Relaxing With God


July 14 (Psalm 46:10)

Be still, and know that I am God!  (NLT)

This is one of the better-known verses in the Bible, and we love it because it calls us away from the hectic, even frantic, pace of life.  We envision getting away to the woods or the mountains where we hear nothing but the sounds of nature and the voice of God.  It makes for a wonderful devotional goal, but there is something more going on in the command to be still.

In the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint, that command literally means to be at leisure, to take a break, to kick back and relax.  Now read that verse again.  God is saying, “Take a break.  Kick back, relax, and spend some time getting to know me.”  Doing that certainly can mean going on retreat to a place of quiet beauty, but it can be as simple as enjoying your favorite beverage on the deck one summer’s evening and hanging out with God as you would with your best friend, which He is, if you want Him to be.

Can you hear the friendly invitation God is sending you?  How would you react if a friend asked you over for ice cream tonight?  You would be excited, but also relieved because you would know it would be a time to set aside the work and worries of the day.  It would be something to look forward to, and that is what God is offering you today.

Thank You for inviting me to spend time with You, God.  I am looking forward to putting everything else aside and being with You.  Amen.


The Deep Heart’s Core


April 28 (Psalm 27:8)

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
    And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”  (NLT)

When I recently read this psalm, I was struck by how much it sounds like the call and response of the lover and his beloved in the Song of Songs, and suddenly my mind went down a poetic path.  The opening line of this verse reminded me of the last line in “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by William Butler Yeats.  The poet has been musing on returning to the lake of his youth and concludes that even in the midst of the hustle and bustle of city life, the sound of the lapping waters comes back to him, for “I hear it in my deep heart’s core.”

Do you hear God that way?  Do you hear Him calling in your deep heart’s core, calling you to come and spend time with Him?  And do you find your heart yearning to do just that?  When I do, I often feel a pang of anguish for all that separates me from Him, and the words of John Donne come to mind.  “Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain, but am betroth’d unto your enemy.”  And who is that enemy?  At times it is nothing more than the mundane demands of life, which William Wordsworth lamented when he wrote, “The world is too much with us; late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers….”

Yet God has also said in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”  He is always standing at the door and knocking.  He is always calling to us in our deep heart’s core.  And what is it God wants?  It is simply to talk and spend time with us, His beloved children, the ones He created in His own image.

Father, You have done everything in our relationship.  You are the one who has approached me.  You are the one who made it possible to talk directly with You thanks to the work of Jesus.  If I find myself apart from you, then the words of the old blues song ring true.  “Ain’t nobody’s fault but mine.”  Today I take You up on Your call, Father.  Today I am setting aside time to be quiet and to talk with You.  Amen.