When you go away for nine weeks on sabbatical, you can imagine the #1 question when you get back. ( … think about it … ) “How was your sabbatical?” Followed by, “Are you glad to be back?” Let’s take the second question first.
When you read a great book, watch an epic movie, take the trip of a lifetime, have a phenomenal date, watch a championship game for the ages, do you want it to end? No way! Same here, as I had an incredibly life-giving, personal growth spurt break. I was so glad to reconnect with so many that I didn’t cross paths with … at all.
I could speak to many things about my sabbatical, from five trips to 22 books read to numerous documentaries to countless walks and moments of reflection in Yellow Springs. But let me land the plan on one thought that keeps coming to me. “Thy lovingkindness is better than life” is a song lyric I heard many times over and over as a young boy. The song still takes me back in time to the 70s.
Good friend and pastor, Chad Group, was on sabbatical for 4-5 weeks while I was away. We saw each other shortly after I returned and spent a good hour together recently. We had a similar thought process. Would the Lord be tough on us as we get alone and have more time and take us to the woodshed (or bring out a spiritual whip)?
The easy answer is no. Yes, He is good and not content to leave us where we are (Philippians 1:6), but He is so good about how He reveals Himself to us and sheds light on our own heart. The word loving kindness came to me often while away. He is so good. Think of how good you think God is. … guess what? He’s better. His heart for you is so much more for you than you can grasp.
I told one of our groups recently that if I thought of my 10 closest friends, I guarantee they want what is best for me. Part of that is they want to let me get away with junk and they don’t drink my Kool aid.
God is largely good because He wants to make us better, is committed to that work and that means sharpening us, shaping us, molding us, and taking us through His refiner’s fire. Wherever our life is and whatever comes our way, let’s create the space and invite Him in to see and know: “Thy lovingkindness is better than life.”