The other day I was driving home from taking my daughter to work. As is not unusual in Garden Grove, a car pulled out in front of me causing me to slow down quite a bit. I immediately became incredibly angry. What kind of idiot just pulls out in front of people.
The thing that set this event as different from every single other time this happens, (forty or fifty times a day), is that I actually stopped for a second to contemplate my anger. Was I really angry that this person was causing me to arrive at a stop light that I would wait at for a few minutes, a whole five seconds later? Was I in that much of a hurry to get to that light to sit and wait? What did I have going on at home? Nothing. Why was I being such an idiot.
It was then I remembered brother Lawrence, and the little book practicing the presence of God. Brother Lawrence simply remembered that God was with him at all times, and acted accordingly. So I started to remember God's presence, to acknowledge Him in my day to day. I was embarrassed a bit at my silly anger issues.
Then I saw a palm tree, one of those really tall skinny ones, and it was just standing dead straight. Now a few days ago we had been at the beach and the palm trees were bending back and forth quite intensely. I realized that this tree was sitting in the midst of the air, just as much as the other ones, even though it wasn't moving. And at that point I think I got a bit of God's heart for me and my sabbatical.
You see, I like to see everything. I like the torrent, the wind blowing me all over the place. I experience God in the chaos and turmoil of life. Usually grasping on to Him in the process. It is easier to see the Lord at work in those situations. In fact I think if we are truthful, many of our worship services are designed to atleast simulate these experiences. To get us swaying back and forth so we can "feel the Spirit moving". But this lone tree was standing right in the middle of the air, though you could not see its influence at all. And I think that is what I have been learning on my sabbatical. God loves me, and I am in the middle of the presence, even though I am not in the midst of the tempest right now.
Now I hesitated writing this, because people that need to get off their asses and start living the kingdom might get this message as a verification for their laziness. And those that are out there, in the toil and the dirt, might feel like they desperately need a rest and feel guilty because they cannot take one. But this was God's message to me, to recognize that God is God even when things are quiet, and slow. Maybe God's message to you today is that He is God even when your life seems to be torn apart by action, and storm, so step out into it and trust. Either way, God loves us.