Do you ever just want a calm, uninterrupted atmosphere to envelope you? If only for a few minutes, what would it feel like to be wrapped in a peace-filled blanket away from all the busyness and distractions that keep your life entwined in hectic motion? What would it cost to be in communion with God without the noise of the world swirling around?
One morning last week, I decided to take a stroll. There’s a park close by with a walking trail so I took off with great anticipation of a few precious moments of solitude with God before I jumped into the activities of my day. Even the walk along our busy street did not deter my spirits for soon I would be amidst trees, birds singing and squirrels darting through the grass. Or so I had envisioned….As I reached the entrance from off the street, I noticed a man was walking toward me. Ok, so there is another person walking…no problem. As I got closer, I not only recognized a hand-held device but heard his voice loud and clear as he was in deep conversation, apparently doing most of the talking. Ugh! Our paths crossed, but he was so engrossed that he did not even see me. Ok, so he’s passed by and hopefully will not be making the circuit again…I took a deep breath trying to walk on in a relaxed mood, but then I recognized another sound…no, not lawn mowers! They sounded like they were over by the baseball field area so not a problem…just take another deep breath and enjoy the cool fresh air blowing in my face. But not even half-way around as the whine of the mowers grew louder, accentuated with each rough spot that was hit, I realized that not just one but two mowers were on the outside of the fields right next to the walking path. Not to be totally discouraged, I sauntered on trying to block out the looming noise pollution, not wanting to think about the dust circulating around my pathway ahead. Then lo and behold, as I rounded a curve, a man stood about 100 feet in front of me using a weed eater. He saw me coming and momentarily stopped his work to let me pass by. We acknowledged one another, and I journeyed on through the racket of mowers. With all those distractions, I did not walk the trail a second time. So much for the peacefulness I had hoped would engulf my spirit.
There are other mornings I struggle with finding that perfect setting for those quiet moments I so desperately need–even when there’s no one else in the house. Sometimes I am the one who distracts myself. I remember one morning a couple of months ago, as I was struggling to quiet my mind within my “self-orchestrated sanctuary,” I found myself yearning for God to speak to me. I needed to hear His voice distinctly and to connect on a deeper level. There were some issues I was struggling with, and I knew prayer was my best recourse. In trying to calm my thoughts, old worn-out tapes began running through my head overtaking the desires I longed for…
I must be in a reverent spirit…God will only speak to me if I am solemn…No, my heart needs to feel His presence before I am ready to listen…I have to tune out all the things on my to-do list for the day…Ugh! there’s a noise outside my window that starts Tosti on a barking rampage…Time is short…got to concentrate…concentrate now…
Then the questions came…What if I can’t say what I really want to say… how do I tell God I’m angry? Are you really listening, God…do you actually hear my words above the distraction of other voices? On and on my mind raced and frustration churned…
Very subtly in my deliberation, I began to detect a phrase in a song I have heard many times. It became louder in my thoughts as it seemed to be repeated over and over again until I said the words out loud, letting them drift into my soul. “Come, just as you are.” As those words further engulfed my spirit, I sensed that I was in the presence of the One who loved me JUST AS I AM. There was no need to perfect myself or to ask for special accommodations. “Just as you are,” was the message, for God is always ready and waiting for each one of us to commune with Him. For me that day, it was as if God had interrupted me and my agenda in His pursuit for a closer relationship. He had a different and better plan for me that day. Did I get all my questions, all my worries settled? No, but I had a renewed awareness of God’s unique presence; He knew the answers even if I did not and He offered me the GRACE I needed for that day. I also realized that He had interrupted me to show me a new direction through a pathway I had been avoiding. Regardless of the outcome and the unknowns, I could trust Him.
It seems God has always had a way of “interrupting” His creation or His human masterpieces unexpectedly, for He always has a better plan. I’m always touched by the Bethel Music’s rendition of “It Is Well” which proclaims, “The waves and wind still know His name.” Then how much more should we humans be able to recognize His voice. God parted the Red Sea for the Israelites to escape from Egypt. Jesus calmed the tumultuous sea from the storm that woke His disciples and put them in fear. God interrupted Moses, who was tending sheep, by speaking through a burning bush. Jesus called Zaccheus down out of a tree to stay at the tax collector’s house. Over and over again in scripture, we read about the miraculous events that interrupted lives that sent those involved in a different direction–not always welcomed, not always understood at the time, but on a pathway that was God-directed and purpose-filled.
This morning as I finish writing, there are men walking across the roof of our home. Constant scraping and intermittent pounding clamor above me as men tear off shingles. Outside my window there are thuds echoing off the driveways below as the roofers drop the old shingles over the edge of the roof lines in our group of town homes. It’s my reality for today; it’s the distraction I can’t change at the moment…but God says, “Come, just as you are.” So I am welcoming God into my world, knowing that He hears me loud and clear even in the midst of a noisy roofing project I cannot change. No, it’s not the quiet domain I hoped for, but I’m asking God to help me focus and listen well for His voice that can speak and give me the truth and the GRACE I need for the day ahead. He will do the same for each of His children, including YOU. Whatever you might be facing right now, whatever you might be needing, whatever you are seeking, He is waiting for you to come “Just as you are!” Who knows, He might even be waiting to interrupt you with a different agenda, for He wants the best for you.
When was the last time you were interrupted by the Almighty? Are you prepared to listen when that happens? Are you willing to allow God to give you the strength and added GRACE you need for your journey ahead? Get ready…God meets you where you are.
Just Kathy, learning a different perspective on interruptions.