, and the loving neighbor, he has shown me how much he longs for the time we share as well.
While our world may shift and shake, our routines interrupted or thrown out the window, we must make every effort to remain dependent on God and God alone. We cannot be effective otherwise. We cannot parent well. We cannot be good to our spouse. We cannot be loving toward our neighbor. We cannot serve others. We cannot build and expand his kingdom. Make him your all! You are his all, and, in your time spent with him, you are meeting God’s great need to love, adore and cherish his precious child.