I’m writing to you on the plane from England to Atlanta. This will hopefully be a shorter letter compared to the last, long-winded one. I never know what’s going to come out. I wish I did. All I know is I’m going to try to write to you each day. At times, I feel no inspiration at all and wonder what am I doing and if this is just an exercise in pride. Lord Jesus, I hope not.
Also, this life of mine, who can relate? I can’t even relate. I’ve never known anyone to go from a spa to a Boat Show to a convent to a Barn in less than two weeks. Even I realize such diverse activity in such close proximity is a little bit bizarre.
How can I recommend to you to go away to a quiet place to be refreshed when your world might not afford such a retreat? I mean, who wouldn’t love to come along on such a jaunt? You might be a single parent, the only breadwinner, raising a family, and your time is not your own. You might have poor health or a family member that does. How dare I write so insensitively? Who wouldn’t love to come along with me on such a hopscotch of a trip? How dare I write to you, not knowing your particular situation or circumstance? Am I acting like Nero who fiddled while Rome burned, or Marie Antoinette who, upon hearing how people were starving, was so tragically out of touch with reality that she recommended they eat cake? Cake? “Hello lady, we’ve got starving people here!”
“Hello? Hello, Lucy, we’ve got needy people here today.” But aren’t we all truly needy -- in different ways, perhaps -- but aren’t we all needy, sinful, broken people? Yes, I have been materially blessed all my life and I thank the Lord for that -- but needy? Definitely, yes. The question of being a good steward is a daily challenge for me.
But all I can write about, all I’m qualified to speak on, are situations that I’ve experienced by the grace of God, hopefully some of the truths I’ve thus far gleaned, might be universal ones. I am a slow learner so I have to repeat the lessons over and over again, lest I forget. I’m just one pilgrim sharing her journey with another. One of those truths, I believe, is that retreat time is necessary for everyone in his or her journey with the Lord. We all need a retreat, whether it is a fantastic one, like I’ve just experienced, or a day away at a lake or a park or a church. Best of all, it can be a quiet “sit” daily in a place of your own choosing. It might be a favorite chair or, literally, a closet where you can sit in the dark and be still and pray and listen and allow our Lord to love you and you can listen and love Him, too.
I don’t think He cares about the location as much as the intentions of our hearts. Do we really yearn, pray to be His and to be with Him more than anyone else in the world? There is an occasional homesick-like feeling, one that gnaws at your heart, and we want to love Him more deeply. And then other times, we feel like a sham and we think there’s no way we can draw near to the throne. We’re not worthy and, worst of all, we don’t want to give up control.
Our Lord God is a merciful, just, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God. It is He who gave His Son to set all things right. It’s not dependent on my meager efforts of worship or prayer or trying to live a gospel life. I fail miserably, daily. The constant is not me, but Him -- He alone will get this fat camel through the “eye of the needle.” He alone will make me His bride. He alone will call me forth into becoming a new creature. I’m just a babe on the walk, but a babe held in His all-encompassing arms. I depend totally on Him and Him alone for the victory. I am but dust. My prayer is to draw me nearer, Lord Jesus, to You. May Your love act as a magnet pulling me forth into becoming totally Yours.
My friend in Christ, is this also your heart yearning prayer? He wants each one of us totally wherever we are, whatever our world involves. We are all so needy. We need Him in our lives.
Now I’ll try my best not to apologize any more for my life-style. It’s where I’m to flourish and blossom. I don’t know why I’m so fortunate, why I’m so blessed. I do daily get on my knees and say, “Thank you, Lord.” It hurts my heart to see pain and poverty and emptiness and loneliness all around. It hurts my heart to see the misuse of drugs and rampant crimes. It hurts my heart that children now are often living in fear instead of playing carefree. Divisions are everywhere -- economic, gender, race. It must grieve our Lord’s heart.
Someday “the Lion will lie down with the Lamb.” Someday our Lord will return. Someday. But our Lord Jesus said, “The kingdom is at hand right now.” The Holy Spirit is calling each one of us into the calm of being new creatures, new creations -- living like His beloved -- now. That will help the gleaming of our blue marbled planet. It will be now, don’t you think? And how does your garden grow?
As this plane heads for home, as this pilgrim heads one more day closer to her eternal home, I’d like to end my today’s visit with you by resting in the words of Isaiah in his prophecy of the peaceable kingdom -- that kingdom which is and is to come with our Lord’s reign. This is Isaiah 11, verses 1 through 9. A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse, from his roots a branch will bear fruit. The spirit of the Lord will rest on him. The spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of power, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. And he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes or decide by what he hears with his ears, but with righteousness, he will judge the needy. With justice, he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth. With the breath of his lips, he will strike the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness a sash around his waist. The wolf will lie down with the lamb. The leopard will lie down with the goat. The calf and the lion and the yearling together and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of a cobra and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord and as the waters cover the sea.
My precious pilgrim, I am resting in these words as I journey home. Peace.