As I write this little devotional to you, we (EHSS) are taking some time off to be with our families and to FINALLY fire up my grill. One of the spiritual virtues a well-placed break brings to me is “space.” It’s crazy how cluttered our lives can become. The other day I went to a fitness center to work out with my friend. He wanted to show me some new exercises to do. We walked into the area where we always work out, but before long there were so many people in that area that he turned to me and said, “Let’s go in the other room where there is more space to do what I want you to do today.” His words made me think of a greater application…
It is in the nothingness or space where we will most often find and feel that God is real.
Read Exodus 25:18-22 where God instructs the children of Israel to build the Ark of the Covenant. He tells them to make the two winged angels in such a way that they cover or hover over the place or “space” of the mercy seat. And, He tells them in that “space” above and within the “space” of the two winged angles that He would meet them there and instruct them.
I may be reading too much into this today, but the point is…
Space creates a place for God.
The Prophet Elijah learned this in First Kings 19:11-13: God was not in the mighty wind (a major event), nor the fire (an exciting concert, reunion or party), nor the earthquake (an earth-shaking conference where we find the latest technique on how to acquire more stuff). NO! It was in the gentle cool breeze (the quietness) where Elijah heard God speak.
We are so busy in this modern “Consumer culture” to really know our creator in stillness and space. We are always looking for new things and experiences to fill our time and our minds.
St. Augustine said:
“God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.”
So, if God wants to meet with us (and He does), we must create the space for this divine appointment. I pray that you find this space. You must create it. If Saint Augustine is correct, and I believe he is, then we must take away some things so that we can create the space for God to replace things with Himself. Even the good things are NOT God, they are gifts from God.
Read this wonderful thought by Meister Eckhart (c.1260 - 1327/8):
“Whoever holds to God, holds to both God and all virtue. And what was previously the object of your seeking, now seeks you; what you hunted, now hunts you; what you fled, now flees you. This is so because the things of God cling to those people who cling to God, and all those things flee them, which are unlike God and are alien to Him.”
For me, and maybe it’s because I’m slowing down a bit, I enjoy a quite evening on the front porch with the water fountain slowly running and giving a constant soothing sound. Or a long walk in the woods where nature stands still and quietly sings the praises of its creator. It’s funny...
The more still I become, the more I feel and know that God is for me.
The more space I carve out in my life for stillness, reflection and contemplation, the more I accomplish. With more space, I find that I enjoy my labors more. Work becomes my gift back to God and society. I used to say, “There are not enough hours in the day,” or “I need three lifetimes to accomplish all the things I want to do.” How utterly vain and arrogant this all sounds to me now! God created just the right amount of hours in a day, week, and year to do all our labor. He created all the time we need to sleep, worship and commune with our brothers and sisters. How dare we tell God He did not make enough time/space for living the good life.
The Father gives us freedom. The most dangerous gift of all is the gift to choose. Choose today to carve out some space and be still. It is not easy! It takes time to re-wire our minds to stop thinking wrongly, to listen and then to think again correctly. I believe this is the true work of spiritually and this true work is a lifetime process of transformation of our minds that Paul wrote about in Romans:
Do not conform to the
pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then
you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and
You may not want to be this still because you will have to deal with all the past hurt your ego has hung onto all these years. But let me say this to you:
This space is where your emotional healing will finally come.
Don’t be scared of the scars. Let your Father heal you from the inside out. You will need help getting to nothing so use the sounds of water, soft music, the birds singing, the laughter of a child running through the sprinklers, the wag of a dog’s tail as he leads his master down your sidewalk. Wherever you are, become a part of the landscape of life and allow your ego to have a night off. This world does not revolve around you or me. We are a part of something more grand and exciting. So, slow down and enjoy the show. For in that moment of space when you finally “get there” you will find the face of grace itself, and then you will start to find your true self.
Stay Cool, Safe & Still,