Our Wonder Room

Adventures in Finding God

Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled

“He who listens to truth is not less than he who utters truth.”
– Kahlil Gibran, poet and artist

Upon reading this I wanted more. My immediate thought was of John 14:6 – “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” I want that. I want to be with God. With Jesus. Who among us who call on his name doesn’t want for that daily or even hourly?

Like a good little student I reread verse 6 and see Jesus is answering a question. Aha. Context.

John 14:1-5 (NIV)

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

While I could spend hours on these verses, I think the reality this morning is God used a round-about way to get me to the first words of John 14:1 – “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

No matter our circumstance let us not be distressed. Though we fight against illnesses, emotions, and incredible evils let us not forget this place is not our home. We were not created in order for the evil to triumph over us. We were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), for the glory of God (Isaiah 43:7) and that we would commune with God (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Jesus has prepared a place for us. Let us rejoice in that good news…always.

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Eyes Wide Open

“Faith is a way of waiting—never quite knowing, never quite hearing or seeing, because in the darkness we are all but a little lost. There is doubt hard on the heels of every belief, fear hard on the heels of every hope, and many holy things lie in ruins because the world has ruined them and we have ruined them. But faith waits even so, delivered at least from that final despair which gives up waiting altogether because it sees nothing left worth waiting for.”
– Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark

NOTE: I wrote what follows BEFORE I came across this quote this morning. God’s timing is…God’s timing. Think I found my next book to read.

I awoke this morning at 3:00am. The why one wakes up in the middle of the night (or the middle of the morning) isn’t always important. Sometimes it’s what one does AFTER the wakeup call that carries weight and substance.

So, I looked out the window. I mean, how often am I up and 3:00am? I wanted to see what was happening out in the world. And what I saw were stars sprinkled in the darkness. And oddly, strangely and almost immediately, I felt free. I didn’t reach to turn on a light, but soaked in and contemplated the darkness. It was weird to think about the darkness as this thing that frees one. It seems wrong to write about the darkness as freedom for one who calls himself a child of God. God of light. And, yet, in the darkness this morning, alone with just the stars, I felt freedom.

In the darkness there are no boundaries, only possibilities. No visual boundaries telling me where to stop, or directing my movement. Aside from the stars there are no signs or queues telling me what do to (assuming the dark is accompanied by silence). All things are possible. Hope springs eternal. So, in the darkness of this morning I just…was. And it was sort of cool. The nothingness. Until I began to fill in the blanks.

It’s like my mind doesn’t like the nothingness. The not knowing. The infinite possibilities. Probably why the concept of meditating seems foreign to me. Slowly my darkness began to be filled with ideas. And as soon as I did that the stars began to fade. Freedom, faded. Ug. In my mind those two things seem to fight a battle where neither wins. My freedom, my darkness began to be replaced by possibilities and options whose boundaries are defined by what I know. Definitions began to take shape where there once was undefined possibility. With my eyes wide open I felt loss. I know, weird. Not sure words capture it right.

Now, as I look out the window, I can see the sky growing slowly brighter. The stars no longer shine as they did hours ago. Somewhere out there the moon is still visible, I am sure. But my mind has shifted from what could be to what needs to be. The darkness has been replaced by my list of things to do.

Today, with my eyes wide open now, may I boldly seek out God and observe His glory. The Light of the World.

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Rivers Know This

flowing-river-2“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
– A.A. Milne

And so will the children of God. And on that day, when we get there, what a glorious arriving it shall be. As Milne brings to mind though, there is no hurry here. God has things for each of us to do, to see, to be. We need first and foremost to be His reflection onto this world, bringing light where there is darkness, warmth where there is cold, a smile where there is only a frown.

One other thing about rivers came to my mind. They can tend to meander, at times going where their surroundings “tell” them to go. While at other times they make their way through seemingly solid rock, over time wearing away objects that stood in their way. Rivers are also great messengers and delivers and deliverers, taking objects from one place to another.

Okay, never really thought to compare my journey to a river, but thanks A.A. Milne for a wonderful start to the day.

Ah, and for probably my best all-time Milne scenes via Winnie the Pooh –

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

I re-read that this morning and I have a vision of me and the Holy Spirit. But in my vision I can’t tell whether I’m Pooh or Piglet. I like the vision either way.

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The Grace of God

“The Will of God will never take you to where the Grace of God will not protect you.”
-Unknown

Truth be told, not sure why this quote caught my attention this morning as one that would get me back to writing a devotion. But it did. Maybe because in the big scheme of things there is in me, as there is in probably most people, the tension between serving God and the need for security. As well as the tension between God’s will and my own ability to discern what is my will and what is His.

The bottom line is our lives are full of uncertainties, full of questions and doubts. Our lives are also full of grace, and love, and strength. With peace, and confidence. And curiosity. A curiosity which at times will embolden us to step through a door we believe God is leading us.

I am reminded of the quote often associated with the martyr John Bradford –
“There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

And also Psalm 124
A song of ascents. Of David.

If the Lord had not been on our side—
let Israel say—
if the Lord had not been on our side
when people attacked us,
they would have swallowed us alive
when their anger flared against us;
the flood would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us,
the raging waters
would have swept us away.
Praise be to the Lord,
who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
from the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

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