Wednesday, July 17, 2013

“Gone Praying”

Yesterday I took our eleven year old son out for what he called “some father-son time.” We had a mini-pizza and went downtown to a small store he had wanted to go to. It was a store with huge tables where you could pay a fee and build a Lego object. He had asked about going there several times, and we finally did it. But when we got to the store there was a sign on the door. It was closed for the day for a family event. From our side there was some disappointment, but this disappointment was mixed with a brief discussion of the importance of even small store owners having times when they can close their doors. In years past there might have been a sign saying “Gone Fishing” or “Gone Hunting.” But whatever the sign, there was a recognition on both sides that getting away was an appropriate and acceptable thing to do. On our side of the door, our response was to walk to a favorite coffee stand and get him a smoothie and then to our landmark popcorn store to get a bag of popcorn and sit down and talk for a while, realizing that a trip to this store was still something to look forward to and fully intend.

Today Sarah writes about getting away with God for a while. It can be so tempting to push that which is flexible to the side in favor of that which seems inflexible and demanding. With the store owners, they risked missing a customer who might not come back.  They put at risk whatever funds they may have earned for the day. But on the other side, who knows what they gained.

Our time with God can seem so flexible because He hasn’t posted an open or closed sign. He hasn’t given us hours in which He is in or out. Rather, He is always present 24/7—365. As such, we might be tempted to think we must deal with the pressing and then spend time with God when it is not so pressing. But the truth couldn’t be more opposite most of the time. Of course, there will be those times when our days begin with an alarm of some form that we did not intend or expect whether it is an emergency phone call or a sick child. But this is not the case most of the time.

God does not get lost in the busyness of our days as we might. He sees the beginning and the end at the same time in full clarity, and He is able to shape the path from one to the other. And in Him we can find the strength, peace, and wisdom to progress through each part.

Psalm 121 A Song of Ascents. I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.

Reflecting on Psalm 121 is an incredible reminder to me of who our God is to us and what He will do. While I know that I have frequently fallen into the trap of busyness, I also recognize how foolish it is to imagine that seeking to accomplish any task in my own strength is a foolish thing to do when my God has promised to strengthen me in my Lord and to guard my steps. As such, I have committed myself to hanging out this sign in my heart—“Gone Praying”, knowing that the benefits of this time make the rest of my times much more profitable and reminding me that my God, though He is always present, does desire to spend special set-apart time with me. Maybe you can think of a better wording for the sign. If you do, let me know. What I do know is that you can’t think of a better One to spend it with.

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (7/17)

Come away for Me for a while. The world, with is nonstop demands, can be put on hold. Most people put Me on hold, rationalizing that someday they will find time to focus on Me. But the longer people push Me into the background of their lives, the harder it is for them to find Me.

You live among people who glorify busyness; they have made time a tyrant that controls their lives. Even those who know Me as Savior tend to march to the tempo of the world. They have bought into the illusion that more is always better: more meetings, more programs, more activity.

I have called you to follow Me on a solitary path, making time alone with Me your highest priority and deepest Joy. It is a pathway largely unappreciated and often despised. However, you have chosen the better thing, which will never be taken away from you. Moreover, as you walk close to Me, I can bless others through you.

“The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” Song of Songs 2:13

“But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42

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