This morning I invited Jesus to join me on my daily walk through our local park. As I walked outside and down my driveway I knew He had shown up.
I could feel Him in the cool gentle breeze, in the sunshine, and in the songs of the birds. The tender green leaves were clapping their praises and the mountains were standing up straight in honor of the King of kings. He had met me, willing and anxious to walk and talk with me.
I began to join the praises of nature by acknowledging His goodness, thanking Him for His provisions, and basking in His presence.
But suddenly something changed.
The crowd showed up. It often does as I walk in the mornings.
The worries of the day barged in first. They tend to whine and whimper. Simply annoying. I tried to keep their voices at bay by reflecting on Jesus’ faithfulness in the past.
But right behind the worries of the day came the frustrations over yesterday, those pesky, unsatisfied dilemmas that raise their hands and shout, “Hey! What about us! We haven’t been resolved yet! Don’t forget we’re still here!”
How could I forget?
And then, once the doors had been opened to all these unwelcomed intruders, other equally bothersome ones showed up and began to tag along. Frustrations and common fears tapped on my shoulder and pulled at the hem of my shirt, vying for my attention. Questions, doubts, concerns, and what-ifs kept skipping ahead of me and then tripping me up. And eventually even the resentments and disappointments and jealousies (nasty little guys, they are) came out of the bushes and jumped on my shoulders demanding a piggyback ride.
With all the clamor I soon lost the voice of my Savior. He’s a gentleman, you know, and will not raise His voice to be heard. I’m sure He was still there, walking beside me, willing to give me grace for the day. But with the loud and nagging voices of the frustrations, doubts, concerns, worries, disappointments and jealousies barraging me on every side, I could no longer hear His quiet, gentle voice.
Suddenly I no longer felt the sweet presence of my Lord. Instead I felt like I was walking among the rabble.
When I arrived home I felt cheated. I had planned to meet Jesus on my walk, but instead I met up with the cares of the day plus some.
I turned on some praise music. I know that God inhabits the praises of His people. When we praise Him, He moves onto the scene.
And sure enough, those pesky “friends” began to vanish. As I fixed myself something to eat for breakfast and took care of my dogs, I began to feel my spirits lift. The resentments and jealousies and disappointments climbed down off my shoulders and scurried away. The frustrations and fears quieted. And my worries and unresolved issues subsided. I know they are all still there, lurking in the shadows and waiting for an opportune time to reappear, but my goal is to keep them away.
I realized I still needed to spend some time with my Lord. He’s the only one who can truly calm my fears, vanquish my jealousies and disappointments, do wonders with my unresolved issues, and take on the burden of my worries and concerns. I’ve seen Him load my worries onto His broad shoulders time and time again, then walk away with them, removing them from my sight.
So this time I met Jesus somewhere that He always shows up, always prevails, and always speaks loud enough for me to hear Him over the other voices that clamor for my attention.
I opened my Bible, His Word, and asked Him to meet me there.
Sure enough, He spoke to me there:
- He reminded me that while we sometimes see our anger as a sign of strength and/or power, He closely links our wrath with the work of the evil one in our lives. Saul’s anger with David caused him to absolutely lose it! If I harbor anger for any length of time at all it has similar potential in my life. (1 Samuel 18 – 19)
- He showed me that God can protect His children in the most unorthodox ways. He does not need weapons of war or fast horses; He can even cause our mortal enemies to act in ways contrary to their nature. He is sovereign! (1 Samuel 19:20)
- He reminded me that to behave godly means to “study how to answer” rather than “pouring forth evil.” I need to do more studying and less pouring! I tend to speak and then think later. That needs to change. (Proverbs 15:28)
- He showed me that two others had walked with Him once before and not recognized Him. But then He told them about how He could be found in all the Scriptures, all the way from Genesis to Malachi. Suddenly they knew who they were walking with. They had met with Jesus, the living God. (Luke 24)
I’ve found that while I can sometimes meet Jesus on a walk, occasionally have a decent conversation with Him while I lay my head on my pillow, and often meet Him at church, I always meet Him in His Word…without fail. Only there do the other voices that clamor for my attention, whether they be pressing anxieties or simple distractions, fade away so I can hear from Him loud and clear.
Won’t you meet Him there today? I promise He’ll show up.