My grandmother gave me a one year bible for my high school graduation in 2013. I have a tendency to stick to it every day from New Years until some time around Mardi Gras; at which point I get the urge to clean off my cluttered workspace and put the book back on the shelf. In reading through it this month, I was reminded of this tendency by how much more underlined text and notes were in the January, February and March readings than those after April 1st.
This year has obviously been different. I have been given permission to be slower. I’ve been forced to be more content, and my typical distractive habits have been taken away from me. It has left me in a place of consistent slowness and solitude. It has shown me how erratic and inconsistent I am in my daily habits, my relationship with God, and my dependance on other people for entertainment. God has used this to show me that when there is adequate time and headspace, He fills it up and goes to work.
Contemplation in the Silence
My tendency is to be a doer. I like to plan things out and get them done. I’m also a thinker and ponderer; however, my need to please people tied with my “doer” personality really gets in the way of thinking. God gave me the ability to think deeply and to analyze his words, truth and wisdom as a way to connect with him on a very intimate level. My flesh rails against this, so I tell myself things like, “I’ll do it later,” and “I don’t have enough time to do that.”
The quiet slowness has left wide openings of time to think about what God is doing, ponder what is around the corner and to connect with him on a more consistent basis than I have in some time. God has removed the excuses and left me in a place to clearly choose him or not. When adequate time, effort and energy is put forth to be silent and connect to him, he doesn’t let anything go to waste.
Conviction which gives me Strength
God has re-emphasized that he is in control. A lot of my plans fell through in April, May and June and left the rest of my summer wide open. I was supposed to be a groomsman in one of my best friend’s wedding at the end of March. I was supposed to lead a team to Haiti next week. I was supposed to graduate from grad school in May. In my head this spring was supposed to be full, fun and productive. Instead it has been the slowest and least stressful time in my adult life.
Although I was disappointed with what was canceled and afraid of the unknown, God has put the time to good work. He’s used his words to re-emphasize his calling on my life: to give him Glory through my identity in him and to love other people through my stewardship and gratitude. This allows me to wake up every day, and even though nothing is certain right now, I’m clear on what I need to do and how to look for God going to work.
HEART: God gives us Identity in his son Jesus, who gives us Peace and cleanses us from selfishness and fear. When we recognize that we belong to him and are emptied of ourselves, we reflect his beauty and grace onto the people around us.
HANDS: God has given us a spirit of freedom, so that our hands can fall wide open and he can give and take whatever he wants, as he sees fit. This allows us to be the kind of people who are rooted to him, and deprive our emotional condition from who he is; not just the things and circumstances around us.
FEET: God gives us purpose, wisdom, and responsibility. The accumulation of these qualities in practice is what stewardship looks like. In all times, especially times like these, we as the church have a responsibility to be attune to how the Lord is speaking to us and the opportunities he puts in front of us to serve and love other people as he would.
My encouragement to us all is to ASK God for him to go to work, SEEK for where He is in everything going on around you, and KNOCK on God's door through quietness and thoughtful prayer.
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened."
He is at work, and he always does what he says he will do.