Published: Monday, 17 December 2018 19:03
Written by Don Goulding
Go, my people! Enter your inner rooms! Close your doors behind you! Hide for a little while, until his angry judgment is over! Isaiah 26:20 (NETFull)
I watched a Nigerian weaverbird gather leaf strands from a palm tree. Over, under, over, under, the yellow marvel knit the strips into his nest. At the bottom of the six inch globe was a small entry. A hundred nests dangled like Christmas tree ornaments and kept birdie families snug against the storms and predators outside.
God tells his people to hide in their rooms from his wrath against the world. This is not an injunction to become a recluse from the lost. It’s a warning to keep our hearts protected for our true love.
Earthly life threatens to consume me, both its lures and its pain. Nature’s beauty, agonizing diseases, technology, relationships, politics, wars, births—there is so much to digest.
Jesus says, “Let me be your nest, your place of safety away from the mayhem swirling around you. Withdraw your heart into friendship with me while I deal with everything on the outside.”
I’m invited into a quiet yet passionate interior life with Jesus. By faith, I must let Jesus weave a hushed sanctuary, 360 degrees around me, against anything this life can dish out, good or bad. Each new event is an occasion to curl up next to Jesus, rest in his peace and grow in the fullness of love.
So much of what is said or goes on around me is never meant to come inside the nest. I must trust Jesus to whisper those few things I need in order to serve him and thrive. All the rest is marked to be destroyed by the wrath of God, so leave it outside.
Prayer: Jesus, hide my heart from the uproar of the world.
Published: Monday, 10 December 2018 20:29
Written by Don Goulding
… the mystery that has been kept hidden from ages and generations, but has now been revealed to his saints. God wanted to make known to them the glorious riches of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:26-27 (NETFull)
“Hey look at me,” my five-year-old sister shouted.
Our family was on vacation in Utah and we floated in the magical Great Salt Lake as though we had life jackets on. Our engineer father could explain how a salinity of eight times the ocean displaced objects, but we didn’t grasp all that. We were busy holding our heads, hands and feet above the surface and giggling.
The grace of Christ is another inexplicable mystery. It is the mystery of all mysteries. How can God accept me when I know, and I know he knows, the extent of the darkness in my heart? Theologians say it has to do with substitutional atonement wherein my sin is transferred to the crucified body of Christ, but I don’t grasp the full depth of all that. I do know that when I fall into his grace, it holds me up.
I don’t float often enough. I make a mental acknowledgement that Jesus died for me, then move on to proving my worth. My human nature wants to tread against rejection. But I’ll never cross the ocean of sin between me and God. My only hope is to relax and trust in the sufficiency of Jesus alone.
I need to spend more time reposing in my salvation. There are minutes I could carve out to enjoy the buoyancy of grace. I could quiet my heart and delight in how I bob above spiritual drowning. The discipline I most need to exert is to rest there. Jesus around me, in me, through me—this is the greatest mystery of all times. I can’t fully understand it. I can only accept it, wonder at it and float in it.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I rest in the mystery of your grace-filled love.
Published: Monday, 03 December 2018 20:06
Written by Don Goulding
… for we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NETFull)
A squirrel, full of curiosity, scampered across the beach to peek into a tide pool. A starfish had one leg out of the water and the squirrel sniffed the orange creature.
“Hello,” said the starfish.
The squirrel jumped back with a chirp. “Oh, you scared me … what are you? … my name is Stella … I’m a gray squirrel … where are your eyes and how do you know where you are going?”
Stella waited for what seemed like an eternity while the starfish inched forward.
“My name is Sammy. I’m a starfish. I use these tiny feelers on the ends of my legs.”
“Well, how do you find your food with no eyes?” Stella chattered. “I store nuts under the roots of the oldest birch tree. That’s the best place for hiding delicious nuts … because in winter I will need to find them again … one nut I found today is the biggest I’ve ever found in any day … I just love nuts.”
When Stella took a breath, Sammy replied, “I don’t have to see because God takes care of me. I just reach for him, and voilà, he puts meals in front of me.”
Confused, Stella scratched her head with a back paw. “Don’t you ever worry you’ll run out of food? I always worry. Worrying is what I do best.”
“No, I trust God because I know he’s close.”
Stella’s new friend had something she very much wanted—peace. For the first time in her life, she had nothing to say.
As the two unlikely friends shared a wordless moment, Stella thought how her life was filled with anxiety because she alone was responsible for stashing away for the future. She had never considered simply trusting God. She was the one with the immeasurable advantage of eyes, and yet, it was the starfish who was content.
On the spot, Stella made an important decision. She turned around, shut her eyes, and said, “Ok God, which way?”
Prayer: Loving Father, help me trust in your direction and not in my own understanding.