The Proffered Dandelion

Psalm 20:3a “May He remember all your sacrifices.”

Observation: Psalm 20 opens as a prayer for David. We aren’t told who is doing the praying…it may be priests who regularly surrounded David, or perhaps family and friends. But their prayers were the sort of thing each of us might long to hear: “May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you (v. 1) “May He send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.” (v. 2) And then this: May He remember all your sacrifices…”

Application: All your sacrifices? What is that supposed to mean? Isn’t the Christian faith one that has been gained by God’s sacrifices alone, not mine? Am I to read this and conclude that it is by my own effort that blessings are to flow in my direction? This seems to careen dangerously close to an affirmation of works.

I long to think the prayers and petitions of friends in my behalf would be effective in gaining God’s favor toward me, but there is something discomfiting about the notion that my own efforts to sacrifice must somehow be added to His for me to gain the fulness of His blessing. And yet, there it is.

There is in my album a treasured photo from a summer outing with my grandson. Ben is approaching me with hand outstretched, offering the flower of a dandelion. Big, bright yellow, perfectly shaped, it was in the moment of his presentation that my heart melted. He had searched carefully for the perfect offering simply because he hoped I would love it. What he could not have known is that in presenting his best treasure, my delight in him would grow all the more.

God is like that. All I might bring to Him is necessarily small and insignificant when laid alongside His eternal magnificence. Yet His joy is made full when I bring to Him something in which I hope He would find pleasure. My heart beats faster as I approach the throne; my eyes open wide with anticipation over his potential delight. My expectation of being swept into His arms grows with each step toward His throne.

Then it hits me: I can bring Him nothing except that which He has first given me. Whether it’s a sacrificially large check or simply my decision to arise early enough to climb into His lap so He can hold me before I begin the day’s work, everything has come from Him in the first place. It takes God to love God.

Prayer: Father, this is how I can have full assurance of answered prayer, isn’t it? … to recognize that my every sacrifice has first come to me from Your hand. Bless what is already Yours, Lord, as I approach Your loving, delighted embrace.

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