“Let us thus think often that our only business in this life is to please GOD, that perhaps all besides is but folly and vanity.” (Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God)
Having stepped away from full-time ministry, I find many of my days to be much the same, intermingled with spurts of activity and busyness which are the result of the part-time ministry role I took on nearly a year ago. Reflecting on this sameness, it occurred to me that it offers me benefits I hadn’t considered previously.
First, sameness offers me an opportunity to experience a fairly consistent rhythm of life well-suited to my spiritual wiring. It invites me into the quiet of stillness. Although I can’t place the source, I do recall seeing this, “It is only when we become quiet that we begin to hear.” I’m hearing things more deeply now, and in some cases, for the first time. Sometimes, it’s just the awareness of my own thoughts. Other times I’m better able to appreciate the sounds of nature around me. And when I am around people, I think I’m hearing better what they say, their spoken words and their unspoken words, the sounds of their heart. Best of all, I think the voice of GOD is coming to me with fresh clarity. Years ago, a spiritual director once asked me about how I tend to hear from GOD. I replied that it was through His Word. More and more, single words and phrases in Scripture have a power and presence of their own.
Second, this rhythm of sameness offers daily opportunity to commune with GOD, to meditate on Him and His grace and mercy, love and tenderness, wisdom and teachings, salvation and holiness. I have time to search my own heart, and to see myself in the mirror of His perfection. My thirst for Him grows, and I am drawn to Him. I want to be in His presence; I want to please Him. Psalm 42:1 uses the metaphor of a deer panting after water to express the psalmist’s hunger for GOD. I understand.
Finally, when I do have spurts of busyness, I have more of myself to give to others, including, I pray, understanding, something resembling wisdom, grace and patience. To the extent this is, it is because of how much He gives to me in the midst of daily sameness.
I know everyone’s spiritual wiring is different and the atmosphere that encourages contemplation is not everyone’s cup of tea, but each of us has those days of sameness, whether they are quiet or busy. Perhaps by adopting the attitude of Brother Lawrence, whose assigned role was to serve in the kitchen day-in and day-out, the sameness of stillness and quiet need not be boring and the sameness of daily busyness need not be overwhelming…GOD can be found in both if will seek Him.
© Byron L. Hannon, 2019. All rights reserved to text content.