Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Finding God in surprising places
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Matthew 11:28-30 The Message
I just returned from a weekend away for personal retreat. There were several others that went, but most of our time was spent in silence, prayer and reflection. It was much needed for me. I can resonate with the passage in Matthew 11. There seem to be a lot of heavy things going on in the lives of those around me. Sometimes I can tend to focus all of my spiritual life on the needs of others as I pray, read the Bible, etc… I need these occasional re-focusing times with just God and I. As I was taking a nature hike and listening to the Spirit several things were spoken to my soul. As I was walking on a lonely desolate country road all the colors were brown and I wasn’t sure what the Lord wanted to say to me, so I asked him to show me. As I was looking at all the withered sunflowers I spotted a tiny one peeking through all the debris and quickly picked it and kept on walking. I began to think upon this lonely flower and could identify with it. I can feel like that sunflower, just surviving among all the dried up flowers. As I walked and prayed a patch of color caught my eye on the left side of the road. It was a vibrant green vine with dozens of yellow and green gourds attached. It gave me such hope. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15). That is the message of hope the Spirit was speaking. Joy, remain in me. You are not alone The irony to me is that normally I would see a gourd I wouldn’t think of it as something beautiful, but in this context it was the most beautiful thing to me and lead me to a deepen trust of God and adoration of him. May each of you find times where you can listen to the message God wants to speak to your heart.