(SLOW Word at the bottom. Remember, every Monday and Thursday there will be a Lectio Divina right here. Let’s savor the Word together.)
Perhaps you’d like to read in the quiet. I get that. Or perhaps you are like my sister and you want to be read to today:) I get that too. I’ve got you covered. Check out the very bottom of this page.
“You are painting a picture without God in it.” My mother was a month from moving day when those words were spoken to her, lifted up before her like a mirror. Dad’s work had moved eight hours away. So like it or not, there would be a moving truck parked in front of the house they had just built and all their furniture would be hauled up a ramp and she would have to listen to the movers with their heavy, hollow, halting steps tramp up and down with pieces of her life. No family was waiting on the other side of the truck’s journey with a table long enough to receive them. No friend was waiting inside a screened door with a cup of coffee. She would need to start creating a life from scratch. Again.
She carried the heavy anxiety and brought it into Delores’ office for them both to turn over in their hands. Delores listened to the fear and then quietly spoke, “Beth, you are painting a picture without God in it.”
And we do that, don’t we? We walk into our day with a picture of what that day will hold…and it rarely has God painted into it. Our imagination mocks us with absence, not Presence. We allow fear to reign and forget that Christ the King is walking beside us. “I will never leave you or forsake you,” we were told in Hebrews 13:5. Jesus Himself gave this one last statement to the disciples to echo down through his disciples’ hearts for the centuries to come: “And surely I AM with you to the very end of the age,” (Matthew 28:30).
The picture of our future is completely different with God inside the frame. When Jesus is present, the picture of our future sparkles with light, with ungathered joys, and there is always a full table set.
Writer and preacher Gregory Boyd in Seeing is Believing says this, “If Christ IS with us, isn’t picturing Him present actually more true than picturing an existence without Him?”
Christ present is the promise.
Christ reigning is the truth.
Christ WITH us is the essence of His name: IMMANUEL.
And THIS, my Friends, changes everything.
But stay with me through this transition. Christ Present not only transforms our tomorrow, it changes how we do life today. Profoundly.
When we live picturing Christ present, we are saying yes to reality and framing our lives to fit the truth.
And here’s where this truth connects right here with the SLOW Word movement. When we create space to listen to the word, WITH the WORD, the scriptures come alive. Try it. Try offering Jesus a seat at the table across from you and looking into His eyes as you hear Jesus ask Peter before the betrayal: “Will you really lay down your life for me?” (John 13:38). Ouch.
Or try, again looking into His eyes, “If you love me, you will do what I command,” (John 14:15) and see what rises in your soul.
Or perhaps try today’s SLOW Word, “Come to Me and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28-29).
When you are looking into Jesus’ eyes, the Word of God begins to vibrate with intensity and no longer sits still on the page. It BREATHES. It no longer lies flat. You can no longer pass over to the other side unchanged. The Word is now sitting there between the two of you and it becomes a vital part of the ongoing conversation of your life.
This verse from the writer of Hebrews awakens us to the truth: “The Word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart,” (Hebrews 4:12). Looking into His eyes, awake to His Presence in the present, I ask His Spirit to do His SLOW work, renewing my mind, teaching me to place Him in the frame of my reality, and transforming me through His Word.
(Subscribe on the right to receive more practical keys to the WITH God life and more SLOW Words. And if this, dear friend, is a gift for you, share it with someone you know who may need the encouragement. Set the table for someone else.)