“The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time.” – Francis Chan
The curtains wave in the breeze, and a dozen songbirds chatter on the lawn. I sit with iced tea and a craving for something I can’t quite name. It’s quiet time at our house – a designated hour of rest and silence. Caleb sleeps. Bekah plays quietly in her room, and I gaze into a long list of goals to achieve by the end of the week.
Francis Chan speaks through the computer screen. There’s a tent on the stage where he stands before a crowd – a red and white camping tent: a modern-day illustration of the place Moses once went to meet face-to-face with the Creator of the world. Francis speaks of the awe with which God’s people once approached him – how God spoke through thunder, lightning, and fire. He speaks of reverence and glory.
He says: “And what’s crazy to me is nowadays how we treat this time with God as ordinary or even burdensome – to where we try to squeeze in like five minutes at the end of our day, like I gotta try to get some time with him . . . I feel guilty ‘cause I only got like two or three minutes . . . And now it’s like a burden, and we have pastors that beg us . . . just give him a few minutes – just try, please, please.”
I think of our morning: me with coffee, racing through the daily Scripture reading, while Caleb murmured on the monitor. Just trying to get it done. I think of last evening: a chapter before bed, but my eyes glazing over and sleep settling in before I absorbed a single word. I think of all the times it feels more like one more chore on a long list than the greatest honor a human could ever receive: The Creator of the universe wants to meet with me.
And here I am giving him six minutes and checking it off the list. Six distracted minutes. Six minutes that were more about finding direction for my day and getting my needs met than actually connecting with his heart.
What if every time I opened my Bible, I actually expected God to speak to me? Doesn’t he? Isn’t there a promise that every verse is God-breathed? Isn’t there a promise that no word from this book will ever return empty?
I put down the list of tasks and silence the sermon from Francis. I open the Bible and expect God to speak. I read:
And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him. . . these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. (Psalm 56:6-7)
If I bind myself to the Lord, he will bring me joy. If I keep seeking, pursuing, and attending to him, he will bring me to his holy mountain. If I draw near to him, he will draw near to me.
I sit with the Book and the curtain and the songbirds. I don’t cross even one task off the to-do list. And somehow, when the quiet hour ends, it feels like I’ve accomplished the very best thing.
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Francis Chan, “Entering the Presence of God,” April 10, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdtNkjR-wFs