Have you ever watched an artist creating a picture: the pencil sketches and mis-starts? The restraint as they perfect each section before starting the canvas? The mixing and layering of paint to get the exact shade of color? All we have to do is look at earthly creation to see the same labor of love from our Maker of All Things (Ecclesiastes 11:5).
Some of my favorite moments in creation are early morning, watching the woods awake as if on fire as the sun rises behind my house. I am equally in awe of incredibly tall and lean evergreen trees, strongly holding inches of wet white snow as they decorate and contrast majestic brown mountains. Our Master Artist similarly gives attention to detail to His littlest creation too – think of the tiny humming birds, who we often hear before we even see. What takes my breathe away is that every day is different. God isn’t stagnant, so nor is His creation.
Yet, how often do I miss creation’s beauty because I am moving too fast to notice?
As Good Word Project decided on the word discipline, the Holy Spirit prompted me to be more intentional about Going to God. Guess what I learned? That’s what Jesus did too!
To get renewed and invigorated, Jesus went to the Lord: “Very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary space, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him and when they found him, they exclaimed “Everyone is looking for you” Jesus replied, “let us go somewhere else, to the nearby villages – so I can preach there also, that is why I have come.” Mark 1:35-38
In times of pain: “Then Jesus said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:38-39
Especially in deep grief: “When Jesus heard what had happened (his cousin John the Baptist was beheaded), Jesus withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing this the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick” Matthew 14:13-15…And this verse continues on to the story of multiplying five loaves and two fish to feed over 5000 men, plus women and children. Highlighting to me, Jesus’ continual compassion and empathy!
What do you think Jesus talked about with his Dad?
Getting Guidance – “Dad, which fisher men should I befriend?” Luke 6:12-19 “Jesus went up to a mountainside to pray and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose the 12 of them, whom he also designated apostles.”
Sharing Life – “Dad, did you see those pigs jump off the cliff?” Mark 5:13 “Jesus gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.”
Asking for Help – “Dad, can’t you make this pain go away?” – John 12:27-30 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine.”
Learning to Trust – “Dad, I love you and trust you. Let’s do it your way” Luke 23:46 “Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.”
What have I learned from Jesus’ discipline of spending time with his Dad?
Jesus was disciplined to start his day with his Father, talking to him, getting wisdom from him and praying with him. It gave him fuel as he taught his closest friends to share compassion, healing touch and wisdom. It also kept him going when Jesus was ministering among the masses.
I love it when my husband or a close friend desire to spend one-on-one time with Me! Their invitation allows me to feel special, chosen, and loved. In these moments when we aren’t lumped together in a group gathering, we are able to have individual conversations. When we are purposeful not to wedge these times between activities, our time can expand, allowing us to hit on vulnerable topics or reminisce on silly past adventures.
Last summer I had rare time alone with my Dad. He and my mom live in a different state, so weekly life together isn’t possible. It was early June and my kids were out of school. We decided to drive to northern Michigan to help open up their lake house (it’s one of my favorite places, which we refer to as God’s Country – you can hear more about it https://goodwordproject.com/2018/06/21/captivated-by-the-light-of-life/). Dad and I spent an entire morning cleaning out garage rafters: he was sweeping, while I was climbing ladders and pulling down the accumulated boxes of Christmas decorations, golf accessories and family treasures – like my lavender banana seat bike! We were laughing with each box we opened (fortunately no dead critters were inside) and reminiscing about the relatives I grew up with but haven’t seen in many years.
It wasn’t glamorous, but in the mundane, we were sharing life and he was providing wisdom and guidance. It felt refreshing. My dad and I don’t have a “special time” of cleaning out the garage, which was a great reminder that these conversations can happen Any Time, Any Where… just like when we go to God. And I bet Our Big Daddy in Heaven feels the same chosen and singled-out love as I do when we spend time with him. I know he doesn’t show favoritism (James 2) – but he does like to bless and impress us! Just last week, after being out of town a few days, He gave me my fiery woods! How could I not stop in awe and gratitude?!!
Pray with me: “Heavenly Father I want more of your wisdom and guidance. I am sorry I don’t come to you with every item that burdens me, even though I know you want me to. Continue to have the Holy Spirit prompt me to seek and obey you. I want to build a strong foundation in you and build my faith house on your eternal rock!” Adapted from The Wise and Foolish Builders Matthew 7:24
(as published at Good Word Project January 2019)