Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Quiet Time, Part 4--What You Get

In a lot of ways, walking with God is an adventure. You don't always know what's coming, and it exceeds expectations. And for me, it is the same for my quiet times. If I'm paying attention.

In my last post, I described my attempt at a "system" because I know my weaknesses with routine. I pursued the activity, but not God Himself. Does that mean discipline is bad? No, because through the year, God was taking me on a journey. I needed new eyes, and most seasoned travelers will tell you that one of the benefits of taking trips is seeing life, the world, God and themselves differently.

Most people expect their devotional lives to be marked with throes of ecstasy. What it is, really, is one "long obedience in the same direction." It's quite like a long walk instead of a short jog. When I used to go running, I sometimes got a surge of brain chemicals that left me feeling kind of good. They call it a "runner's high", albeit mine was a mild one. But with walking, you do get a lift from the exercise, but it won't amount to Euphoria. And it isn't really about the feelings, anyway. Even when I was depressed, God blessed me during my devotions but not in ways that I expected. I didn't feel better. Often, I didn't feel closer. Sometimes, I felt worse that when I began the quiet time. Ironically, during this episode in my life, I spent more time with more people in helping them grow. God used me in amazing ways, and when I look back, I know it didn't come from myself. I had nothing to give. And all I was, was available. To Him. And then, to others. As He saw fit to give me.

So, if you want some amazing experience of God, it will be more about what is right under your own nose, quietly waiting for you to wake up, hello!

My epiphany this year was when God told me that He is the first, the best, and the most. He is better than the baby or babies I've always wanted but never had. He is better than the perfect husband, perfect financial setting, perfect place to live, the perfect job, the perfect family,the perfect church and, the perfect ministry. Or the perfect spiritual discipline or quiet time method. Or the ultimate blogging experience.

My favorite quote came from LeRoy Eims. He was speaking at Glen Eyrie when my college group visited. We sat in the balcony, listening in on another campus group's conference. What grabbed me and has had a hold on me ever since is when Eims said, "Jesus died so that you could have a quiet time." That time with God came at high prices.

And in that regard, you get more than you would ever expect.

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