Distractions. Dissipations. I am considering them, and not for the first time.
As I sat before the Lord one day last week, realizing as I mentioned that I had blown three or four hours given to me through a canceled appointment that morning, I counted at least five “starts” from my chair in the first three minutes. I wasn’t making a careful count, because that would have been a distraction in itself, but easily five in three. Five minutes later, at least four or five more occurred until I began to settle down a little, by the sheer force of not jumping up every time I wanted to.
Yes. Wanted to. I could tell you what a few of those little impetuous impulses were, but much as I want to stay transparent before you, they were sillyand overtly interruptive. A couple of them, just to illustrate: I had to sit on my hands to keep from moving some picture frames from one side of the room to the other. Oddly enough, probably because I beat that one down and because it wasn’t critical in the first place, they are still right where they were. Must not have been as important as it felt at the moment … the moment I was supposed to be spending with the Lord, worshiping and praying.
Is this ringing any bells?
I don’t know how many times I almost got up and left the room to see if I had put something in my “cart” online that I wanted to purchase. (Now I’m red in the face!) If I had succumbed, there is a great chance I never would have returned. I would like to say – and of course, did tell myself – “I’ll be right back!” – but I know better. Maybe I would have returned. Maybe. My track record is NOT GREAT once I get up and leave.
So, I stayed. I quieted my soul. What worked in the end, as always, was when I opened my mouth and began to speak. I spoke what I came for, my worship and my prayers. No bells, no whistles, no startling revelations, no goose bumps. Along with the tears we may shed for others down the road, it must be that to show up and to stay in prayer with what time and compassion we have is bedrock. Faith works through love, and much as I think it sounds a bit redundant, at least I loved the Lord and loved the person for whom I prayed enough to … well, to ask, to stay and to pray for good things for them instead of new address labels for me, free delivery with minimum purchase.
Oh, Lord … no kidding! The flesh profits us NOTHING! (John 6:63). Thank You, thank You, thank You, that we do have life in Your Spirit. Apart from You, we are nothing but a shell with self-referential tendencies. Those are present even with You, Lord, as well You know, and I’m sorry for those times when I so prefer not to live in that Life You have given, but Oh!, You are faithful, wooing me away from emptiness, drawing near the moment I turn my heart and my steps toward You, and because I may, I do, and that River of Life flows on, to me and even through me. But best of all, in the Secret Place, You are there, and in You there are pleasures and compassions, both; there are tears that need to be shed, determinations that need to be made and kept, and there is fulness of joy.
La Touche, 1893, by Permission, Wikipedia