If you do much reading in Leviticus you are familiar with the term pleasing aroma. It seems our sacrifices are accepted as a pleasing aroma by God. And to some extent, I can agree. The smell of a wood fire burning outdoors, the smell of cooking meat on a grill. These are pleasing aromas to me as well. But I have to draw a line at the full burnt offering, I simply do not find the smell of something burning as pleasing.
May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
I can accept that God finds pleasing things that are difficult for me to find pleasing. I can accept that God can find joy and value in things that seem small to me. I can accept that my prayer and the lifting of my hands can be like a burnt offering.
I don’t often think of my prayers in as formal a way as I think of the Levitical sacrifices. My prayer life is raw, uncensored and real. I open my heart to expose hurt, anger and frustration as easily as I expose joy, peace and love. So as I share this verse with you today I am amazed that this is where God led me to share this week.
You see, I make it a priority to encourage families to let their relationship with God move and the ways they relate to him evolve as they grow and life’s circumstances change. But I haven’t made a change to my prayer life in about two years because I thought what I was doing was working during this busy season of school. Yet over the last few weeks I have felt God pull me in a new direction, and I am embarrassed to say I have been fighting him! I’ll tell you more about this new direction later in the week, but today I really want to focus on why I have been fighting God because I think this is such a common thing for humans.
School for me has been much harder than any other changes I have made, including the changes I had to make to care for new babies. I am always concerned that my family receive the best of my time while also ensuring I learn the material I need to know to be a midwife. God doesn’t take a back seat, but the ways I spend time with him changed to accommodate the balancing of demands from school and family. I haven’t thought to reevaluate how I currently spend time with God because it works for me.
Works for me? I don’t mean that in a selfish way but that I have found a way to maintain what God and I have. And honestly I become concerned sometimes that I might lose what I have left. You see, I really like the way I spent time with God before I started school. I had an hour or two each day to read the Bible and write in a journal. When I lost the time to spend hours with God I was concerned I would “lose” what made me a Christian.
I am happy to report that what I gained was new ways to spend time with God, but I still miss what I used to have. Now that I feel God pulling me to try something else new I am concerned again that I will “lose” what I have with God today. Isn’t it always scary to try something new, to be stretched and challenged?
It just makes me wonder, where is God challenging you?