Devotion Finds A Way
I don’t like losing things. Usually, I deal with it pretty well - unless of course, it is something that makes me late, such as car keys. Though I am unusually spiritual, weighted down with the fruit of the Spirit, I have been known to grow impatient on occasion when someone else moves my keys form where I placed them. How else could my wife always be the one to find them?! I don’t care if they were in the pocket of the coat I wore yesterday, I certainly didn’t leave them there.
Then there is the remote for the television - not that I ever watch it - I’m far too spiritual for that. How many places can there possibly be in one room to hide the thing? My kids are creative geniuses. There is no other explanation for such inventive concealment. We never did find one remote that disappeared!
Then there was the science project we lost. Well, it wasn’t really lost. Ceci’s dogs ate it! Yeah, I know, but this time they really did. It was a project testing cheeses, trying to determine which kind molded the most and the fastest. We were finished with the project; all the ugly and smelly cheeses were glued beautifully on the poster board, the explanations scripted nicely by each moldy slice. Three glorious weeks of watching cheese mold, and it was finally finished. The display was carefully leaned against the wall, and off we went to a Wednesday night church service.
When we walked into the house later that night, poster board was scattered everywhere. While we had been gone, the dogs had a party. I walked into the room and saw that my daughter Sarah was distraught and angry, my wife was distressed, the dogs were hiding, and my younger daughter Hannah was just trying to stay out of everyone’s way.
I tried to bring some calmness to the situation, “They didn’t mean anything by it,” I said. “They were just doing what came naturally to them.”
Not to be denied an opportunity to show I’m smarter than dogs, I tried again. A little humor is what we need, I thought. “I bet it was funny seeing the look on the dogs’ faces when they tasted that mold,” I said through a small chuckle. It always helps to see the humor in situations such as this. I told my daughter, “If you can laugh about it, you’ll feel better.”
She cried even harder, mumbling something. She then gave me a look that was similar to the one she was giving the dogs. Ceci gave me a look that was a cross between sarcasm and pity. While rolling her eyes she said, “Brilliant! Now we all feel better. We’ll just tell the teacher the dogs were hungry and ate the science project - I’m sure he will believe us.”
I went to the school the following morning, after having slept with the dogs, and explained to the principal what had happened. “Our dogs ate Sarah’s science project,” I said. You can imagine my relief when he laughed. “Finally,” I said, “someone else who sees the humor in it!”
Later that day I was looking for the remote. “The dogs ate it,” Sarah informed me with a sarcastic smile.
I don’t like losing things - glasses, keys, pens, phone. But I especially hate losing the anointing and keen awareness of God. I don’t like it when the fire goes out or the sensitivity to Holy Spirit wanes. I find it disconcerting when the cutting edge becomes the dull edge. What most of us discover is that this happens gradually, without us consciously realizing it. We who have within us the well of salvation, the river of life, sometimes fail to drink from it.
Seeking and loving God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength is often lost in the melee of doing life. Priorities sometimes need to be re-prioritized. We “court” many things in life: success, advancement, fame, other people, glory, money, favor, and a myriad of other goals we humans strive to reach. Gordon Dahl aptly said, “Most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play, and to play at their worship.”1
This is so true. We often forget to drink from the fountain filling our spirits. Growing thirsty, we take another drink. Sometimes I feel like the small child in the “Family Circus” cartoon who ran up to his mother exclaiming, “I need a hug, Mommy. I used up the last one.”2 God’s desire, however, is that we continuously drink from the fountain, live in His river, and abide in His wrap around presence.
In an interview for Today’s Christian Woman, writer and speaker Carol Kent says:
“One day when [my son] Jason was young, we were eating breakfast together. I had on an old pair of slacks and a fuzzy old sweater. He flashed his baby blues at me over his bowl of cereal and said, ‘Mommy, you look so pretty today.’
“I had not yet gotten ready for the day and didn’t even have makeup on. So I said, ‘Honey, why would you say I look pretty today? Normally I’m dressed up in heels and a dress.’
“And he said, ‘When you look like that, I know you’re going some place; but when you look like this, I know you’re all mine.’”3
I do much of my praying in the woods. I love to walk there for hours, communing with the Lord. I usually wear grubby jeans, old boots, t-shirts or sweatshirts - depending on the weather, hats and other worn-out, non-professional attire. When I go to the office, I change into my nicer clothes. I think God prefers me in my grungy uniform. When He sees me dressed that way, He knows I’m all His.
My experience in the woods is often like that described by A.W. Tozer. “There are occasions when for hours I lay prostrate before God without saying a word of prayer or a word of praise - I just gaze on Him and worship.”4 Sometimes no words are needed. We just enjoy one another’s company.
“Alvin Straight, age 73, lived in Laurens, Iowa. His estranged brother, Lyle, age 80, lived 240 miles away in Blue River, Wisconsin. According to the Associated Press, Alvin’s brother had suffered a stroke, and Alvin wanted to see him and make amends, He had a transportation problem, however. He didn’t have a driver’s license because his legs and eyesight were bad, and he apparently had an aversion to taking a plane, train, or bus.
“But Alvin didn’t let that stop him. In 1994 he hitched a trailer to his 1966 John Deere tractor lawn mower, climbed aboard, and drove it - 5 mph - all the way to Blue River, Wisconsin.
“Devotion finds a way.”5
Beginning Friday, May 7, we are going to spend time together, enjoying the pleasure of the Father’s company. We will drink from His fountain, drawing near to Him. In Israel’s history, Yahweh typically encouraged them to draw near to Him before He performed great redemptive acts. As preparation for the coming revival, He is saying the same to us.
Let’s do it! Let’s make the journey - and enjoy the pleasure of His company together.
Pray with me:
Father, as we enter into a time of drawing near to You, we ask You to draw near to us. And we are confident You will. Prepare us for the next season of Holy Spirit outpouring. Change our wine skins. Make them fresh and pliable. Help us to refocus and become undistracted by life and it’s challenges.
Where we have lost our cutting edge, please re-sharpen it. Where we have lost our hunger, please help us find it. Where we have lost our commitment, please help us find repentance. Our desire is to be rightly positioned with You so You can do the wondrous things You desire to do in our nation and the world.
In Christ’s name we ask this, amen.
Rowell, Quotes & Idea Starters for Preaching and Teaching, p 181.
Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, A Third Serving of Chicken Soup for the Coul (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 1996), p 99.
Craig Brian Larson. Contemporary Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers and Writers (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996), p 70.
Michael L. Brown, From Holy Laughter to Holy fire (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, Inc. 1996), p 186.
Adapted from: Larson, Contemporary Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers and Writers, p 47.