All Quiet on the Eastern Front
I’m still in Westfield, NJ tonight and I am exhausted. Bone tired, my grandmother used to say. A long day at an off-site meeting working with I team I really enjoy. It’s getting late, and be to be perfectly honest, I just need some quiet time.
Now this is really unusual for me. I tend to like being in the middle of the action: busy traveling, speaking into the lives of people, offering suggestions, receiving updates from clients around the country, teaching teams, selling stuff and preaching from the pulpit whenever I get the chance. And I like to teach Bible study, but that does not start up again until the beginning of May. So here I am, alone, and all I hear is the sound of the wall unit supplying heat to my room and the fan in the bathroom. I don’t even have the TV on.
My favorite coffee shop in town, Rockn’ Joe’s, is right around the corner – I almost never miss going there to hear 60’s rock ‘n roll playing through the speakers while I have my evening coffee. But tonight, I just finished brewing one of those hotel decaf (yuck!) packets in the one cup coffee maker, because it’s too much trouble to walk across the street. I even find the sound of the ceiling fan in the bathroom annoying. So hold on, I am going to turn it off….
That’s better – peace and quiet. Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not angry at anything or anybody, although I am sure that it could come across that way – I am just tired, and yet, for some strange reason, I don’t think I could fall asleep yet. It’s like I recognize the need for something that I am missing – even longing for. And I have been around long enough to know that feeling – I am waiting for Christ. Oh, he’s here already – has been all night. But I really want to feel his presence – undistracted by the things around me. I just want to feel his grace and love wash over me like a cool refreshing stream of water. The only verse I can think of is Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God”.
Did you ever feel that way? The cares and troubles of the world just fade away into the background and, suddenly, you are alone with God. No huge preparation, no hours of searching the Scripture for just the right passage, just a rare surprise when God shows up in a big way. A true, divine, gift.
I spoke with my friend Paul earlier this evening and shared with him my sense of divine peace. For those of you who don’t know Paul, he is a very dear friend of mine; a pastor who went through every class in seminary with me. He is a kind, humble, compassionate follower of Christ who truly exemplifies what it means to lead a God-centered life. The day I stood for my oral defense at the conclusion of my doctoral studies, Paul showed up with a bouquet of flowers for Janet, and sat with her for more than three hours while I was being questioned by a panel of distinguished scholars who were deciding whether I would successfully complete the program. Paul is a true servant of the Lord.
Paul reminded me of Christ’s invitation to each of us as Christ followers. In Mark, we are told that the disciples had been busy; going through the countryside and performing miracles. They had been so busy that they did not have time to eat, yet they returned to Christ and told Him of all the things they had been doing. In Mark 6:31, Christ said, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.”
Notice that Christ did not say, “Go and rest”, but rather, he issued an invitation to the disciples and to us; to COME and rest. An invitation to accept his offer of undisturbed time with Him. And that is just what I needed – time to be restored by the Savior Himself. Perhaps you long for that as well. So my prayer today is that you may experience the love and grace of Christ in some unusual way. That God sends you a surprise – special quiet time with Him – even if for only a brief moment. But don’t miss it – expect it; because God honors our prayers that are in His will.
Well, time to go now. And it has been great writing to you during my quiet time with God. Have a great day with the Lord.