For 26 March 2020: Fifth Thursday of Lent
Read: Psalm 46
I wake up in the darkness most days. I suppose most folks do. I like waking up in those hours. I like the shuffle to the kettle to make tea. I like the standing at the sink looking out the window while the sleep is wiped from my eyes. I like that drowsy waking up in the stillness of the pre-dawn hours. It’s in those minutes of waiting for the kettle and the water to be poured that I find either the quiet center of my day or the chaotic dash. No matter what I find, my cup of tea and the front porch always have space in my day.
These minutes spent on the front porch allow me to live out the admonition from Psalm 46:10: Be still, and know that I am God! I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted upon the earth (TIB). I need those drowsy waking up minutes. I need those front porch minutes. When I don’t make time to center myself in God’s presence, I become distracted and loose focus. I lose sight of my purpose and goal. The completion of the chaotic dash becomes the goal.
“Be still…” Does the psalmist know how difficult that is in today’s culture filled with devices and technology? Then again, what do I know of being in a hunter/gatherer culture, or an early agrarian culture? Each generation has challenges which can distract us, overwhelm us, and which cause us to lose sight of the goal. What is the goal? The goal is a life fully and completely lived in praise and worship of God. The goal is a faith so deep that even if “…mountains plunge into the depths of the sea…” (Psalm 46:2c TIB), we fear nothing for we completely trust the assuring love of God.
In these days of Lent, as we move closer and closer to the calendar observance of Easter, I lift up these thoughts because I believe this is the example Jesus set for us: He put his whole trust in God. This example of faith is what started our faith tradition in the first place. Abram believed YHWH, and God accounted it to Abram as righteousness (Genesis 15:6, TIB). I am trying my best to live into that complete trust in God, examples set by Jesus, Abraham and Sarah, and a host of others in the Bible, in our history, and even walking among us today. I want to live fully of putting my whole trust in God. It is hard to do.
Those quiet moments on the front porch are my place and time to carve out space so I can be still and acknowledge the presence and power of God. The rest of my day may not have the luxury of space and time. However, in these dark pre-dawn hours, I have the space and time I need to simply be in the presence of God. I may not speak every concern on my heart; I may not have words for what I carry in my heart. Those burdens shared with God in those quiet moments, even the ones I can’t yet speak aloud, are known to God. Even in the silence when I can’t name the burden, God receives it for God already knows it and has redeemed whatever the circumstance is.
I have to remind myself of these things every day in the dark hours of the morning. Without these moments with God, the stillness the Psalmist invites can’t be found for me. Your experience may not be like mine but finding time and space to be still before God is needful for all of us. Find time to be still with God, to offer your heart, and to receive the love which so freely flows from God. God did not create us for the chaotic but for a trusting, loving relationship with each other and with God. May you find time on your journey to be still and know that God is God.