“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
“Their yard has more fireflies than ours, please Auntie, can we go across the street to capture some?” my nephew pleaded, holding his bug-catching basket. Between the sultry Nebraska heat and my bare feet, I could think of several reasons why this wasn’t a good idea. But he pleaded again with his huge dark brown eyes, and I said yes. We walked across the street, my bare feet not hurting as much as I expected on the hot asphalt. The neighbor’s yard sparkled with dancing lights across the manicured lawn. The lush grass enveloped my feet like a plush rug as we crept around the yard looking for fireflies. A few minutes later, we chanced upon a one resting on some foliage. We captured it and placed it in his net. He skipped across the street, delighted to show his parents.
Fireflies, or lightning bugs, are a part of summer magic, finding their way into folk lore, photographs, paintings and even songs. A few years ago, the artist, Owl City, immortalized fireflies by penning the words to a catchy tune, “Because I’d get a thousand hugs from ten thousand lightning bugs as they tried to teach me how to dance.” That song always makes me smile with the desire to run across a meadow lit by moonlight and fireflies. These luminescent insects even capture the hearts of those of us who find ordinary houseflies disgusting. They simply are delightful!
Delight is defined as “a high degree of gratification or pleasure or joy.” It is heard when a child squeals at the sight of bunny. It is experienced when a husband and wife are dancing to Frank Sinatra, even though the wife has two left feet. It is tasted when you bite into the first sweet nectarine of the season as juice drips down your chin. It smells like newborn babies, fresh and clean like a perfect day. Delight is a feeling we can experience daily if we make consistent choices to look, embrace, or seek it. But all too often, I look towards my obstacles, embrace habits that provide false comforts, and find ways to fill emptiness that don’t delight. These choices often leave me unfulfilled and uninspired.
Right now, I face one major obstacle: we haven’t found a place to live in Carlisle. Currently, our lives are centered forty minutes north of where we live. My husband has a one-hour commute to work, and we are active in our church, which is in Carlisle. Moving to Carlisle would cut down on my husband’s commute, give us an opportunity to connect with the community in which we worship, and free up our time for ministry. In times past, I would be inpatient, maybe settle for a less desirable location, or be in a state of constant frustration. But Terry and I have decided to be still and seek God. For me, this time of being still doesn’t mean I don’t look for a place to live, but I don’t obsess over it. It also means I don’t pray for God to open doors, instead I am spending time learning more about the character of God and deepening my relationship with Him. It looks like listening to worship music as I clean house, spending time in His word, sharing with my husband my passions and dreams, and laying them before the feet of Jesus. It also looks like examining my motives, remaining humble and allowing Him to purify my heart.
Ann Voskamp , in her eloquent poetic prose, lays out the concept of the “Red Sea Road” in her latest book, Waymaker. She says, “I have no imagination for the ways of God. In my mind, there had been no island of new possibilities, no dry land of change, no way through to something other than what I’d already known.” She responds to this place of despair by saying, “Jesus knows turns you never heard of, makes roads you wouldn’t have dreamed of, makes miracles exactly where you never would have imagined.” In this crazy housing market, with rental prices creeping up, it seems like an obstacle that neither of us can see past. But we know a God who can!
Last night, Terry and I were driving the forty plus miles back to our home from an evening at church. Terry, exhausted, quickly agreed to my offer to drive home, while he sat back and relaxed. I turned on a podcast, listening to a woman talk about her passion for the people of Chinatown, New York City, where she has spent the last two years sharing their stories. Her desire was to bring to light the plight of this community and how the pandemic had shattered the livelihoods of so many people in the food industry. I thought about my passion for storytelling, my desire to listen well to others, and hear about their stories. These stories might be about their passions or where brokenness touches their lives. I want to be a safe place of refuge for those who feel marginalized in my community. I want to share with others our story and the work Jesus has done in our lives, providing people with hope. As I was thinking these thoughts, I glanced to side of the road. I saw fireflies dancing among the trees on the shoulder. I softly shared with Terry, delight in my voice, “Look, there are fireflies.”
In Psalm 37, David says, “Trust in the Lord, and do good, dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Trusting, continuing to do good, dwelling in the home the Lord has already provided, feeding on His faithfulness, and delighting in the character and nature of God is the place where I am abiding in now. It feels secure, safe, and full of wonder. And I know that, in the future, I will be able testify how gave us the desires of our heart! Meanwhile, I will keep looking for fireflies.