More Fruitful than Feverish Activity

We are infatuated with ourselves.

Fearfully and wonderfully made, we are filled with power to shape the lives we lead, along with the world in which we live. Bearing the divine image, we are endowed with the potential for significant influence and impact. Indeed, we are weighty beings.

It is this “batting stance” that struggles to process a quote like the following:

“Coming before God in quietness and waiting upon Him in silence can accomplish more than days of feverish activity.”

wilderness2Tied into this realization, from A.W. Tozer, is a key strand of wilderness teaching. Ancient Israel was enrolled in a forty-year course toward grasping that their taking of the Promised Land would actually have nearly nothing to do with their ability to take Promised Land. This was to be deeply humbling and highly empowering at the same bizarre time!

So much of our lives are spent stressing over the challenges we must overcome or the standards we must meet. God wants His people clear that the works truly need undertaking within our surroundings and selves will require larger hands and finer craftsmanship. In these ventures, worshipful seeking holds more power than wild striving.

In a related theme, Barbara Brown Taylor describes the Sabbath rhythm as “a practice in death”. This is equally a theme of the Lenten season as well as a central strand to the Christian Gospel.

To be sure, God offers new life in His Son and fresh breath by His Spirit. It just requires a dead soul and a panting spirit to press us into a posture ready for such gifts.

That is why God loves the wilderness, because His people need it so.

 

 

 

For Those Who Crave Peace

Our view of peace is too small.

peaceWe crave a stillness, a calm where no ripples disrupt.  Something inside us says that this is the goal of life, to arrive at this state: Where nothing further needs doing, where no further climbing remains. Labourers dream of retirement, travelers long for arrival, tomorrow’s promise pulls us through today’s pressure.

In 1658, Miguel de Molinos published a piece entitled, “Spiritual Guide Which Disentangles the Soul”. This Spanish priest eloquently expressed a fundamental task awaiting any who desire God:

“You ought to know that your soul is the center, habitation, and the kingdom of God. That therefore, in order that the sovereign King may rest on the throne of your soul, you should take pains to keep it clean, quiet, void, and peaceable; clean from guilt and defects; quiet from fears; void of sinful affections, desires, and thoughts; and peaceable in temptations and tribulations.”

This advice is hardly rocket science.

Yet it is critically necessary in any pursuit after spiritual vitality.

However, Molinos was aware of the struggle involved in this pursuit, of the failure that we will all taste in the caring for our souls.  To every seeker of God, he goes on to offer these words of comfort:

“Do not be upset or discouraged if you feel fainthearted, for He will return to quiet you, that He may still stir your heart. This divine Lord will fill you and rest in your soul, forming a rich throne of peace. He does this by means of internal recollection and through His heavenly grace, so that within your own heart, you may look for silence in the tumult, solitude in the crowd, light in the darkness, forgetfulness in trials, strength in weakness, courage in fear, resistance in the midst of temptation, peace in war, and quiet in tribulation.”

It is wondrous to consider that God is eager to remain and to reign within our deepest dimensions, spaces which we so struggle to dedicate to Him. Yet He works to grant us some measure of peace. Why? So that He might stir us.

There is a wonderful paradox here.

In our lives, the One who stills one storm is often the same One who summons the succeeding tremors. The One who rescues us from the fire ignites within us a greater blaze than any other. The One who frees us from life-stealing, low-level loves goes on to call us to love Him with a consuming affection.

“For he will return to quiet you, that he may still stir your heart.”

Seek peace for your souls today, friends.  Pursue it in every god-honouring way you can think of.  But do so with an awareness that God will grant it to you with the attached intention of forcefully stirring your heart.

Apparently, our view of peace is too small.

So go ahead and seek it today.  But seek peace with an awareness that the God who grants it will undoubtedly still your soul so that He might stir it mightily!

YOUR TURN: How have you pursued a peaceful soul? Have you a story of how God provided the peace you desired? YOUR COMMENTS MAKE THIS POST BETTER.

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