Oswald Chambers arrived in the mail yesterday like an old friend. I haven’t read him for years. Not since my children were small. We reconnected in January on the internet through ’30 days with Oswald Chambers’ that I found in an App. It whet my appetite for more so I rang the store and ordered a year’s worth of his words.
I’ve devoted my mornings to sentences for five years now. They have become my passion and my delight, my space between the absent mindedness of sleep and the hectic pace of the day. Through this habit I punctuate the morning. I pause. I stop.
Some people exercise in the morning, I write. I consider sentences. I linger on words. As I ponder playfully on the pages I “organize the world into manageable units that can then be inhabited and manipulated.” This is the beauty of language according to Stanley Fish.
Today in his writing, Oswald quotes Isaiah 26:3 from the RV MARG translation of the Bible. This is a version I have never seen.
(Note to self): Search dad’s shelves to see if one is there.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose imagination is stayed on Thee.”
In my memory the word is not imagination but mind. I ponder this and decide I like ‘imagination’ so much better. It’s more apt, more descriptive of how the process of being at peace actually works. It’s the part of our brain where images are kept, our artist mind.
Without developing my artist mind I do not know how we would have survived the past five years.
To imagine God was never to deny reality. I determined early on after the diagnosis to hold an image of God firmly in my mind. I determined to imagine him physically beside me every moment. All those long nights of terror I determined to find him.
“How can you have faith in a God you cannot see?” My students ask me. “I want to believe,” they tell me, “but I don’t know what to do with the doubts.”
I know…I know…I understand this more than they realise. So how can I transfer my knowledge of God in order for them to see what I see?
I tell them that His word promises that we will find Him if we seek Him (Jeremiah 29:13). “If you look for me wholeheartedly you will find me” (NIV).
Imagining God, taught me to live in the all things are possible realm, to experience that his ways are higher than my ways, his thoughts than my thoughts. Through imagining God I discovered a door that had previously been hidden, kept only for special occasions.
Are you like me? Does your natural inclination go to fear? Do you look at a situation and determine all the reasons it can’t be done? Do you start out wondering why bother at all?
Do you lean in to pray, hoping for the supernatural light to shine upon you yet no matter how you wait or how tight you squeeze your eyes, the situation remains the same….daunting, overwhelming, and too hard?
Oswald reminds me that God is very practical. “He tells us to do the most ordinary things – the things we would never have imagined God was in and when we do them we find He is there.”
“Arise and eat,” the angel said to Elijah. (1 Kings 19:5)
“Rise, let us be going.” Jesus said to His disciples. (Matthew 26:46)
“Arise, shine.” God said to Jerusalem. (Isaiah 60:1)
My devotion is a combination of pausing to consider words and possibilities, then rising to believe it can be done. It is both in the imagining and in the moving that I discover the way forward.
As I leave the cafe and head to work, I perceive that God is with me. I have discovered that practical living is spiritual. It is not all inspiration and angelic visitations though those things are helpful. The answers come when I ask questions. When I knock, I find the door is open. As I seek I continue to find and so it begins…another day.
What about you? How do you manage those crazy thoughts?