Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lead, Guide, and Direct: Thoughts from Today's Quiet Time

Quiet time: n. time spent reading scripture, praying, and drawing close to God.  I would like for it to happen every day, but, of course, it doesn't.  Today, however, I pulled out my Bible and read while munching on my Apple Pecan Chicken salad from Wendy's for lunch.  It was peaceful.  And tasty.  I don't think eating during quiet time is irreverant.  Often times it feels like the only time I get to sit down and focus is during breakfast or lunch.

I sometimes use a devotional magazine my church gets.  Today the scripture it referenced was exciting: Psalm32:6-11.  The reason it was exciting was because in the first section, I recognized the lyrics to a song Jordan and I sang last summer: v.7 "Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance."  The song is "Hiding Place" by Selah, and they re-interpret the words this way:

You are my hiding place.
You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance.
Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.

If you have never heard the song, check it out - I love it, not only for the words, which really speak to my fearful, anxious tendancies, but also for the music: the male and female vocals weave around each other in a really haunting melody.

A few verses down, I was struck by the picture that the psalmist paints: v.8-9 "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.  Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee."  The idea is that we tend to be like a willful horse, who has to be tightly controlled and disciplined with a bit and reins in order to be useful.  God wants us to draw close to him, and He doesn't want to force us to with the spiritual equivalents of bit and bridle.  How much more pleasant the experience would be if we would turn to Him instead of stubbornly going our own way.

I used to think that the phrase "lead, guide, and direct us" was rather redundant, but my father always includes it when he prays.  Perhaps, considering how crucial it is that we allow ourselves to be lead by God, the phrase is not redundant, but, rather, appropriately emphatic. 

P.S. The above picture is from St. Materiana's Church in Tintagel, England.  It is a very small, very old church at the top of a rocky cliff jutting out into the sea.

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