Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Would you give me five minutes?

I'm not sure what it was about the place that drew me to it time and time again. Perhaps it was the solitude of the place, or the sound of the rushing water, or maybe it was the fact that I was seldom interrupted while I was there. The place was a a refuge for me from a rapidly disintegrating life.

There have been few places like that in my life since then. 

That place was a spot on a waterway called the Bayou Meto in my hometown. There were a number of us who found the place while on one of those adventures that 13 & 14 year old boys like to have. That great adventure brought us to a wide spot on that creek. There were a number of rocks at this particular spot, perhaps an old road bed that had long been abandoned. We set about moving the rocks in an attempt to create a crossing through the rapidly moving water. We visited there often during that summer, but the fall pushed it farther down the list of priorities and we eventually quit going to "the Rapids" as we called them. 

Except that I didn't forget. I would visit there often in an attempt to get away from the mess that was my life. I would spend weekends there just so that I didn't have to face my reality. But life caught up with my escape and eventually I abandoned that place as well, leaving it to other young adventurer s.

But I sometimes find myself longing for a place like that again. 

Psalm 46:10 reads "Cease striving and know that I am God" (NASB). Other translations translate the opening phrase as "Be still," but I believe the better translation is cease striving. There could be no better instruction for our busy, distracted, connected lives. As a 14 year old I cherished those moments when I could escape the constant warfare that was "home." As a 54 year old I have to admit that I grown weary of the constant conflict and heartache that fills our world. The only anchor that I have is found in my relationship with God, and that relationship too often gets pushed farther down the list than is healthy for me. 

By nature I'm a fixer. Whether it's cars, small appliances, or spats between my kids, I've always tried to fix things. But the truth is that there are things we cannot fix. Not you, not me, not the. But we just keep on trying, growing more and more frustrated. The answer is to just let go.

There are things that happen in our lives that we cannot do anything about. Our response should be based on our relationship with God. Children of God do themselves and the Lord a great disservice when we keep wrestling with things that clearly are beyond our ability but are clearly His responsibility. The struggles that fill our lives are far more often beyond our control but within God's ability. 

Beyond that is the issue of all the "conveniences" that are really nothing more than chains that keep us enslaved to a way of life that is destructive spiritually. We fill our lives with computers, cell phones, televisions, text messages, tweets, and a million other things that are of questionable value at best. The life that all of this connectedness gives us is filled with activity but completely devoid of meaning. What we need is to unplug, withdraw, and cease striving.

If Jesus would regularly withdraw for times of spiritual renewal and fellowship with the Heavenly Father why do we think that we can do without those same types of times? I'm more guilty of that than anyone I know. Will you find the time today to "be still"? 

I'm about to put the phone on silence, turn off my computer, shut my door and spend some time in the presence of the Holy One who loves me. 

I encourage you to join me. I don't think any of us will die from it.

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