Sanctuary

9 12 2012

ps37_7From time to time Michael gives me a gift certificate for a massage; oh I do love a massage! The room is temperate, the lights are low, soft music is playing, the oils are all warmed and ready for the knots in my shoulders; heaven! For an hour I don’t lift, I don’t carry, I don’t care as all the tension is worked out of me. But, and this is strange, when the therapy first begins a STORM goes off in my head! While the rest of me is quiet, it’s like every thought gets up and chases around the room. So, while the therapist kneads my muscles, I have to tell my every thought to sit down a while.

How often is my mind not at rest?

I am not even sure that I am aware of what is all buzzing around up there most of the time. My mind is used to

  • thinking,
  • planning,
  • dreaming,
  • fixing,
  • speculating,
  • analyzing,
  • worrying,
  • praying,
  • warning,
  • musing,
  • fuming,
  • imagining,
  • deciding,
  • strategizing,
  • steering,
  • sifting,
  • sorting…

Oh, it knows when to shut up so I can sleep at night; it has to pause or it couldn’t do what it does every day. It can handle eight hours biding its time, but it is ready with its list of reminders, questions, thoughts and ideas, people, places and things as soon as the lights are on.

Now, here is the trouble with that: sometimes things happen in our lives and all of our

  • thinking,
  • planning,
  • dreaming,
  • fixing,
  • speculating,
  • analyzing,
  • worrying,
  • praying,
  • warning,
  • musing,
  • fuming,
  • imagining,
  • deciding,
  • strategizing,
  • steering,
  • sifting,
  • sorting…

will not bring a fix to it. Sometimes our present circumstances are beyond our abilities to remedy and all we are able to do is one very difficult thing: wait.

This is where I am right now – waiting — and sometimes I don’t know what to do with myself.

Waiting feels interminable. I have counted the days so far: 43.  For forty-three days I have cooked and I have eaten; I have worked and carried on; I have met with people and have had conversations. I have had the flu; still have the flu. I have found random things to do in the spaces between; like cleaning my closet…twice. I have slept at night and woken up when it was over; and still the waiting is not over. All these things have happened while I have waited; standing up on the outside but sitting down in my soul as the minutes of every day tick by: sixty-one-thousand-nine-hundred-and-twenty minutes.

I am waiting and sometimes I don’t know what to do with my unruly thoughts.

My thoughts wage war. I trust in God; then I fear. I fill my mind with good and true things; then one stray word pulls a plug on them and I have to do it all over again. I tell myself, “Wait, just wait, let God do His work,” but then The Enemy comes and whispers doom to me; that’s when I feel the weight of sixty-one-thousand-nine-hundred-twenty-minutes the most. I wonder if others have to work as hard to quiet the inner saboteur?

I am waiting and sometimes I don’t know what to anticipate.

I have always enjoyed thinking about the future, but it has lost some dimension; the earth feels flat. How do I think about tomorrow? Things are not right. They haven’t been right for 43 days; how much longer? (Please don’t answer that question, Lord, because I know my wait time has, perhaps, only begun.)

Psalm 37:7 speaks to me:

“Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.”

I have been staring at “in the presence of the Lord” this last while and wondering whose presence I have been in lately as I have been waiting. Have I truly been in the company of my Lord, or somewhere nearby? I don’t think I intentionally wander away, out on my own; it is more unintentional, like sleep-walking.

No wonder one can find the phrase “return to me” repeated over and over in the Bible. I am meant to walk in the presence of the Lord.

When I am still and wait in the company of Christ, peace fills the room; soul replenishing words are sung into my ear; faith, hope, courage and love are re-worked into my aching bones. Fear is vanquished in the presence of the Lord; just the confident assurance God will act remains. There is nourishment to fill my emptiness, and comfort for my grief. As I “abide” in the presence of the Lord I am given new strength so that I will not grow weary or faint along the journey; His mercies are new every morning; He is completely faithful to His promises.

In the company of Christ, every resource is available to me whether I need a physician, a counselor, a shepherd, a warrior, an advocate, or simply a friend.

And because of all this, I do stand amazed in the presence of the Lord and how different it is here than on my own; I am reminded again that even though I walk through a valley of shadows, He is with me and in His presence I find sanctuary.

— Teresa Klassen

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One response

19 03 2013
Hilary

Thank you for sharing this – for being honest with your struggles and pointing to THE solution. When something difficult happens it is so easy to doubt God’s goodness, love and power. I leave you this quote I heard last week. May it strenghten you in your “inner man” :
This difficult situation I am facing is a mystery I do not understand. But God is good. That is a revelation. I choose to not sacrifice the revelation of his goodness on the altar of human reasoning to give myself an answer to a mystery I do not understand. i do not have the answer but I will not reduce his goodness.” This was written by a pastor (who has pressed into divine healing and seen many healed) on the death from cancer of his own father. When we do not know what to do, do not have any answers, we can thankfully know HIM. Acknowledge (know intimately) him in all your ways (including this difficult season) and he will direct (make straight that which is crooked) your path.
Hilary, Southern France

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