Noticing the grace of my hearts desire: A story from last years Retreat at Goedgedacht
Noticing the grace of my hearts desire
“May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfil all your plans!” Ps 20:4
I was on retreat late last year in the lovely town of Riebeek-Kasteel. It was there, nestled in the silence and solitude of olive groves, fruit orchards and mountains that I heard my hearts cry whisper its desire and it was as if my soul gained wings to soar.
During an imaginative prayer exercise on the retreat our Pastor led us through a passage in Matthew 4:18-22
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
I imagined the seaside scattered with lots of little fishing boats, the long beautiful beach filled with the buzz of daily activity and men going about earning their daily bread. I could smell the fresh fish, sea weed and sand mixing with the sound of laughter, shouts and a sea gull or two. The sea was gentle, inviting, and Jesus was walking along the shore, just walking slowly, looking , aware and present.
In my mind I could picture Jesus strolling up to Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew, they were busy throwing out their nets. “Come, follow me” was all it took for the brothers to leave their livelihood, their identity, their possessions. They left it all and walked with Jesus along the shore. I could see Jesus, Peter and Andrew strolling along in conversation. (I wondered what they spoke of those first few steps) But Jesus wasn’t finished “fishing” for a little further along He approached James, John and their father in their boat. The three men were sitting in their boat busy getting their nets ready for another day of hard work. And Jesus called “come” and they left their father and their boats and followed. I could picture them clumsy in their excitement, almost falling out of the boat as they answered the call to come.
(In imaginative prayer it helps to picture yourself in the scene and see what it is that Jesus might be telling you so… )
Back at the shore I was in the boat, like the father of James and John, left behind…
I looked longingly down the shore as Jesus, James, John, Peter and Andrew walked off shoulder to shoulder chatting away. I looked and my heart wanted to break, I wanted to run after Jesus and shout “call me, pick me, choose me!” I wanted to scream “me, I am enough and all I desire is to walk with you, alongside you, down this beach and whatever other beach you choose to walk so please, please call me”. “Can I serve too? anything, something, everything, just call me!”
Then Jesus stopped walking, turned, and looked back at me.
And my heart heard His whisper “Andrea, I have called you by name, you are mine, get out of the boat and follow me. Get out!”
Trying to describe my emotion at that point would be futile and is irrelevant but the release it brought was literally not of this world, it was at this point that my soul took flight! For the first time in 21 one years of following Christ from a distance, down the shore, I realised my hearts desire was His call to follow Him. The grace was in the desire because it was the desire that gave me life, the desire was born in Him.
So finally I have answered the call to “come”, whatever that may mean and whichever shore it may be that I stroll along. My desire is Jesus, my desire is to walk beside Him and share all that He shows me with those that walk besides me.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37:4
I am so grateful for the grace of delighting in my Lord, the grace of desire, for now He has granted my desire to walk with him along the sandy shores, leaving all, I follow Him.