Hi, Rob here. Over the last week or two I’ve felt like my heart had started a winter hibernation. I was struggling to engage with life at home and at work. I was struggling to listen to my wife’s needs, let alone pursue her heart. I was struggling to hear God. I was treading water and I needed a lifeline. Now, this wasn’t because life was terribly hard or difficult circumstances had some our way. In fact I attended a couple of very worthwhile seminars, enjoyed church on Sunday, had good health and so on. The problem was I hadn’t been feeding my heart and it was beginning to starve.
This is where religiously-minded people might tell me that I should be having regular ‘Quiet Times.’ However, the problem was not a lack of bible reading or prayer. I’m a pastor; I have to do those things! No, instead it was a lack of hunger and thirst for the living God! It was an unwillingness to put aside the daily routines, the TV shows, the books (even Christian ones) for the intentional pursuit of Christ’s heart which dwells in me. Yes, I was tired but I’ve realised that is not an excuse. I allowed ‘tiredness’ to become ‘laziness.’ I wasn’t doing what was needed for my heart to come alive and that meant moving against all obstacles – spiritual, physical, emotional – that stood between me and the heart of God for me. Tiredness was one of those obstacles. You know what it’s like when you’re tired. There are a lot of things that you don’t ‘feel’ like doing, but if you don’t do anything then your heart becomes tired as well. What you need to do, you don’t feel like doing but you need to do it anyway. I didn’t feel like seeking God but I needed to.
So, what happened? God came looking for me instead. A friend and I had a long-standing appointment to play golf yesterday. Despite the weather warnings we decided to go for it. I played like a hack, it rained, the umbrella blew out but, boy, did I have a good time! God turned up and I can’t tell you exactly how, but he did. My heart started to come alive. It may have been the hint of adventure, of battling against adversity, but I was refreshed and ready for life again. I got back on the same wavelength with my wife and bonded with my sick kids this morning. I’m hungry for God again.
What does this little episode teach me and us? The first lesson is that we serve a God of grace. He met me even though I hadn’t taken the time or made much effort to seek him. He came for me anyway and rescued me from myself. Thank you Jesus. The second lesson is that if we want to look after our hearts we need to do what we need to do, not what we want to do! Even though God graciously came for me, he made the teaching very clear (like any good Father would!). Instead of seeking God and entrusting him my tiredness, I self-medicated and ignored him. Tiredness then engulfed me, inside and out, and my whole life suffered as a result. I became a poor husband and a disengaged dad and it’s scary how quickly it happened. It teaches me that the enemy is right there waiting to pounce on prey who aren’t alert. So lesson number three is this: “Stay alert! watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith (1 Peter 5:8-9).”
This is an everyday story. The spiritual battle rages even in the seemingly mundane areas of life. In fact, the mundane is our biggest danger! So, make the choice to feed your heart, to seek God and to stay alert. Choose life!