My son sometimes leaves the cereal boxes open and puts them back in the pantry. The tops of those boxes have to be precisely opened because, if they get torn, the little tab doesn’t fit into the slot …and the top won’t close… and air gets in… and the cereal gets stale… and dad gets irritated. You know how that works, right? My boy rips into a cereal box like jackals on The Nature Channel rip into a fallen gazelle. So I go into the pantry six days after Landon opens the new box, and I fill my bowl, pour in the milk, take a mouthful and…bite into a stale chunk of disappointment that feels like pillowtop foam between my molars. Earth shattering observation of the day: I don’t care for stale stuff. That is why I have planned a short writing sabbatical which is scheduled to begin this coming Sunday afternoon and to finish up the week after Thanksgiving when I return to my office.
I’m getting away with my precious family for a bit, in hope to find refreshment of the most significant sort for my body, mind and spirit. It’s been an amazing year, and I love what God has done. Truth be known, I am looking even more forward to what is coming in 2018. While it has been an eventful, fruitful year, filled with blessing and breakthrough, I am a little road-weary myself right now, so this time away with Amy and the children should welcome a little oil from Heaven on the gears of my life. Without an intentional periodic break from it all, the things of my heart can be at risk of going a little stale…and I’m not willing for my life to forfeit its flavor.
You need to know yourself. You need to know God. You need to recognize that marvelous things occur when those two pieces of knowledge intersect, because that is the whole of the Christian experience. When we lose our vision for God – His love, His glory, His nature, His will, His immensity – we will gravitate to other things in order to find some sense that we have an anchor in this life. Those substitutes inevitably prove faulty and we find ourselves adrift. Equally, when we lose our moorings for who we are and who we are to be in Christ, there is a hollowness that finds us and precious treasures are lost – peace, joy, power, faithfulness and…vision for tomorrow. Lately I sense that the Father is requiring more of me – not in order to assign any greater identity to me, but to invite me to participate more deeply in His love for me and His mission through me. He has allowed me to “max out” where He has led me thus far. As a new year is approaching, I hear His whisper which requires me to draw closer to Him in order to keep hearing what He is whispering. Please believe me when I tell you that the most important things that God will ever communicate to you in your life will be via a whisper from Him. Though He is surely the Lion of the tribe of Judah who roars, He is also the gentle dove-like whisper of Heaven to you. Those who are in constant motion will not hear His whisper. Those who are addicted to the applause of people (via FB Friends, likes on Twitter, comments on Instagram, etc.) will always be distracted from His whisper. Those who look to themselves for greater adequacy, higher competency and ingenious clarity will also struggle to hear the Father’s whisper. The whisper of God is for delighted children who will let every other thing pass them by in order to remain close to Abba’s face, in order to feel His breath when He whispers what is in His heart. Many do not hear Him because they assume He only and always roars, trumpets or shouts. I have found that He will speak to the masses in those high-volume ways as LORD but, when He operates with His children as Father, it is usually One-to-one, and invariably in the form of a whisper.
So do it, Father. Whisper to me today. Help me to have zero presumption about what You want to say. Let me not proudly take on the role of a vocal-coach to You. Say what You want to say. Say it the way You want to say it. Just enable me to hear it. That’s what I want. You have great and mighty things which we do not yet know. We want to know them. We want it so badly that we are tuning out everything else.
And we wait for You to speak.