Monday, September 15, 2008

Be Still

I arose before the rest of the family and prayed as I walked the blog. It was a beautiful morning with the moon breaking through the clouds. I talked to God about my concerns, hopes and fears. The coolness of the morning bid me sit still and linger in the moment.

When I pulled up a chair on the back patio, the noise of the metal chair on the concrete ground was shocking. I sat and relaxed. Or at least I tried. The noise in the background seemed to grow, e.g., a car passing on the highway, a motorcycle revving his engine, a neighbor's dog barking. What was once background noise was now overwhelmingly in the foreground.

How hard it is just to sit still and be calm. I thought of the command Moses gave the Israelites on the shore of the Red Sea as the Egyptians bore down upon them. ". . . you need only be still."

Much easier said than done. To physically be still is one thing; the still thoughts and emotions is another. Yet when all is said and done, despite the cacophony of the background noise become foreground noise, the moment served to put me in a better place for the day than I would have been in had I not struggled with the lack of stillness.

Sometimes to truly move forward one must not move at all.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hearing God

Sitting outside listening to the birds this morning I mused about what it meant to listen to God. It seems to have become in vogue to say that "God told me" or "God put it on my heart." Over and over I am hearing this from people that call themselves spiritual. But are they really hearing God?

I read Joshua 1 and God spoke for a long time to Josh. He was very specific and very direct. Now that I think about it, he did the same with Moses, Paul, Jesus and just about everyone I can think of in the Bible. That doesn't sound much like some of the vague and fuzzy images that some people are attributing to God these days.

When I look back at God's instructions to Moses, he seems quite capable of speaking in clear words and great detail. If God can give detailed instructions on how to make a curtain for the tabernacle, it would seem that he probably would communicate clearly on other topics also.

What makes us think that God is supposed to take time to talk to me? Isn't that a little egocentric? "I am so special that I can ignore everything that God said for the past 2000 years, all those words that were so carefully written and confirmed by communities, and God will just speak directly to me." That sounds more like serving self than serving God.

Back to Joshua 1. Another aspect of God's message to Josh was what he commanded and prohibited. He commanded courage in action. He prohibited feeling sorry for oneself (terrified and discouraged).

Today I think I'll keep life simple and try to just live out those two little commands. No waiting on new revelation reserved just for me and exclusive of the other 6 billion people on the planet. No excuses about not knowing enough. Just live out what I already know and not feel sorry for myself.