I have two questions that could revolutionize your devotional life. Here’s the first one (I’m saving the second question for the next post):
What would your devotional life look like if you were absolutely convinced that God would show up?
Seriously. Before you go on to the next paragraph, think about that.
You know how you generally don’t want to be the only one who goes to something? Sometimes being the very first person to rsvp or to commit to an event is a brave thing. I have high schoolers in my home and they’ve reminded me of this dynamic in life and relationships. But it’s there for adults too.
It’s human nature. We want to be a part of something where other people show up too. It’s affirming that we’ve made the right decision to go. It means what’s happening is fun or valuable or meaningful.
So what about going to "meet with God"? This is one of the ways we describe those devotional practices where we lean into God more intimately and personally--reading and studying the Bible, prayer, solitude, journaling, and all those things that help us to think and feel rightly as God’s people.
As we’ve talked more about spiritual growth, I’ve been pondering why I don’t go "meet with God" more regularly and more eagerly sometimes. It’s easy to blame circumstances and being busy or tired, but I think there are other dynamics at play.
I didn’t realize it until recently (thanks to some conversations with friends), but somewhere down in wordless places of my soul I think I’m a little bit afraid that when I go to meet with God--when I retreat to pray and journal and do other devotional practices--that God might not show up. It might just be me there. Lame.
Don’t get me wrong, my theology is sound. I know what the Bible says...
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
-- Joshua 1:9b
This is when it’s important to speak truth to my fears. Because if I really believe that God is better and bigger than I can comprehend… if I believe He is actively present… if I believe He is always with me… if I really believe that, because of Christ, He delights in me… then I don’t have any reason to fear God not showing up.
So what would my time with God look like if I was absolutely convinced He would show up? What would my motivations be like… you know, if I was really convinced? Would I make fewer excuses? Would my expectations change a bit and I would experience and enjoy God more?
What about you? Going to meet with God is a fundamental part of an intimate life with God. What if you were convinced… I mean really convinced… that God would show up every time you went to meet with Him? Every single time.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
-- Psalm 139:7-12