People often find the motivation and courage to come to a counseling session because something terrible goes wrong in their life (or has been going wrong for a long time without relief). And typically the question that they ask is, “What should I do?” It may be the first thing they ask or it may come at the end of the session. It may be asked once or repeatedly with ever increasing intensity.
Of recent I find myself hearing the Spirit ask, “To accomplish what?”
In 1999 I sat in Pastor Rudy’s office (at the church where we served together at the time), broken and despairing of life. Life seemed hopeless and I wanted to quit it all. What occurred in that office over the next two hours was nothing less than miraculous. The Lord Jesus revealed Himself to me in a way I had never experienced in my entire 47 years of life. The truth He revealed to my inmost being radically changed my life. He was gracious and merciful to me and I am thankful for it.
However, during recent reflections on that morning I have made a startling discovery. At the time I thought the wonder of that session was how Jesus resolved some deep seated lies and healed associated wounds so I could be released from those burdens and live a freer, more productive life – a better life. I totally overlooked the greatest wonder that, in the availability of my desperation, Jesus had shown me His beauty and glory – a better hope! He had removed some blinders from my eyes so I could see Him more fully – and I was quickly distracted by how much better I felt. God forgive me!
After 18 years of “successful” pastoral ministry (defined, I guess, by lives changed, addictions broken, marriage healed, etc.), I am beginning to realize that the answer the Spirit wants to hear from all of us broken people to the question He asks is this: “I want to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord; but this (pain, addiction, anger, lack of identity, etc.) is standing in the way and I want it to be gone so I can see Jesus!”
“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
One thing, Lord, just one thing.