“Jennie, God also made me fast, and when I run, I feel his pleasure. “ Eric Lyddle in the movie Chariots of Fire.
I think we could do a whole Lenten Season’s worth of meditations on Chariots of Fire, and from just this one line comes a road map to our call and being able to say “all is well.” Eric’s sister is concerned that his running is separating him from his work as a missionary. Eric tries to explain to his concerned sister why he must, for a little while longer, pursue his running. For those of you who don’t know the story or seen the movie, I will not spoil the ending. Also, Walter and I might come back to the movie sometime. So let’s for the next few minutes focus on the line — “…when I run, I feel his pleasure.”
When have you felt God’s pleasure?
Very few of us are Olympians, world renowned concert pianists, or so clear in our call, as Eric Little.
I suspect Mother Theresa felt God’s pleasure as she worked with the poorest of poor. Great athletes and artists may “feel his pleasure” often, I suspect , without realizing what they are feeling.
Again, we are not all possessed with visible or evident talents, although I believe we all have a “gift.” The question for us then as we search for this “gift” is when do “we feel God’s pleasure?”
A few examples:
The other day in church I sat close to a woman who sang with a beautiful, but untrained voice. It did not matter that she wasn’t in the choir, she recognized the classic hymn and sang the lyrics with pure joy. Clearly, she was feeling God’s pleasure and with her enthusiasm she infected all of us around her with her joy and love of the song. Even I started singing.
I had a friend, a gifted surgeon, who in his later years had to give up surgery. In his prime he had been given a talent by God that he used to heal. After his skills faded, he retired, and he began to garden. Soon he expanded his garden to the grounds of his church, where every day he would show up planting, mulching, weeding, etc. Perhaps the last conversation I had with him I asked him why he didn’t just play golf or travel. He actually used these words, “when I garden, I feel God’s pleasure.”
The question for many of us is not an easy one to ask or be able to answer. My surgeon friend who felt God’s pleasure in healing for many years only to have time and the erosion of his skills make that feeling a memory; he found it again in caring for the gardens and grounds of his Church. We may also need to find “his pleasure” in something new and unexpected.
Each answer to the question is individual, and I suspect for many may contains a few surprises. However, I am convinced that asking the question is setting on the right path, and if we listen long and hard enough God will let us know what to do to “feel his pleasure.”