Richard’s personal devotions in tatters…

Richard McChurch was continually flummoxed regarding his spiritual life, especially his ‘quiet times’. His new year’s resolution to read the Bible and pray every day was in tatters and guilt was permanently embedded in his sub-conscience. He had been so sincere, even dramatic as the New Year dawned, and, with one hand on the Bible, and the other raised to God, he declared he’d be God’s man for the New Year. Yet with all this done, before February, his personal devotions had crashed. The new, bigger, louder alarm clock couldn’t do it. Presetting his Bible DVD also failed and he slept through Deuteronomy. The whole Bible on his iPod ($9.00!) didn’t help either. His “My Utmost for His Highest” still looked so unused he couldn’t even take it to church. Nothing, and he had tried everything, seemed to help.

One day at the traffic light (and not a particularly long one) he felt the deepest awareness of God’s Love. Grace hung in the air. Meaning, purpose, goodness – filled his life. His chest expanded with the sheer knowledge of being known by an eternal God.

“Ah to know God; to make God known,” he sighed deeply, then suddenly became nervous.

“Not now, God,” he prayed, teeth clenched, “I didn’t have a ‘QT‘ today, in fact, I did not have one yesterday. Also, in case you forgot, I missed worship on Sunday and haven’t read the Bible in two weeks. I do not deserve your attention right now. Please God. Go away.”

God’s presence persisted. Richard felt a deep and quiet assurance that God loved him, knew him, was involved in his affairs, as unspiritual as he knew his history to be, as near as he’d come to deleting the Bible off his iPod.

“What IS God doing here?” he questioned under his breath, squirming in his seat, “it’s not supposed to be this way.”

The light changed.

“You just do not get it, do you, Richard,” God said, the gears shifting effortlessly. “Because you did not read your Bible today you think I am silent. I am not that easily silenced, Richard. I am seldom silent. I talk through everything if you listen and watch. If you will only look and learn and realize that my Word is all around you. It is not limited to a page in any book, not even the Bible. Yes. Of course. I have spoken in the Bible, but I continue to address humanity, if you will pardon the expression, ‘millennium in, and millennium out.’ Richard, I speak continually and in many ways.”

“But, I was always taught…” protested Richard

“Yes, Richard, I know what you were always taught. I was there when you were taught. I was there when your pastor challenged you to read the Bible through in a year and to pray without ceasing and to read a Psalm each day,,,, and to ….. ! Richard, I am not on a page. You can’t download Me. I am alive and within you. I am beside you, behind you, in front of you.”

“But you’re not supposed to bless me if I have not done my part….”

“There you go making the rules.”

“But what if I never spend time with you, God, like a friend is supposed to do, you know, if you love someone, you spend time with them and all that.”

“There is one question I have for you.”

“What is that, Lord?”

“What will you do to spend time without me? What heinous crime will you commit? What horrible thing will you do? You seem to forget that there is nowhere you can go to get away from me. I am here. With you. No matter what. I am with you always and will be, metaphorically speaking, beyond the end of time.”

“But?”

“It is not about your performance, Richard. It is about my love.

“But…” sighed Richard.

“No ‘buts’ about it Richard. Don’t limit my capacity to love you, talk with you, and work with you, enjoy you, to a few forced minutes over your Bible and a strained, distracted session of obligatory prayer. Look on every face, on every street corner, look at every horizon, at every child. Richard, look into your own eyes. My presence and blessing is not about your ability or even your faithfulness, Richard, it is about mine.”

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