I’m learning to settle my heart, to do fewer things and to not set my sights on high achievement every day. I feel a little misplaced by the middle of the day. I want to run around to accomplish things or crawl into bed and do nothing. My routine is to meet with Jesus every morning, but sometimes I don’t slow my mind enough to pay attention. In the slowing down, I am more aware of my distraction.
I wonder what it was like for the people of Israel to leave Egypt and their slavery and to enter into the wilderness. I’m sure it was busy at first. Parents would be busy no matter what season they were in if they had little ones. I wonder what kind of busy encompassed their days. They found quail and manna in the morning. They still had a Sabbath as it is the God’s day. I wonder if they struggled with less to do while they were wondering in the wilderness.
Remembering God’s faithfulness has been more quick to come to my mind in this slowing down. There is more space in my schedule more than ever before. God is good to bring reminders of his goodness. He promises new mercies every morning and joy when I look to him.
Just as I spoke about in my first video blog, the Israelite nation crossed the Jordan river on dry ground. Before the ark of the covenant (representing the presence of God) was removed from the river bed and the water flowed back, God instructed their leader, Joshua, to gather one stone for each of the tribes of Israel from the floor of the river. They set the stones up as a memorial of God’s goodness in bringing the people across dry ground. Joshua 4:1-9
The memorial was set-up immediately upon arrival to the promised land, but this was not the first time they were reminded of God’s faithfulness. Just before the end of Moses’ life and before they came to the Jordan river Moses gave a song to the people to remind them of their story with God. I think this song is timely for us too in this pandemic wilderness. Here is part of it from the Message:
He found them out in the wilderness, in an empty, windswept wasteland.
He threw he’s arms around him, lavished attention on him,
guarding him as the apple of his eye.
He was like an eagle hovering over its nest, overshadowing its young.
Then spreading its wings, lifting them into the air, teaching them to fly.
God alone led him; there was not a foreign god in sight.
My neighbor eagerly told me she saw an eagle recently in the midst of all this mess. While she stood 10 feet from me, just in case, she told me about her joy in seeing this bald eagle. She said it was in a nearby neighborhood. She had never seen one in town. She talked about its white head and wide wingspan. She spoke of its obvious strength.
I wondered if the eagle came out because we have fewer planes and fewer things going on. Then, it struck me. What if the eagle was always there, we just hadn’t taken the time to look up to see it. Just in the same way, I believe God is always there. He is already hovering over his nest, overshadowing us. I just have slowed enough to look up and see him there more often. I have taken the time to remember all the times he has lifted me up and taught me how to fly. No other gods—distractions in my sight.
It may feel like a wilderness, but God says he will lavish his attention on us in the midst of the barren place we might find ourselves. This is good news! It is worth remembering for years to come and to pass on to our children. We can get ready to set up a memorial to the Lord for his goodness as he bringing us out of this wilderness.
Praying for you today as you rest, or grieve, or find a new normal, or rejoice over the good in the midst of this season.