Monday, February 24, 2014

Up close and personal

I remember years ago, when my aspiring wildlife biologist son first latched onto a new toy— a motion activated camera that he wrapped around a tree at night. He threw apples out as bait and then checked in the morning to see if he’d captured the likenesses of any nocturnal visitors.

It took several days to get anything other than cars coming in and out of the driveway and my husband sticking his face in the camera for a joke. But with a little patience he drew in the guests he most wanted—a few does and one very curious buck.
Don't have that picture, but here's a more recent one he took.

Getting these close-up views of the animals excited my son. Something in the nature of humans makes us want to get near that which we love. My son has always wanted to see more and know more about any kind of wildlife, because it’s his passion.
Lately, the verse in James 4:8 has often come to mind, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” I keep hearing the words, “Draw near…” In stormy times, our ability to stand is directly linked to this time in God’s presence.

The writer, James Scott Bell, says writers should “seek to stand hour by hour in the conscious presence of God.” I’d say that was good advice for anybody, not just writers.

One recent morning, as I cracked open a devotional book, I read an excerpt from Richard Foster’s book, Freedom of Simplicity in which he wrote about Brother Lawrence’s quest as  a kitchen monk to constantly abide in the presence of God. Brother Lawrence himself wrote about this quest in The Practice of the Presence of God. Later that same morning, Brother Lawrence came up again in a Bible study I’m doing written by Priscilla Shirer. How odd to find his words twice in the same morning, but how like God to make sure I didn’t miss the message. Brother Lawrence so practiced the presence of God, that even in the busy kitchen where he worked he said, “The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen . . . I possess God in as great tranquility as If I were upon my knees . . .” It’s been some time since I’ve read Brother Lawrence’s book, but perhaps it’s time to reread.

We’re a little more than a week away from that time of the Christian year called Lent, a time of reflection and renewed devotion. So, I get it. It’s time to draw nearer, to seek consistently to stand in the “conscious presence of God”—to center myself in the presence of God.

It's time to get up close and personal. In comparison to my son’s passionate quest to know wildlife, how much more should my passion be for the presence of God.



Nancy Sturm said...

Thanks for the words that help me draw nearer to the presence of God.

Beverly Varnado said...

Nancy, you are a true inspiration to me!!


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