“Once upon a time, I got lost in a place.” – Unknown
We’re sitting down to hamburgers, finally, after a day of working and I glance outside, notice the early, darkening sky, how the leaves have become burnt umber overnight before falling silently, recklessly to the earth.
“What happened to summer?” I ask.
“I wish I knew,” she replies.
We sit then, in silence, like an elderly couple though we aren’t and I think…
About a flipped kayak, sunglasses bobbing down the river bed, lost, maybe to me, but maybe they took on another life as a home for two energetic fish named Herman and Geri.
About a campfire, the leap and dance of hypnotizing flames, their warmth against our skin and whispered conversation between lovers, the stars above, the dogs snoring at our feet.
About bike rides and hikes and learning there is never enough butter coating a pie iron. About the clang of a disc hitting the chains. About digging through rotted stumps in the woods to find a geocache. About getting in a fight with a snake and a dog. About lying in the sun with the water gently bumping the dock, a novel in hand. Sleeping late, countless sunsets and not even one sunrise.
Yes, somehow I got lost. I’ve stepped away from emails, from my phone, from all the extra clambering of this noisy world and I’ve focused on finding peace because peace often looks like mindfulness and mindfulness is only found through quietness.
Peace requires self-reflection, a painfully hard look at all we are, all we want to become, who God wants us to become. The results can be alarming, uncomfortable, daring even because God never lets us sit with a stagnant faith, this dried-up piece of bread we continue trying to nourish ourselves with.
No, I’m learning He more often calls the willing; not always the most capable to step forward into deeper water, asking us to hold onto Him, trusting Him when the water gets choppy and the rocks slippery. He calls and we step with a shaky faith into a plan far bigger than we can see and maybe that’s okay, I think, because so often I realize looking back how very near-sighted my own eyes are.
So we sink the sign reading “For Sale” into the dirt and we trust.
Here’s the catch: people will judge. Getting lost in God’s plan requires a radical faith often resulting in a radical plan and this getting lost in His will and going astray can look the same to the critical heart. I am convinced of this more, this radical faith, when I read about the life of a Carpenter, this man who came to earth and changed everything that was conventional and fought against the idea of Salvation being gained by being traditional, this algorithm of dos and don’ts. He overthrew tables in a church, forgave prostitutes, and dined with politicians. He loved the outcasts. He loved the ones the world loves to hate.
And people judged. So much so, they eventually nailed Him to a cross.
In contrast to what Jesus forgave, the judgments I feel pale in comparison. Knees hit the earth. The words come quietly then, there with head bowed against the bitter chill of an offended heart.
“For he loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” John 12:43
“No,” I whisper. If a Carpenter can forgive those driving nails into His hands, the least I can do is forgive these minor offenses. So I sink the “For Sale” sign deeper. I remember how God sometimes requires more than merely a Sunday meeting with Him. And I chase after a God who leads with confidence and it’s quiet again, in my heart, even though there are house plans, loans to be secured, and new careers. Even though the noise and the busy come back, now that the days are getting shorter and the nights cooler.
But peace isn’t only found away from the chaos of life; the truest peace is found in trusting a God who guides us right through the chaos.
- What out-of-your-comfort-zone experience is being asked of you today?