I take 3 littlest ones outside to jump in the rain.
Big drops splatter our faces and feet as we laugh and hold hands. As always, I look for the rainbow. It isn’t there, but I see a hole in the clouds, a hand-span of blue amidst the gray.
“Wouldn’t it be odd…” I murmur as I watch the clouds move. Sure enough, they position themselves just so: a perfect heart.
“Look!” I tell the kids. “See the love God sent us?”
Even the three year old sees the obvious and I wonder why God is so good, so lavish, so recklessly ridiculous in His love?
Maybe it’s that we get what we look for.
And maybe we must learn how to see.
Surely there comes a time when we realize we are the ones to lead little ones in to possess the promises and we start seeking Him like never before and He can’t resist an invitation like that and He shows up. Even in clouds. Even in rain. Even in dirty mess our muddy feet will make going back inside.
Later, I drive in the rain, down country roads and onto city streets, merge onto the interstate and travel down Sam Cooper Highway. I take the long drive with Little Bit to see a speech therapist and we drive through housing projects and pass by 5 city police cars parked out front with their lights on and guns out.
We drive down the street that used to be famous but now is just lined with leaning telephone poles and an occasional user sticking his head out for fresh air.
That’s when I see it.
It’s the sign at Zion Temple. It reads not about free Zumba classes on Tuesdays…not about upcoming women’s bible study with so and so… not about VBS adventures starting soon… It simply reads, “Be still and know that I am God.”
And the inside of me stirs, that quiet place I’m learning to live from, the Spirit place. Maybe, just maybe, He still self-discloses, oh yes!
Like He revealed Himself to Abram as El Shaddai and to Hagar as El Roi and to Moses as Yahweh and to the disciples as Jesus, dare I be still enough, this moment, to know His self-disclosure for myself?
The life in me breathes deep and I feel the Spirit’s “Yes!” and I know He is so for me.
And I wonder at how I ever got to this place, this good, good land. Isn’t it by practicing just that? The Zion Temple’s declaration? The being still?
Being still is contrary to human nature, this I know. We’d just about do anything else, spiritual or carnal. We are trained to do other things, things that keep us spiritually busy…we are applauded for doing spiritual activity and having spiritual appearances. But things that keep us spiritually still? No, we don’t learn this from human teachers, this stillness of heart and quietness of soul, this gentleness not tied to our external surroundings or our efforts.
“Quit trying to make your own way.” The words come as I sit in the waiting room with Little Bit. Yes, that’s the essence of being still.
Like a bushman with a machete making his way through the jungle, I’ve fought to find the path of faith. I’ve expended myself to find stillness. Because my externals are not still and I can’t have long quiet times and monastery like conditions conducive to peaceful meditation.
I’ve found stillness is not performance. Not good “activity.” Not cultural, consumer Christianity. Rather, I’ve discovered the stillness where one encounters the self-disclosure of God in the recessess of your very own soul.
What I’ve discovered motivates me to pave the path wider and tread it again and again, making the path so familiar and worn it simply becomes the new way of life, the very blood in my veins.
Back at home, I run hand in hand with the girls. Dinner needs to be cooked. House needs picking up. Kids need baths. But I’m thinking of the heart in the sky and the stillness in my soul and the rain in our hair.
So we run to the sound of thunder.
P.S. Welcome to our new home! So glad you are here. May I plump your pillow? I’m a tad fidgety in this new place, it seems a bit fancy. Make yourself at home, have a look around and I’ll feel much better…