Tuesday, January 25, 2011

For, after all, put it as we may to ourselves, we are all of us from birth to death guests at a table which we did not spread. The sun, the earth, love, friends, our very breath are parts of the banquet.... Shall we think of the day as a chance to come nearer to our Host, and to find out something of Him who has fed us so long? ~Rebecca Harding Davis

When I signed in tonight, my screen saver flashed a neon message: “Hi Cutie!” This is what comes of telling Lydia my password. And then telling her how to spell it. It’s been very effective for some time. It must have been a couple of years ago that Zach and Josiah hunched over my laptop on the floor of Josiah’s bedroom, trying in vain to imput the proper code. “The hint question is from James,” Josiah discovered, and turned in his Bible to look up the verse. “’Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.’” Zach’s fingers clicked over the keys, “It’s ‘submit.’” He gloated. The screen remained locked and over in the corner, I smirked. Suddenly, both of their heads snapped up and Zach looked accusingly at me. “Is it Greek or something?” Well. And. So? Greek words make good passwords. But now it is probably time to change it. All good things must come to an end.

With a little extra time on my hands today, I caved to the sunshine’s allurement and slipped on my no-longer-white tennis shoes for an out-of-the-house experience. “Wanna go to the woods?” I invited Freckles, and her tail whipped around like a Comanche’s blades. She jumped up for her routine nose-to-hand touch before dashing off for the nearest forest entrance. The only time she stays behind me, while trailing in the woods, is when we force our way through some dense underbrush. Then, and only then, is she more than willing for me to cut the trail. My old meditation haunts have rapidly become brambles and thorns. A sad picture of what happens to the worship places in my heart if I don’t use them frequently. Standing in the sunshine on the bank of the creek, my mind clambered at me. “You should be redeeming the time! You should be praying! Here you are, quiet and alone! Think of all the things and people you have to be praying for!” But my heart argued back, “No! Even a ‘good agenda’ is not always the right one. Here in God’s creation, I am without an agenda. God knows all those needs. I don’t need to talk. I just want to listen.” I tumbled down into the prickly, dead grass and pushed my toes right to the edge of the gurgling stream. Slimy green moss hair clung to rocks, waving in the gentle current. Freckles splashed through the water in a vain attempt to convince me what a marvelous game wading could be. I’ve been talking to the Lord a lot. About the same things. The same people. The same circumstances. Over and over again I’ve pleaded this case or that cause, I’ve sought wisdom or begged for strength. He’s given both abundantly. And He’s cared for me faithfully. I know we are commanded to keep knocking and keep asking and keep seeking fervently. But sometimes, I just sit silent and stare at God’s creation, intricate, minute and always functioning on a perfect schedule, in a perfect order, in a perfect system. He holds all together by the word of His power. I sit silent and I rest in God’s unchanging character. In His eternal providence. In His faithful provision. In His undying beauty. In His matchless power.

Yes, there is a battle to wage. There are those whom Satan is seeking to destroy. There are circumstances that are overwhelming. There are people dying and people being born.

But there is also a Lover who is unhindered by time who beckons me to “Come away to a lonely place.”

Yahweh was quiet today. I heard nothing, sprawled by the creek in the afternoon sunshine. My life did not change. My mind was not impacted by some great new discovery or insight. My time was not poured out in a raging battle. My energy was not demanded by a difficult project. Yahweh was quiet today, and oh! How good He is when He is quiet!

I came to supper hungry. I thought. I guess I wasn’t hungry enough to sell my birthright for a bowl of lentil stew. Though I ate it and was thankful. I refused the cottage cheese. And mushrooms. I’m a pretty agreeable eater, but there are a few textures that just dislike me. Who wants to eat curdled milk? Or crunchy bug-like beans? Or fungus? Ick.

Resolved: that tonight I will be in bed before eleven. So far, so good.

Creation praises You by being,

Let me be and praise You, too.

With the breath You breathed into me,

Let me breathe my praise to You.

Teach me ways that lead to worship,

Make my heart one single word:

“Trust” the nature of my nature,

By Your gaze, my mind allured.

Let me be before You, quiet,

Savoring Your saving grace.

Teach me e’er to choose the good part,

Longing only for Your face.

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