Twice a year I get away for a two-day personal pastoral retreat. I use the time for projects or planning, but always for prayer. The place I go to is wooded, with several hiking trails. These paths are ideal for reflection and prayer.
A few of the trails are well worn by me. I tend to be a creature of habit and so stick to those I like. This past retreat I decided to venture down a pathway I rarely take. It slopes down (which means a trek back up) and opens up to a small lake.
Rather than keeping on moving, as I usually do, I decided to sit and take it all in. As the Spirit brought things to mind, I lifted them up in prayer. I explored avenues of thought He led me down.
Before long I began to notice things. The shimmering of the water, light riding the little ripples pushed along by the breeze. A school of guppies on a field trip darted this way and that along the water’s edge. Like focusing on the windshield rather than the roadway, my eyes adjusted to notice the trees that lined the lake, inverted by reflection. This was God’s tapestry!
My observations spurred communication with my Father. Such a little lake, especially when compared to bigger ones. My thoughts zoomed out from that lake to the region and the country and the world and the cosmos that dwarfed it. So little! Yet God was there, in the fullness of His being, with me. Wow!
What came to mind was Jonah’s plant, so trifling in the larger scheme of things but so significant in other ways that required notice and thought. How many other expressions of God’s glory and goodness have I missed?
Psalm 46 declares that God is our refuge and strength. Though the foundations of the world give way, even those that seem most secure and enduring – mountains – our God remains. He is the Lord of hosts, the Creator, Sustainer God! He is the God of Jacob, the covenant making, covenant keeping God in relationship with His people!
Psalm 46 not only declares these things, it discloses how we savor them. “Be still and know that I am God.” There is the key – being still and knowing.
My grandfather had a name for me when I was little. Approaching 60 now, it escapes my memory. It had something to with being antsy, being in perpetual motion, having the attention span of a gnat.
I thought I had outgrown that, but my time at the lake showed me otherwise. I still have great difficulty in being still. I wonder how much I miss that my Heavenly Father wants me to know.