This is a great read - surprising in its approach to the nature of pilgrimage, it challenges and delights in equal measure. A thought provoking approach to the topic it offers both practical ideas and inspirational reflection - a great read. I was sent this by Book Sneeze to review - but the content is my own thoughts offered without influence.
A time to cry and a time to dance.
I have a cupboard under my stairs that is full of all kinds of things: boxes, bags and odd shoes - anything that I don't really know what to do with will usually find its way into the cupboard under the stairs, particularly if I have people coming around. As you can imagine it's a mess!
At the back of my cupboard is a big box full of photographs. It contains memories of several years, places I visited, things I saw, memories that I was part of. Photographs that under normal circumstances would be in albums or in frames on display for all to see, inviting people who visit me to share in these precious memories.
But they're not.
Jeremiah 23: 23-24 says "'Am I only a God nearby' declares the LORD, 'and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?' declares the LORD. 'Do not I fill heaven and earth?' declares the LORD".
God is close to us all the time. We can't hide from him and he doesn't hide from us. There's no cupboard under the stairs that we can hide from him in, because he is everywhere.
Because he's everywhere, he sees and knows everything and still loves us. He sees all the junk in my life that I'd prefer to hide; all the things I am ashamed of, all the things I don't know what to do with, are all seen by him. All the things in my life that I'd like to hide away in a cupboard under the stairs are as visible to him as if I had left them out in the middle of the room and yet he promises me that he still loves me and not only that, he wants to go through each bag and box of stuff that causes me stress and put it in order.
He sees the things in my life that are like that box of photographs too. Those photographs that aren't on display because they are the times in my life that are too painful to display, so I keep them hidden away. He sees the pictures and he knows the pain, and he promises me this:
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit." Psalm 147: 3-5
God knows every tear that accompanies those photos and offers healing for every painful moment.
Every time I open the door to my cupboard under the stairs & see that box, I promise myself that one day I will sort those photos out. One evening with a trusted friend I will go through them all and work out which ones to keep and which ones to throw away.
God offers us the opportunity to work though our memories too. Talking about some, laughing about many, crying because of others. Moment by moment he wants to flood our lives with his presence, healing and bring new and exciting hope for the future.
Over the years I have often asked God to show me more of himself in my daily life - I've wanted to see him more, feel him more and somehow know him more in my every day existence - in the ordinary, humdrum day to day routine.
But lately that prayer has changed. There are so many times in the bible where God is present in the mundane and ordinary that I've started to pray less 'God show yourself', and more 'God give me eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to understand'.
Following God isn't like a mystery treasure hunt or game of hide and seek where God hides himself away, and I have to 'look really really hard' to find him. Why would God hide from me? Actually how could he possibly hide, when every fibre of creation sings of his glory......?
Even if God tried to hide himself, creation, the people in my world and my very being would sing of him every day...... If I am willing to listen.
Because sometimes it almost seems too much to take in.... When I incline myself to see, hear and experience God in the every day it can be like a freight train coming at me. Catching even a tiny glimpse of his heart for me, my world and the people in it can be so breathtaking that it is almost too much to bear - it challenges me at every corner as God speaks, explains and holds me in his amazing the depth and beauty. A glimpse of the heart of God is not without it's challenges, but I wouldn't have it any other way...........
May all our prayers today not be about 'hide and seek' - but all about 'seek and you WILL find'.