My feet emerged from their warm cocoon to land on an icy floor. the chilly wood suggests 20 degrees outside. Wintry wind whistles around the corners of the house while little feet stomp upstairs. My watch reads 8:30 a.m. Late, but nowhere to go. I’ve got 10 days before I report to my new assignment. we just moved in. I have to organize the garage, change addresses for all the bills, find a new bank. So many chores for a man with nothing to do. I hear my wife reading to our three children. the homeschool day begins sharply at 8:30 a.m. I shuffle into the kitchen and pour a steaming cup of black coffee. out the window I watch snow flurries dance across the back yard. the hot mug warms my hands and a robust aroma fills the room. Garage. Addresses. Bank.
A thought from Proverbs comes to me.
‘‘My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments within thee.” Not now, God. There’s so much to do. But I am a minister, so a devotional must be had. It’s the proper thing to do. My parish is a band of warriors. Very well, let’s check this off my list. I locate my Bible and an Oswald Chambers’ devotional for backup. I curl up on the sofa in a quiet corner of our new, rented house. the coffee stung, warmed and energized.
‘‘My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments within thee.” Yes, Lord, yes, I receive them. Garage. Addresses. Bank.
Proverbs are my default devotional. Today is the second, so I turn to Proverbs 2. Garage. Addresses. Bank.
‘‘if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures.”
I don’t. I treat the things of God like cheap, imported toys from the Dollar Store. I must organize the garage.
But when I seek and search, I enter a kingdom full of secret, hidden joy.
it lies just beneath the surface of the perfunctory quiet time. too often, I walk by it, cursing my hurried life.
Must find a new bank. No time, no time. How many more verses? Long chapter today.
Suddenly, God’s word reveals a glimpse into his kingdom. I chain my mind to the block and throw it into the sea.
‘‘hide my commandments with thee.”
I dwell there. I loiter and trespass in the Holy of Holies with the full blessing of my sweet, gracious and patient Father. I close my eyes and repeat the verses. Messing up, I start again.
It’s no chore, but sweeter with each attempt. the warmth of God’s Spirit pierces ever deeper into my hardened heart. each verse joined to my memory acts as a tendon, a ligament and flesh on the skeleton of my soul.
‘‘My son, if thou wilt receive, then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”
Yes, Lord, I pray, I understand. I see it now. Not with frigid intellectual cognizance, but with the affection and joy of meeting an old friend.
That living stream refreshes, nourishes and strengthens. each time I wonder, Why do I not come here more often? without intention to do so, my quiet corner evolves into a sanctuary and I fall into a state of worship. Time unhurried with God is an oasis in the desert of life.
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