Saturday, November 12, 2011

"I want an Oak Tree"

This week has had so many blessings. It's amazing how I feel God's hand in my life. I came to a realization today.. I don't spend enough time with God. Whether it be reading his word, praying, or just sitting in silence listening for his voice.
Saturday mornings are my favorite mornings. I go to an English Bible Study. Sarah leads the lesson, there is usually four other women, and myself. As mentioned in my prior blog- we are studying from a Ray Vander Laan book and DVD.
Today's video was great. I don't even know if that is the right word to describe it- let me think about what word would be better... It was powerful. Ray presented us with simple truths, biblical images and understanding, and finally a reassuring promise from God. The whole study is focused on walking with God in the desert. The imagery studied today included a shrub and its shade. Ray told us about how in the desert there are these trees/shrubs- Rotem , that provide shade from the intense heat of the desert. And with every lesson from Ray there is a parallel from something, maybe an object or word, in the Bible and our lives. He used this bush as a metaphor to describe how the sweltering heat of the desert can be exhausting but this bush provides some relief, some restoration because of the shade it produces.
When we walk through deserts, feeling burdened by the heat which leaves us exhausted, frustrated and uncomfortable, we need to look for 'shade'. God provides this shade. It may not be shade that diminishes all the heat, taking us out of the heat.. but enough to help us take another step, giving us strength to keep going on the path God is leading us down. God provided for the desert people, and for us, by saying hey- come sit under my tree! Then.. keep going, for I am with you.
Ray's closing words left us with this thought, God saying- Be strong and Courageous...oh, and sometimes I look like a broom tree.
The whole lesson I was thinking about my past, present and future. I felt myself internally thanking God for all the times he provided shade in my life. And how at times I demanded more shade, or passed by the shade being offered to me in the desert in order to search for 'better shade'. Sometimes it's hard to realize that the shade God provides is enough!
At times I find myself in a desert, maybe not a long, hard desert but a desert, and I inwardly wrestle, maybe grumble.. and I try to create my own shade. I was thinking about all this, overwhelmed by today's lesson, when I suddenly tuned into what other members of the Bible Study were sharing about the renewal and peace -shade- they find when they spend time with God. In his word, in prayer, in silence. Why don't I take more time to do this? Why do I let myself get caught up in checking off a list of things I feel I 'should' be doing, like reading scripture daily, praying, etc.. and why don't I just sit in silence and let myself be immersed in God's word, in his promises. I love talking, so why don't I take immediate joy in talking to my heavenly father? Or wait to listen for his reply.
I remember in this past year, when I was going through the biggest desert of my life, that I loved just being with God. I longed and desired to be in his word, to talk to him, and just sit in silence with him.. this is where I found my only hope and comfort- shade- when I was in my severest desert. I long to have that desire and reliance on God every day, walking in a valley or desert!
I decided that I want and need to start purposely setting aside a longer amount of time to be with God. Just in silence with him. To let him provide renewal in my every day life- because renewal is needed every day.. God's grace, peace and hope is something I need to cultivate time and time again. I have a tendency to start leaning on my own understanding, but this is useless.
There is so much more I could say about today's lesson.. but, I'll sum it up with these few words- Stop asking for an Oak tree and sit under the shade of the broom tree... it's enough, I promise.

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