I stared at the window, longing to go outside. I could see the birds flitting from tree limbs to the bird feeders. I could hear the sweet song of the cardinal at the top of the river birch tree. I could see the water flowing in the fountains, the windchimes swaying, and the flowers blooming in my whimsical cottage garden.
And I was stuck inside. I felt like I was the “princess in the tower,” locked in the upstairs bedroom and not allowed to leave.You see, it was 7 am, which is when I meet with God 5 days a week, Sunday through Thursday. (I let Him have Fridays and Saturdays off – LOL). But on this day, I just couldn’t get my hiney to sit down in my Bible study chair. It just wasn’t happening.
I told God that I was ditching my early morning Bible study, and relocating our meeting from my Bible study desk to my back porch. Soon I was in my rocking chair, drinking my coffee, and seeing the birds and fountains and windchimes and flowers in person, not through a glass.
And I was happy. My soul sang and my shoulders relaxed and I breathed in a deep sigh of relief. Peace was here.
I sat in the rocking chair and prayed for a while, but soon the garden paths were calling my name and I strolled among my flower beds, pulling weeds and picking up sticks. It was a glorious morning.
Did I feel guilty for ditching my morning Bible study? Not a lick. Did God enjoy being with me on my porch and in my garden? Yessiree.
We often feel like we have to do certain things, like pray for a certain amount of time or read our Bible for “X” minutes daily in order for God to be pleased with us. And while we do want our lives to be pleasing to God, I don’t think God has spreadsheets in heaven marking down who has put in their time with Him daily.
While God loves to spend time with us, He’s not angry when we miss our time with Him. He’s not mad when we reschedule or relocate or change what we are doing with Him. Sometimes instead of us going to spend time with Him, He joins along in what we are doing.
As I come to know God better, I am learning that He is not a God of rules and checklists and judgment, but a God of grace. When I skip my time with Him, He gives me grace. When I cut short my time with Him, He gives me grace. When I’m distracted and forget to spend time with Him, He gives me grace. Even when I flat out ignore Him, He gives me grace.
I’ve found that God’s amazing grace for me is far greater than my imperfections, failures, distractions and forgetfulness. I find these truths in the Bible:
Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13)
Love covers a multitude of sin. (1 Peter 4:8)
But He gives more grace. (James 4:6)
Lamentations 3:23 says that God’s mercies are new for me each morning. Each new day gives me fresh opportunities to spend time with God. So if I miss time with God today, His mercy is waiting for me tomorrow morning. Not His judgment.
Make no mistake, God longs to spend time with you, while you pray, study His Word, and live your life. But don’t feel guilty if for a day or for a week or for a season you miss your time with Him. His grace is there for you just like His mercy is new every morning. You can start again tomorrow, relying on the mercy that is waiting for you there.
I’ve found freedom in His grace, mercy, and love. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.