Slow me down, Lord

rainIn March, 2014, when the oncologist told Bev and I about the severity of her cancer and it settled into my mind that without a miracle, she would be going home in the not too distant future, I felt something like a closed fist punch.  The next 20 months (she died 12/29/15) brought us a love so deep as to be indescribable. Nothing in our 40 years of marriage had come close to the kind of intimacy we found together in the pain and uncertainty that come with chemo treatments, hospital stays, and the unspoken realization that death was coming closer each day.

Am I just romanticizing an awful experience? Not at all. It was the worst of times, too. We prayed desperate prayers and cried until our heads ached. My faith was battered and deepened such that no words can tell.

Gordon MacDonald calls these kind of experiences – ‘disruptive moments.’  They allow the Lord to reclaim our attention by creating new ways for us to experience His purposes fully.  MacDonald uses our road system as a parable! We can travel from Point A to B most efficiently on the Interstate highways. Driving at 70 miles per hour, we do not encounter stop lights. The curves are long and sweeping, the grades flattened.  All that ‘fast’ bypasses the towns of America. If you really want to see these United States, you must travel on secondary roads.  He writes “They wind through small towns and villages … you see things on them, even though it takes more time and caution to travel them.  Secondary roads do not promise unhindered passage. Sometimes they are poorly maintained.  … Each town has one police officer with a radar unit designed to raise revenue. … Be prepared for the inevitable slow-moving vehicle that keeps you crawling along for miles in no-passing zones. … There are many potential disruptions along the way.”  (The Life God Blesses)  But, you can eat in local establishments, hear the accents of the residents, strike up conversations with farmers as you get to know the people who live in those towns.

My love of efficiency in reaching goals kept me from knowing people and places to their fullest. Who can know what opportunities that might have emerged in a slow conversation over a cup of coffee?  I found out, the hard way that slow is not bad. God, in His infinite wisdom, detoured me onto a secondary road where I discovered love like I had never known.  After Bev died, my inclination was to get back onto the Interstate, so to speak.

“Oh God, help me to live a richer, fuller life,
more accessible to others and loving better
than I have in the past, I pray. Slow me down, Lord.”

The Psalm observes this, to which I say, Amen- “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” (Psalm 1:1-3, NLT)

  • Are you open to the Lord’s ‘disruptive moments?’
  • Can you allow for the fact that your recent job loss may be His call to a new way of life along lesser traveled paths of deeper intimacy with Him?
  • Could it be that what you have resisted so ferociously is actually His persistent urging to a life more centered on His Way?
  • That painful situation you have resented so bitterly could be an invitation to knowing and loving Him in ways beyond your imagination.

Here’s the word from the Word.  It was written by Paul who experienced disruption and pain. When he cried for release, the Spirit showed him that God had something better planned.

“To keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
(2 Corinthians 12:7-9, NLT)

____________________

Blessings

We pray for blessings,
We pray for peace, comfort for family,
Protection while we sleep.
We pray for healing, for prosperity,
We pray for Your mighty hand
To ease our suffering.
And all the while You hear each spoken need,
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things.

 ‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights,
Are what it takes to know You’re near?
And what if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

 We pray for wisdom,
Your voice to hear.
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near.
We doubt Your goodness,
We doubt Your love,
As if ev’ry promise from Your Word is not enough.
And all the while You hear each desp’rate plea,
And long that we’d have faith to believe.

 When friends betray us,
When darkness seems to win.
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not this is not our home.
It’s not our home. 

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights,
Are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if my greatest disappointments,
Or the aching of this life,
Is a revealing of a greater thirst,
This world can’t satisfy?
And what if trials of this life,
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights,
Are Your mercies in disguise?

Laura Story © 2011 Laura Stories (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)New Spring (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)

CCLI License # 810055

 

 

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