Continuing on the theme of ‘loving God through prayer’ – see previous post.
I have a busy mind. Sometimes I wonder what I would be like, where I would be, if having a chronic illness had not forced me to live at a slower pace. I remember once being completely laid low, confined to bed one day in a dim room. All I could do was pray. In the end, I took my confusion and distress to God. In that time of focused praying I was flooded by a sense of the presence of God. It had been so long since I had sensed such peace and love that the prayer turned on its head and in the end I was thanking God for that very distress, even the very illness that brought me to that point.
Now that is a challenging thing to say and may be difficult to hear or accept, and I am not saying anything about any other circumstances – just my experience at that moment. There are many times when my fatigue makes me cross and I ask God why? But I can testify that it is least it is at least possible, in the land of the desert place, to be able to say “blessed be your name” and mean it. And the reason for this is the realisation that God is in this place, even though I am not always aware of it.
If I had not been forced to stop, I might not even have noticed God. It’s embarrassing to admit that it can take such extreme circumstances to drive me into God’s presence but sometimes the world is so busy, so full of distraction, and so full of the need to do, do, do that we can drift away from God without even being aware that we are doing that. And the more we drift, the easier it is to carry on drifting.
We look every which way, except at God; we box up our lives and attempt to box up God – how can we possibly do that? We sever ourselves from the life source, from the very One who gives us the strength to live our lives. We can be so focused on coping, on managing, on keeping afloat that we exist in a state of constant agitation. And what place is there then for prayer and worship?
We live in a world of noise, whether that’s outside of ourselves or inside our own heads.
We neglect to give worth to God, to acknowledge God’s worth in our lives. We get consumed with proving our own worth. We can depend on busyness for a sense of worth, so eager to prove ourselves to the world, even – perhaps more so – to our own families and friends. Have you ever felt compelled to explain why you are sitting down, or list everything you are doing this week to someone who says how are you? Ask yourself – what’s behind that?
On what am I placing my worth? Whose approval am I seeking here?