Monthly Archives: October 2012

Solitude

Solitude
A precious commodity
Time alone
Just God and I
Where do you find Him
In all the busyness
When the activities of the day demand your attention?
When you wake with the sand bag on your chest
That steals your breath
As you open your eyes and remember the fears that gripped you in the night
“I am here,” He calls to you
“Let’s escape together
Let’s carve out time
Before the day begins.”
And though your eyes are heavy
And the bed is warm
You rise.
He has things to show you.
Things you never notice when you rush.
Messages unfolding from every day glances.
If only you’d watch
Take notice
Consider
Along the path to the car
He reminds you
That His word is a hedge around your life
That He is your strong tower, your deliverer
As you start the car you notice
An unruly wisteria vine that reaches beyond the trellis
Latching onto the hedge
“Like your thoughts,” He teases
Sitting beside you in the passenger seat
So you leave Him briefly to redirect the vine.
You thread it through a hole you find on the trellis
And as you look up you are astounded by the way it has grown
And you remember the day of its planting, when you first brought her home.
The fragile, green stick
“A bruised reed I will not break.” He says as you start the car.
“My hope feels crushed today,” you say.
“A smouldering wick I will not snuff out.”
You sigh
You drive
With tears in your eyes
How long will this take you wonder
How long til the flame reignites?
Til the reed grows strong?
You arrive at the cafe
To settle with your coffee and your thoughts
Still He sits beside you like a child who wants you to open a gift.
So you search out the verse He’s been talking about.
Matthew 12:20-21
“..Until He has brought justice to victory”
“Well we’re not there yet.” You remind Him
But He has left while you were reading the words.
You look up
You hear all the sounds of the café
The clank of the grains being emptied
The release of the steam
The change that chimes in the glass
The morning greetings as the people rush past
And you remember that through it all
Through all the busyness
He has not stopped hearing your prayers.

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See

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There was a leak in my goggles when I swam. I couldn’t explain why. I positioned them carefully over my eyes and pressed them until I felt the suction grab my skin. I dove under. I felt the delightful stretch through my limbs and the cool water rush over me. This was my reward after a day of study. This was my solitude, my silence.

Half way up the lane I noticed the globulous frustration that had seeped in. It wobbled before me distracting me. I could not see. I thought about the possibilities of resolving this, annoyed that my plans had been interrupted. At the end of the pool I trod water and drained out the intruder. There was barely a drop but this small distraction had blocked my view for 50 metres. As I dangled awkwardly, adjusting the straps, pressing my goggles back in place, I wondered if it was fixed.

Half way down the lane, the distraction was back and I stopped again, making sure that my cap was not breaking the suction. Everything seemed fine and I resolved to deal with it, to swim blindly; to pretend I was Michael Phelps. Unlike Phelps the tape in my head wasn’t about winning, I did not visualise the strokes, or my name on the scoreboard or myself on centre block. I just wanted to breathe and as I continued, I forgot to be annoyed.

Somewhere in the rhythm of the strokes I eased my way to the indulgence of contemplation. I’d been puzzling with concepts in my head and come to the pool for answers. It was late in the day. I’ve discovered that in spring this is the only time you can hope to get a lane to yourself. By now the stream of light from the setting western sun was all I could perceive as I lifted my head from the water. I could not see the bottom of the pool or the ropes that separated the lanes. I decided that painting my nails a shocking shade of orange was a brilliant idea. Five little beacons a side guided me through the misty waters, lighting my way.

Then the pictures in my mind began to unfold and I was Samuel looking at the line-up of men. How would I choose? Amidst all the decisions that life presents, how can we ever really know? Then in that moment I sensed His presence.

I will show you what to do.”[i]

He is there, His voice, His whisper. His strength supports me as I glide through the pool. He never neglects to show up even when our vision is blurred and things don’t go as we planned. He’s training us to see. When the thing that seems obvious stands before us, we hear a voice that says,

Do not consider his appearance or his height….”[ii]

He doesn’t see the way we do. It’s not just one sense that enables our seeing. Sometimes he must hold His hands over our face like a friend playing guess who? It’s not the vision of Him that enables our seeing. It’s all our other senses combining with our intellect. Slowly we perceive Him and the message becomes clear.

It was long ago, it was late at night when all was dark and everything was silent that you first discerned His voice. It wasn’t obvious at first. You didn’t know it was Him who called your name. Slowly as you grew, as you aged, as you remained obedient, you discovered the wisdom of checking His will first before you had your say. Even now, after all His years of faithfulness, you are vulnerable.

“How can I go?”[iii]

“I will show you what to do?”

So there you stand, pondering decisions and while everything looks great, you perceive there’s something or someone else.

“Are these all the sons you have?”[iv]

You feel like a fool to ask the question when before you stand seven other amazing options. Why can’t you make your decision when what you see is so good?

Then the final option is placed before you.

“He is the one.”

As time passes all your doubts make sense. God has been teaching you to wait, to pause, to hesitate. The eighth man comes from the field, from tending the sheep. He is not a warrior. His training is unconventional. He is not the obvious choice to anyone but he is God’s anointed. He is but a shepherd, but he knows how to defend the sheep from the lion and the bear. He has nothing to prove, no friends to gloat to, no fancy armour. After the oil anoints him, he returns contently to the sheep.

In the quiet contentment of an ordinary life, His spirit cries in the deep bearing witness with your spirit.[v] You watch as the shepherd walks away but you know how the story ends and you place both feet firmly on the tiles beneath you, remove your goggles and your cap sinking down so the water refreshes your scalp and smooths your hair. You are thankful again for the season of spring and the things that God has shown you when your eyes were not able to see.


[i]  1 Samuel 16:3

[ii] 1 Samuel 16: 7

[iii] 1 Samuel 16:2

[iv] 1 Samuel 16:11

[v] Romans 8:16

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