Watch this video carefully and you’ll see Josie, Faustina, Thérèse and Bernadette’s moves are as tightly choreographed as any 90s boy band. They start facing stage right, then crank their heads to glance behind them. They execute a full 180-degree turn in perfect sync, pause to lick and chew, then quarter-turn to the right and strike a pose (with Faustina busting out some hip-hop for good measure). It’s fascinating to watch them move in unison with such finely nuanced communication that it all looks perfectly natural and seamless. But believe me, the moment one of the lambs misses a cue, there’s mayhem.
Just the other day, Bernadette decided it was time to leave the sheep pen and head out into the pasture for the day. But little Thérèse, having her head buried in a bucket of sweet alfalfa, missed the memo. As the other lambs line-danced down the green sward, she raced back and forth along the fence line, bleating herself silly and unable to locate an exit. She was in full-blown flight mode and her brain had shut down. I had to enter the sheep pen and drive her from behind into the pasture where she raced to reunite with her flock mates.
If you’ve ever stepped out of the will of God, and I know I have, it’s not hard to identify with poor Thérèse. What starts out as a gut feeling that something’s “not right” (or maybe it’s more that everything’s going wrong) soon escalates into the realization that you’ve had your head in a bucket, doing your own thing for some time now—and when you finally look up and around, it dawns on you that you’re totally out of sync with God’s plan for your life. How do you know?
You start to panic. Maybe it’s not a massive freak out, but a quiet one that keeps you up at night. You look for an exit strategy for the mess that you’re in and you can’t find one. You’re disoriented and not thinking straight. You call out to friends and family or perhaps you shut down. You feel isolated, restless, and maybe even abandoned. Dang, if the sweetness of that “alfalfa” hadn’t distracted you and stolen your desire, you might still be dancing in sync with the LORD instead of bouncing off walls and fences and racing down a slippery slope. Yep, our human desires can lead us astray just as easily as they can lead us to God. Scripture is clear on this: it’s a daily choice.
No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon…seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these [necessary] things will be given you besides. (Matthew 6:24, 33)
Or put another way: Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
God promises us in these verses that if our burning desire is for the LORD and the LORD alone, we will never come up wanting. When we turn our heart to Him, all the “alfalfa” in the world will not be as sweet as it feels to delight in Him and to fall into step with His loving plan for our lives. It takes grace and courage to seek first the Kingdom of God, to not get distracted and to stay “NSYNC.” The Psalms in particular are filled with lyrical expressions of the human heart’s longing for God and God’s longing for the human heart. But sometimes a 90s boy band gets it right too, with a love song that gets to the crux of the matter:
“You are my fire
The one desire
Believe when I say
I want it that way.”
Yes, Lord! Whatever you want, I want it that way.