Usually when I am writing these posts, the starting line pops in my head, and the words tumble over themselves trying to push the fingers even faster. Today is not one of those days. Part of it is me…part of it is…me. I just get in the way of my vision. I don’t see the direction. With that said – I am pushing through because that is what we do. When things don’t come easy, we push through. We cut through the brush. We clear a path. And we take another step forward. It is part of that “EVEN NOW” faith step that needs to happen when we: “don’t feel like it”…”are too tired”…”can’t think”…or just “want to veg”.
“Enlarge the place of your tent,” Is 54:2a
The preacher talked about persistence this week. Devotions continue to talk about persistence this week. Needless to say, some of my friends posted about being persistent today. SIGH…I told God that I got the point, but I think (as I am writing these words) that this is still part of that lesson. This is assessment time. How well did I absorb the lesson He has been presenting over the past week? How hard am I willing to work to enlarge my place so I can put up my tent?
This weekend my daughter’s family went camping. They actually put up an honest-to-goodness tent. I think the last time I actually slept in a tent was when I was crazy and in college. I remember trying to “clear” the ground. It seems like there was inevitably one stone I would miss which ended up poking me throughout the night. However, to minimize the pain, the girl scouts and dad taught me to gather cushiony pine needles or leaves to pad the hard ground prior to erecting the tent. (However, when camping in the desert that wasn’t real helpful.) Even so, there was always that sense of accomplishment to see the space emerge prior to putting up the tent. When you persevere and prepare, things generally work out well. The job gets done. The bounty is released to make life easier. The paper gets written. The promotion comes through. The syllabus for the year gets written. The dreams for retirement takes shape.
“…stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back,” Is 54:2b
A tent has its own smell that is different from every other smell in the world. When I was little, dad bought a WWII Marine hammock that hung in our backyard. I loved the smell of that tent and can still smell it as I write this. A mixture of tent, books and early morning/evening whispers of the day. The neat thing about this hammock was that it was screened in. A swinging room with natural light and air conditioning. I had books, pillows, dolls all piled in there with me – and if I remember correctly – a best friend or two. I don’t know how long we had it or how many days and night, I spent cuddled up in it…reading…thinking…praying. And when I opened the curtains wide, the sides were made of mesh. I could even lean up against it at night to see the stars and moon. When those curtains were wide open, they did not hold back my vision…my dreams…my goals. When I opened those curtains. those dreams could be seen more clearly, and the path was lighted to guide my steps
“…tighten your cords, and strengthen your stakes.” Is 54:3c
One of the hardest parts of camping is the unpredictability of weather/animals/buggies and/or the site itself. That is when we need our boldness of EVEN NOW faith. We check our cords. Are they strong enough to withstand a storm that may blow towards us? Are they secured with well-tied knots? As I thought about the cords this week, I began to see that prayers are my cords. They are the my lifeline that secure my tent to the “stakes”. “…strengthen your stakes…” The more I read God’s promises – the stronger my stakes become and the deeper they dig into the grounding of Our Father. Did you know that there are over 3000 promises (a conservative estimate) in the Bible (Mark Batterson, “The Circle Maker” p94) ? Praying on promises always gives me something to talk to God about in our conversations…now I just need to get better at listening.
I think I may be almost crazy enough to attempt a camping trip. I’m sucking in a deep breath of EVEN NOW faith and praying “LORD, do something unpredictable and uncontrollable”. Does this sound as scary to you as it does to me? BTW – any one have a WWII Marine hammock to sleep in so that I don’t have to sleep on the stones? Ok – I’m ready…I think…maybe…I’m such a work in progress…