Seeing all economic systems simply as the shifting of limited resources from one person or group to another, I became jaded. All this shifting seemed to me to be taking from others to have more for yourself, your company, your family, and of whatever else you feel a part. This seemed like vanity, something empty and insubstantial. It weighed heavy on my self/soul/ego. There was no reason to continue at Ohio State, so I didn’t. I wanted something that lasted. I could not see myself dedicating my energy to that which does not last. That’s where Jesus comes in, and when I look back, He had already begun, whether I knew it or not.
I decided to work a bit before going back to school. I worked 40 hours a week developing software. I could work large chunks of time, 20 hours plus regularly. This left me with hours to walk with God and learn of His Spirit. I was able to walk for several hours day at a local parks. I went to several Bible studies, several prayer groups and church service each week. I just wanted to see what God was doing, I just wanted Jesus, He has infinite value and that will never change.
About that time I was involved in was an intercessory prayer group. It increased my confidence in God in a lasting, substantial manner. One of the things I clearly remember God impressing on me, one night was that I would not minister in one capacity for life. I was always to be a bard, from one role to another, ever excited by learning, ever bored by competence. One branch that had be left to grow was writing.
There is no limit, no exhausting the depth of God. John 17:3 is a great verse, maybe my favorite. Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. We can, to some small degree, know God. What we can not do is encompass God, to encircle God by understanding. We can not ingest all there is to God, and we never will. In eternity, God can cause us to understand the cumulative knowledge of humanity, and He can do it in a split second. Then we realize, He could pour that much into us every second, of every day, of every month, of every year, forever, and there would still be more to God.
God is always new, always beyond what we can begin to fathom. In contemplation we rest in God, purposefully putting our cares, our fleshly concerns aside to listen to God. The idea is to limit distractions that take our eyes off God. Further, God is seen as clothed in clouds. Often He is seen coming in the clouds, riding on the clouds, in the smoke of the tabernacle, or even in the transfiguration. We now have access directly to God as the veil of the temple was ripped. It is not easy to look away from the world and to look to the Lord. Job says, Clouds are a hiding place for Him, so that He cannot see; And He walks on the vault of heaven.’14 The presence of God can be overwhelming. Contemplation is not a self directed activity. In meditation we can think on the things of God, there is a kind of partnership with God. Contemplation is God breathed, God initiated, and God sustained. Ours is but to yield.
William James referred to genius as a branch on a neurological tree. We can have genius in contemplation. Like all branches of genius, it is the gift of God. God is the source and substance of the gift. As Jesus said of Mary, the sister of Lazarus, this will not be taken. There is nothing of our accomplishment in contemplation, it is the calling and blessing of God.
If you have accepted Jesus you will experience God in prayers. Most times in prayer we have a mild recognition of God’s presence. Then there are times you just feel as though God is leading you in what to pray and you are following, this is a bit more intense. But, there are times you will feel as a balloon, filled to bursting. This is because the body and mind are old and dry, like old wine skins. When we are filled with God’s Spirit, it can seem like old wine skin ready to burst at the cracks. We will not be able to continually look into the “the bright morning star” continually until,
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
If I do not abide in Christ, I am not empowered for ministry. The filling of God’s love drives us outward. We can not stay long in contemplation. When we are aware of the presence of God, it always causes us to fill with love and concern for others. People who do not see value in contemplation often provide stern warnings about spending all one’s time in contemplation. The time spent in contemplation is often less than 30 minutes, if that. Oh you can talk with God all the time, like Brother Lawrence encourages in Practicing the Presence of God, but that is praying without ceasing intertwined in life and not contemplation. Contemplation is putting the things of this world out of mind so you can sit and let God be sovereign, letting Him do what He desires. God empowers us so we can complete the ministry prepared for us and that we can glorify Him. Time in the tabernacle provides the strength which is needed to minister to those sitting chained to chairs watching the shadows on the wall. Jesus made solitary prayer a habit, “12 In those days, Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and He spent the night in prayer to God.“
God impressed on me many years ago that writing and teaching would be part of my earthly work. As I rework this, it is in writing and teaching that I find myself pouring out most of my energy. Whether my writing blogs satisfies my need to write, or it is a spring board to something unseen, I am and will be content.
I am confident that my writing, journal entries, meditations, and musings will satisfy my desire to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted,To proclaim liberty to captives, through writing.
12 … I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Above all, my call is to drink deeply from the river of the water of life, that my fruit my may ripen continually and that my leaves bring healing to the nations. God bless these desires and those who linger here. Pray for me as you pass.