Closer Than You Think
I finally have something that resembles a “normal” week (assuming that normalcy and servant ministry have any correlation). The personal issues that I dealt with before Christmas were complicated by bouts of the flu and bronchitis since. I’ve managed to muddle through and get the bare necessities done, but there has been little energy to do more. Now, before you think I’m looking for someone to throw me a pity party, there is a point to this.
I’m sorry to say that my devotional life was one of the casualties of the illness. Maybe it’s just me, but when I’m sick, I generally don’t do a thing. I turn into a regular lump. I do pray, but it bears very little resemblance to the discipline I try to keep at other times. As I’ve emerged from this self imposed cave and have gotten more focused on my spiritual disciplines and rule of life I’ve discovered an incredible gift of grace.
In times past when I’ve had these lapses in discipline, getting back into the discipline was something of a chore. There were many times when I felt like I was starting over. It was discouraging to say the least. This time, however, as I have rekindled my disciplines I discovered that God was closer than I thought! It didn’t feel like I was starting over. It didn’t feel like I had some great distance to travel to “get back to where I had been.” In fact, it felt a lot more like I’d never left, like there had been no lapse. I know that this sense is not that God’s geography was somehow different; I knew that it was a matter of my awareness.
Over the course of many weeks and months, as I have sought God’s presence in a more disciplined and intimate way, I have known God’s transforming grace with a completeness and depth that I had previously unknown. I feel and sense God’s presence closer now than at any other time in my life. I’m different for the encounter. What I learn from this experience is that attention to spiritual disciplines will ebb and flow with the tides in my life. I won’t always be as disciplined as I’d like to be. But over a long haul, but because of how God has drawn me deeper and deeper into God’s own presence those momentary lapses will be just that. The gift of intimacy that has so transformed me will keep me close to God through all the distractions.