"Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to [the] judgement. So then banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless." -Ecclesiastes 11:9-10
So, after a few weeks of transitioning and moving and flying over the Atlantic, The Prayer Series is back! And, on it's new day: MONDAY!
I'm writing to you this morning from downtown Kensington, London. We're staying here for a few weeks until we find permanent residence in Oxford. We arrived in London early Saturday morning, we, the family of five, three pixie girls (ages one, three and five) and two bleary-eyed adults.
The trip was the culmination of a year-long odyssey of prayer, more prayer, planning, trusting--sometimes without cause or sense (or so it seemed)--and, did I mention prayer? I'll be studying for the PhD in Theology at King's College London under the supervision of theologian and apologist Alister McGrath. Needless to say, we're living in a world of newness, a world of dreams, really.
Go After It
I think dreams are made of trust and joy. Solomon reminds us to be happy, to follow the desires of our hearts. But in order to follow our hearts, we must possess the strength of heart to trust that God will help us, that he will go before us, that he will "establish our ways (Proverbs 16:9)." Without him holding us up, we're nothing and we gain nothing.
In Ecclesiastes 11:9 the Teacher challenges us to go after joy, for joy does not come from sitting on the couch. It comes from doing. We can't "do" when we're worried about this or that, if the visas will come or if the house will sell, as was our case in our big move.
But if we set our hearts on him, as Paul instructs us in Colossians 3, then our dreams will stem from God himself. And when they come from God, we find ourselves invigorated to follow our hearts. We find a joy that overcomes obstacles. And believe me, obstacles will arise daily. But opposition is to be expected when the heart of God ignites your action.
Lord, search my heart. Know me, mold me, challenge me. Help my weakness and my anxiety. Forgive my lack of trust and lack of movement. What will you have me do today? Show me a new part of you today. Show me, so I can run after you anew; invigorated and desirous of who you are.
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Timothy Willard is the author of five books, including Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life and the forthcoming The Life-Giving Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019). He has collaborated on over 20 books and has written, consulted and served as spiritual director for organizations such as Chick-fil-A, Catalyst, Q Ideas and Praxis Labs. When he’s not riding the trails in the Appalachian mountains you can find him by the fire with his three daughters and his wife making up stories about Tom the back yard badger. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.