When was the last time you removed yourself from your own thoughts and stopped being subjective, in order to seek God and gain His objective? Have you ever just sat still to be fully present in your surroundings? Emptied your mind of all the chaotic thoughts that strive to take first place amongst the never-ending swarm of theories and ideologies? It takes practice, patience and perseverance to accomplish this feat. Meditating on God’s word, having alone time in His presence, prayer, and reading daily devotionals always begin with good intentions, then the next thing you know, you can’t even remember that last sentence you read, the prayer your said, or much less a cumulative paragraph. Thoughts invade, overpower and conquer. We fall prey, give in and surrender, then stand in wonder…and worry.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we worry? Why do we constantly try to convince ourselves that we are in control of anything? From worrying about what we will wear tomorrow at the office, to worrying every time the phone rings if it will be the doctor’s office with the long-awaited test results. Wallowing in anxieties about being accepted by another, to how the mortgage payment will be paid this month. Struggling with fear and doubt if someone is being true to you, to letting the concocted scenario manifest itself and playing fully out, then fretting on what your next step would be if it is true. Worry, doubt, fear, anxiety, apprehension….it all equals death. Death of the spirit, death of joy, death of hope, death of health, all lead to death of life. This goes against everything God wants and intends for us.
God’s word says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)
“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; ‘I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (Psalm 46:10-11)
We must bring ourselves to Him. Place ourselves at His feet. To be still and know that He is God. He will quiet our spirit. He will quiet our minds. He will fill us to overflowing with a peace that surpasses all understanding, reaching to the depths of our very souls. But first we have to give all control to Him. He will not force Himself upon us and take it away. It must be laid down, overturned and relinquished to Him. Even in the eye of the storm of our surroundings, or our circumstances, He is there, waiting for us to be fully present, right where we are. In the same way that olives must be crushed to make oil, He poured out His life as a love offering for all of us. He doesn’t ever want us to doubt that He is with us, and that He wants to take us to a place of comfort, peace, and victory. Even when we cannot see Him in our situation or circumstance, He is there, working on our behalf. He desires us to give to Him the crushing weight of our circumstances, and freely go to Him in prayer. When it is time to move in or from your surroundings or circumstance, He will walk with you through the valley and straight to the cross, where your trials will be transformed into triumph, and give you beauty for your ashes.
We must come to a place of acceptance in that we, as His children – believers of Jesus Christ, it is He that has control in our lives, and He that began a good work in us will see it to completion. Regardless of our past mistakes and sins, or our present circumstances, He is faithful and just. He forgives us of our sins when we seek Him and His face, ask for forgiveness, and allow the Holy Spirit to reside within us. God is love and there is no fear in His perfect love. There is no worry, doubt, troublesome thought or predicament that He cannot wipe away and replace with peace, joy and understanding. We must first be present. Present in the moment, present in His word, and present in His dwelling place.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young – a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they are ever praising You. Blessed are those whose strength is in You, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty; listen to me, God of Jacob. Look on our shield, O God; look with favor on Your anointed one. Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in You.” (Psalm 84)
You, O God, are my strength to strength. I yearn for the day wherein I see You face to face in Zion. I come into Your presence, Lord. Quiet my mind, my soul and my spirit so that I can be forever present, right where I am. May I not give way to distractions, but continually keep my focus on You. Being forever present in my surroundings, and to always shine Christ’s light to a dark world. Better is one day in Your courts, Lord, than a thousand elsewhere. May today, and every day, I meet You in Your courts, and be bathed by Your cleansing touch. In Christ’s ever present Name I pray. Amen.
July 24, 2012