I love Spring. It’s my favorite season. The world starts to wake up from its winter slumber. Daffodils poke their heads up, trees bud and flower, life stirs. And for some odd reason, we often feel drawn toward cleaning out, cleaning up, and bringing order to chaos. Ah, yes. Tis the season for spring cleaning.
For many of us, life is usually such a whirlwind of activity that there isn’t room or time to really get things in order. We’re too busy, too rushed, overcommitted and stretched thin. But what if someone called a big time out? What if life slowed down? What if I got stuck in my house for a couple of weeks because of a worldwide pandemic? Oh yeah, here’s comes the silver lining to COVID19!!
And what if, just maybe, this big time out actually contains an invitation for us. What if it’s an opportunity to look at how we live, what we value, where our priorities lie? Maybe it affords us time to learn stillness and contemplation. Those tend to be lost arts in this day and age. And perhaps, in our newfound stillness, we find ourselves face to face with God.
It’s interesting that scripture never says, “be busy and know that I am God”. Rather, it is a call to stillness. “My soul, be quiet before God, for from him comes my hope. “ (Psalm 62:5 International Standard Version) In the quiet, we can actually hear God speak. In the stillness, we can feel the breeze of His presence and the warmth of His embrace.
I’ll be very honest and say that stillness did not come naturally to me. When God first asked me to try it, I thought He was trying to kill me. I fidgeted and squirmed, and protested and walked away. I couldn’t hear a thing, feel a thing, sense a thing. So I fidgeted some more and got straight on to the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” phase. But God insisted, and so I tried again, and again, and again. Until stillness actually came. And then so did God, and He brought peace with Him, and companionship, revelation and life. And all of the sudden my soul understood the value of stillness and the wisdom of a God who knew that I needed it even when I couldn’t see it.
So here is your invitation, from a God who knows you, loves you, and wants your company:
‘Arise, my love, my fair one,
And come away.
‘For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
‘The flowers appear on the earth once again;
The time for singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
‘The fig tree has budded and ripens her figs,
And the vines are in blossom and give forth their fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
And come away [to climb the rocky steps of the hillside].’”
“O my dove, [here] in the clefts in the rock,
In the sheltered and secret place of the steep pathway,
Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your face is lovely.”
Song of Songs 2: 10-14
In a world gone mad with fear and uncertainty, when the earth can only offer our limited scientific understanding, when life turns on a dime and all that we know fades away, here is God - wanting to meet you, and bless you, and keep you. May your heart turn toward Him so that you can hear His song over your life, over your family. Jesus cares about you and the worries of your heart. Father has never been caught off guard and has planned even now for your welfare. If you find yourself needing to talk, reach out and I'll be happy to do that with you.
When traumatic things happen in our lives, they tend to shake up our sense of who we are. Sometimes to the point that we feel forever changed by those things. It is true for each of us that our story is made up of the events and relationships of our lives. We are shaped by experiences; but more importantly, we are shaped by what we do with them and how we react to them. In this sense, trauma and other difficult things, do not have to define us. We do not have to take on their identity or nature. Instead, we hope in One who has promised to make all things new, including us. We hope in His compassion and gentle healing touch. We hope in his ferocious love for us and His commitment to our good.
And so we walk thru the pain, letting our feelings receive validation and seeing how our thinking and behavior might be altered. But we do not stay there. We insist that our feelings bow to truth. We bring our thinking in line with the culture of heaven. We declare the promises of God - even if they are still in the distance. We fight to keep our souls in a good place, knowing that the Trinity fights for us and alongside us.
Ultimately, we find ourselves on the other side. With richer stories to tell of who God is and who we are in Him. We go deeper into life that is truly life. And one more nail is struck into hell's coffin.