"It is Thy cause and kingdom I long for, not my own"
This line from a prayer I recently read (from one of my favourite books) has taken up residence in my mind these days and is becoming a theme, a lesson the Lord is teaching me.
As a Christian, I agree - it is Christ's purposes and kingdom I ultimately desire - but I also see something else at work in my heart, my sinful nature wanting my desires granted, in a sense my kingdom being built.
I want comfort and ease and things going my way. I want my desires and wishes met, and for life to look exactly as I think it should. I want everyone to like me and admire me and treat me well. I don't want trials or my plans and goals to be disturbed, thank you. (And the list could continue.)
But the Spirit places a desire contrary to these in believer's hearts, visible underneath all the clutter of our sinful humanity, found in the beauty of surrender and submission to Him: not my will, but Yours, Father.
It is so freeing. I can stop the struggle of wanting things my way and find rest, because I belong to my Father and He is sovereign and works all things according to the purpose of His will (Eph 1:11).
Letting this truth soak into our souls transforms how we think in the midst of the most ordinary or difficult struggles of life - we don't have to give in to frustration or bitterness or hopelessness because God can use even this for His purposes, His cause - nothing is without meaning or wasted in a life belonging to Him.
These days I am reminding myself of these truths in the middle of sleep disrupted nights or dealing with a toddler's tantrum or a thrown-off schedule or lack of "me time". Not real suffering - simply small annoyances - but I am learning (slowly) to surrender it all to Him, praying for the fruit of much-needed sanctification, trusting that all His ways are good.
May I long for your kingdom, Lord, not my own.