The perfect morning is sitting out on my deck with the sun beaming down, the Word opened, and the aroma of fresh coffee steaming up from my cup. Rather than feeling the heat of the sun though, I feel the coolness of a gentle breeze. My eyes are closed and I breath in deeply. There’s a song in heart, and I can sense God is all around me. This is perfection. This is peace in the midst of chaos, known as life.
I began to recognize how to sense God’s presence when I went on my first mission trip in June of 2005. We had just arrived in Salvador, Brazil, and that evening we went to Plataforma Baptist Church. As we were worshiping and singing praises, in a language I didn’t know or understand, I felt a movement in the air around me, a simple breeze, and I had no clue, nor do I now, if anyone else sensed the gentle brushing, but I knew in my spirit it was the presence of the Lord. Even today, ten years later, and numerous times since when I find myself in a true heart of worship, when I am in the quiet place and stillness surrounds me, I feel the gentle brushing of the air around me.
In the years since, as I have grown in my relationship with the Lord I’ve come to recognize that my communing with Him is a conscious choice. When I focus my heart and my mind on Him, He never fails to meet me there. Whether I am in a crowded sanctuary or on my deck. He is always there. He is always near, ready for me to seek Him.
No matter how long it’s been: several days, a week, or just a few hours, since I found solitude with Him; He’s there. The Lord never fails to meet me. He desires to meet with me, but it’s conditional on whether not I’m willing with meet with Him. Am I willing to stop. I am willing to leave the toys scattered about the house, the dirty dishes in the sink, and the clean dishes in the dishwasher waiting to put away, in order to be with Him. I have to choose, which is more important to me. Today I was faced with this decision, and I chose to go out onto deck and meet with Him. However, I far too often choose the latter, as I think I’ll just get this picked up and then I’ll take the time to be with Him, but before I know it nap time is over with and I’ve yet to stop.
It never fails though, when I do put Him first, when I stop or when I get up early in the morning, my baby girl seems to sleep just a little longer. Anyone can reason this away to coincidence, but I believe God honors our desires to be put Him first, to seek Him with all of hearts. He deals with us. He changes our hearts. He moves in powerful and awe inspiring ways. When we get alone with Him and seek Him in the solitude, in the stillness.
In 1 Kings 19, the prophet Elijah was fleeing for his life. During this period of time the people of Israel had turned from the ways of the Lord. All of the other prophets of Israel had been killed, and now Jezebel sought to kill Elijah in order to avenge the death of the prophets of Baal. In verse 9, we find that he had been traveling for 40 days when came to take shelter in a cave.
“Then the Lord spoke his word to Elijah. He asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He answered, “Lord God of Armies, I have eagerly served you. The Israelites have abandoned your promises, torn down your altars, and executed your prophets. I’m the only one left, and they’re trying to take my life.” God said, “Go out and stand in front of the Lord on the mountain.” As the Lord was passing by, a fierce wind tore mountains and shattered rocks ahead of the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire. But the Lord wasn’t in the fire. And after the fire there was a quiet, whispering voice. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his coat, went out, and stood at the entrance of the cave.” 1 Kings 19:9-13 (GW)
God didn’t come to Elijah in the power of the wind, an earthquake, or fire, but in the stillness of a whisper. I get chills thinking about the awesome power of God and how He chooses to display His glory. It’s easy to get our attention with force of a fierce wind storm, the violent shaking of the ground beneath our feet, and mighty blaze of a fire, but in order to hear a whisper we must be still, it must be quiet.
In scripture we often see Jesus seeking time away from the crowds, away from the disciple. He didn’t seek this time because He was introvert or because He found large groups annoying. He sought time alone with the Father. He purposely carved out time to be alone with the Father. Jesus modeled the perfect relationship. We as his disciples are to seek solitude, time alone with Him, away from the hustle and bustle of life. Nevertheless, God is always with us. In the quietness of a room away from the noise or in the quietness of our heart and soul.
One of my favorite songs is “On My Knees” by Jaci Velasquez. The second verse paints the perfect picture, it says:
“I can be in a crowd, or by myself in almost anywhere
When I feel there’s a need to talk with God, He is Emmanuel
When I close my eyes, no darkness there, there’s only light
I get on my knees, I get on my knees There I am before the love that changes me See I don’t know how, but there’s power In the blue skies, in the midnight, when I’m on my knees”
When I am on my knees, figuratively or literally, before the Lord He meets with me because He loves me, because He desires for me know Him.
The older I’ve become, and the new seasons I encounter, now as a wife and mother, I become more aware of how my relationship with the Lord is to mirror my relationship with my husband and my daughter. As a wife, I desire and crave those moments alone with my husband when I can give him all of my attention and visa versa. In these moments we have the opportunity to talk about important things, what’s on our hearts and minds, but it’s also when we are able to talk about nothingness and laugh, simply being best friends. It’s intimacy of the heart, not just physical, and God desires and craves the same with us as His followers. As a mother, I love nothing more than when my baby girl is snuggled up in my lap, just before she falls asleep, with her blanket in hand, pressed tightly between her face and my chest, and she looks up at with this sweet face. It melts my heart and makes those fussy, whiny moments from earlier dissipate. I treasure these moments. I long for these moments, and in these moments I am overwhelmed with love for her, love unimaginable. This unimaginable, indescribable love that I have for her is minute in comparison to how God loves me. To be honest I can’t even begin to comprehend this type of love, because the love I have for my daughter is a love I never knew I had within me until she entered my life. This is exactly how it is with God’s love. When God’s love enters our lives. When we open our hearts and allow His love to enter in, it’s overwhelming. Our lives take on new meaning. Things that once mattered, only pale in comparison. Even on my worst days, when I truly and utterly fail, His love for me never dies. When I lose my temper because my patience has worn thin. When I say the wrong thing or I choose to be selfish rather than selfless. He still love me.
I can’t help, but reminded of the psalmist words in Psalm 40:1-5 (GW),
“I waited patiently for the Lord.
He turned to me and heard my cry for help.
He pulled me out of a horrible pit,
out of the mud and clay.
He set my feet on a rock
and made my steps secure.
He placed a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see this and worship.
They will trust the Lord.
Blessed is the person
who places his confidence in the Lord
and does not rely on arrogant people
or those who follow lies.
You have done many miraculous things, O Lord my God.
You have made many wonderful plans for us.
No one compares to you!
I will tell others about your miracles,
which are more than I can count.”
This morning in the perfectness of the quiet moment, in the brushing and movement of the air, the song God brought to my heart was the chorus from Chris Tomlin’s “At the Cross”, which says:
“At the cross, At the cross
I surrender my life.
I’m in awe of You, I’m in awe of You
Where Your love ran red, and my sin washed white.
I owe all to You, I owe all to You Jesus.”
I had just finished reading Psalm 139. In this scripture the psalmist remarks that no matter where he goes the Lord will always be there. In verses 8-12, he explains if he were go up to heaven or down to hell, there the presence of the Lord would be. Whether he sought shelter in the darkness there would still be light because “even the darkness is not too dark for you. Night is as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.” (verse 12) Then the verses, which we are all familiar with 13-14, “ You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.” (GW)
Back to the chorus, my heart goes, “I’m in awe of you! Jesus, I’m in awe of you!”. How could He love me? How could be concerned with me? I’m just another woman in eastern KY. I’m just a stay home mom of a 13 month old. I’m nothing special. But the truth is…I’m more than just a woman in eastern KY, who is a stay at home. I’m more. I’m special to Him because He created me, because ordained this very day, this very moment to meet with me and speak to my heart. The heart that He gave me when I surrendered my life to Him and for that “I owe it all to You, Jesus! I owe all to You!”