Reflections — March 2017

Winter enthusiasts were jubilant this February when New England received a major snowstorm, depositing more than a foot and a half all across the region. Skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, cross-country skiers and snowmobilers all flocked to their favorite spots in the great outdoors. Not to be outdone in the fun department was our family dog, Cleo, who delighted in a romp through the snow, searching for her stick. But in the midst of the hunt she suddenly stopped and began pawing through the deep snow, tail wagging furiously, only to stop, cock her head with ears perked to the max, listening intently. The digging began again followed by more listening. She moved a couple of feet away and resumed the same pattern. What was she hearing? Repeating the sequence again and again, a few minutes later she was rewarded. She had successfully uncovered a mouse/mole/vole — some small rodent — that initially sat immobilized no doubt by fear. She whined. It scurried along the snowy trail a foot or two, then stopped. She looked puzzled by this new found toy, but after a bit it no longer responded to her whining. She gently touched it with her paw. Ah! That activated it again, but only for a short distance. She touched it again, crouching in readiness to play and fascinated that her touch stimulated its running action. It was like watching a child with its own little wind-up toy. Discovery in action! Cute and funny! In time, it located a tunnel under the snowpack and disappeared. Game over!

Yet as I watched and enjoyed the scenario unfold before me, I marveled at the dog’s acute hearing. Her body language confirmed it was sound she was responding to. She never barked, but listened again and again in her pursuit, not knowing what she would find, but persistent and confident she would locate the noise maker. Had she not taken those pauses to listen, I have no doubt her quest would have proven futile.

That gave me pause to reflect on my own relationship with the Lord and of those around me. What comprises our prayer pattern? How persistent are we in seeking the Lord’s voice for our own lives? In our busyness, do we attach real value to silence? Or do we rush on from one topic to another? The needs, concerns, and decisions that must be made for ourselves, our families, our friends, our schools, our church and ministries, places of employment, the challenges within our communities, nation, and the world could keep us talking to God for hours! Do we afford God the time to speak to us about a needed course correction? Is your mind fairly racing now just thinking about the enormity of what we face?

In the midst of it all, what we truly need is God’s wisdom and strategy to thrive and flourish, not merely to cope. So we must carve out time from the rash of activities that keep us on a treadmill, quiet our racing thoughts, silence our to-do lists, and sit at the feet of the Lord with ears tuned to the frequency of His voice. It is so reassuring to know He already knows our needs and concerns before we ever put voice to them. Praise Him for His love, His majesty, His kindness, His faithfulness, His provision, His wisdom etc, and then sit and enjoy the silence. Bask in His presence as He surrounds you with His love. Ask, “What do you want to say to me today?” You may receive a single word dropped into your mind, an impression, a strategy or plan of action, a complete thought you had never considered, a directive, a Scripture that is a key to a concern you have. The ways the Lord speaks to us are endless, but we can be confident he will speak. We simply have to be open, patient, eager, and expectant. In Ps. 86:6,7 we read, “Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, for You will answer me.” Great assurance!

“Be still and know that I am God”, He speaks into all the uncertainties of our lives. And after He has calmed the inner storm, be uplifted by the surprise response you may receive. It just may set your feet a-dancing and your heart a-singing for indeed He’s a good, good Father who loves to give good, good gifts to His sons and daughters! Then share the good news with someone else who may need to know how much they are loved by God.

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