Monday, July 13, 2009


I have been reading passages about Jesus calming the storm while he was in the boat with the disciples and his parables about the kingdom of God. Jesus' way of doing things and his view of events and spiritual matters was radically different. The disciples were bewildered, perplexed, confused, awed, even frightened, as they listened to Him and watched Him do His work. His perspective was strange to them. Often, they had to ask Him what it all meant. But His perspective was true. He always spoke the truth, lived the truth, and modeled the truth.

I find it fascinating that the disciples, who clearly admired and loved him, who had given up all to follow him and learn from him, couldn't understand him. Most of all, it was his perspective on things that baffled them. They had never considered looking at life that way.

We have the advantage of reading the stories about Jesus hundreds of years later. Theologians and pastors help us interpret what they mean. The events of his life seem inevitable and understandable to us. We think, Of course Jesus was going to help that man. That's because He's Jesus! How blind could those people be? Don't they get it? We shake our head at the stubborness of those who resisted Him and argued with Him.

If we had been there, on the spot, it would not have seemed so clear. And we are not that different now. When God moves in certain ways in our lives, we are bewildered. I don't understand what you are doing here, God. Why did you let that happen? We are perplexed about what we should do, what choice we should make. We pray for guidance. We pray for peace about our situation. We are much like the disciples in the boat when storms arrive. Lord, don't you see what's happening here? Save us!

Even after years of being a Christian and reading my Bible, truth can be like this for me -- as strange and perplexing, as bewildering and exhilarating and frightening as the life I lead. I am frequently trying to find the way of truth through the events of my life. It isn't easy. I usually discover that God's perspective is entirely different from mine. I am like the disciples. What do you mean, Lord? How can that be right? I don't understand.

The greatest thing that happens when I spend time alone in my private world and in conversation with the Lord is that my perspective changes. It's not the problems I solve or the peace I discover or the beauty that fills my soul, although I treasure every gift that comes to me there. It's that I am, gradually over time, learning to see what is happening around me with new eyes. This miracle of new sight, invisible to others, comes to me simply by being in the quiet and in the presence of the Lord, and having many little conversations. It's my contact with the quiet and with the One who is truth that helps me understand myself and my life. I am changed because I have spent time there, alone with Him. It will change how I view everything and how I respond to it. Because of this, I will live a life that otherwise would not have been possible.

After years of seeing this principle work itself out in my life, I know that I don't have to gain immediate answers or signs from being alone with God. Just being there, and responding to whatever I find, will accomplish what is needed. It will change me. It will give me new sight. And usually the things I carry back with me into my little life will not be the things I expected. God often surprises me. This past week, I have been spending time in this way. I am weary and unable to concentrate well. I do not say much. I do not have any impressions that help me solve my problems. It's very quiet, very still. But I am not concerned that nothing is happening. I know that something is. I just can't see it yet. I know that, as the days go by, I will regain my ability to concentrate in the quiet and I will find rich treasures in that place. For now, I am simply going there and being there.

My advice to you, as you try to spend time in solitude and quiet with the Lord, is to be patient. Over time, you will be changed, and it will be good. Do what you can now, and your soul will be enlarged to take on greater things and to experience deeper connections. For now, choose to be alone every day for a few minutes and to reflect, with Him by your side. You will be glad you did.

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