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Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Daily Devotions for Difficult Days [92] Search Me


Today's Guest Devotional is by Amy Mullens

Moss and Weeds

Outside the Worcester Cathedral there is a centuries old stone walkway.  In between the stones there should be sand.  However, over time, the sand has been worn, blown and sifted away.  In its place there is dirt, rubbish and grime.  Moss and weeds inevitably have managed to grow in those cracks as well. 

During the Covid-19 lockdown, the caretaker of the Cathedral has utilised the absence of his regular duties to clean out what is in between the walkway’s stones and to fill in those spaces with the sand that should rightfully be there.  Using a long thin metal instrument, he has painstakingly dug out muck that must be decades old.   This tedious job has occupied weeks of his time.  For his sake, I hope he was able to dislodge enough loose change to afford some tea and cake when the cafés reopeng! Living close to the Cathedral, I have had the chance to watch his progress and to think about the nature of this job.  He told us that he never would have gotten to this task had it not been for the lockdown.  My mind went to the cracks and crevices of my heart and I couldn’t help but think about how God may want to use this unique time to clean out and refill in me.


Sand instead of moss and dirt

Search Me O God

“See if there is any offensive way in me. . .” is a line from David’s prayer found in Psalm 139:24.  Schooling my children at home during these days has certainly exposed how impatient I am capable of being.  My introverted desire for time alone has crossed over the line into territory deemed selfish on days when my family was all together all the time.  I am ashamed to admit that a narrative of self-pity spun around my head as feeding children felt constant and the dishes piled up endlessly.  These and other struggles are things that I knew about myself prior to lockdown.  The added stress of being responsible for my children receiving an education, sibling squabbles and the uncertainty of this time has highlighted my weaknesses.  Each day, I pray for God to show me how to navigate my life in gentler, kinder and more generous ways.

The metal awl dug in between those stones and I thought about deeper things inside of me that may take more work to route out.  On the many walks of this lockdown, there has been the space to process things.  Hurts of the past that were not completely worked through when life moved on, have now been afforded the time to be reexamined.  Have I fully forgiven those who have hurt me?  Is there grime of bitterness stuck inside of me?  Can I dig out and surrender to God those things that I still want to say in my defense, trusting that one day, he will wipe away all of the tears? (Revelation 21:4)  Ephesians 4:32 reads:  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  What portions of pride to I need to hand over to my Heavenly Father in order to extend the kind of forgiveness that he has lavishly given to me?

C.S. Lewis said:  “. . .all schemes of happiness that centered on this world, were always doomed to a final frustration.”  Are there things that I want, am striving for or have fixated on that are centered on the ideals of this world and its values?  Taking a look at how I spend my time now that life is less hectic reveals what matters to me.  When we were not allowed to travel far from home, there were days that I felt trapped and unsettled.  Is that frustration tied to something that I want to avoid about staying put and being still?  Is perhaps restlessness really a fear of being available to hear from God?

The normal, everyday schedule has been wiped clean, so it is an appropriate time to think about what used to fill my days.  Before I am able to make choices about what activities are to be invited back to fill my life, I have asked myself:  Why did I do the things that I had been doing?  Were the occupations that filled my time, the things that I have been called to or were they just expectations that others have placed upon me?  Long chats and deeper relationships with our neighbours, friends and family are a priority that I want to maintain when life goes back to normal.  Something will have to give way in order for that to happen.  The rest that has filled my heart through having days free from any obligation have brought health to my soul.  Am I going to be able to say “no” sometimes in order to maintain that kind of space in my life?  Has there been moss filling in the space of my time that is really just that – filler?  Are there weeds of pride mixed in with the reasons for my past activities?

Taking Time to Reflect

Taking the time for introspection in this way has allowed the Holy Spirit to move in my heart and not only remove ugly dirt, but to also fill me with God’s perspective, love and grace.  When Jesus was telling his followers about who the Holy Spirit is, he said, “. . . when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” (John 16:13)  I desire to understand God’s truth concerning who I am, my relationships and my motivations.

One day, I do believe that life will be “normal” again.  Until then, let’s commit to making the most of the remaining lockdown days by digging in deep with God, praying as David did:  “See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”  (Psalm 139:24)          

Song for the Day

Search me, oh God
Reveal my heart
Expose my sin that it may be confessed
Search me, oh God
Unveil each thought
And leave no hidden motive unaddressed

Uncover every action born in pride
Show me the worldly ways I still embrace
May every anxious thought be brought to light
And each unspoken fear with faith replaced

Search me, oh God
Observe my life
Bring to my mind each idle word I speak
Search me, oh God
Test my resolve
And alert me where you find it weak

Reveal all weakened walls within my soul
Show me potential dangers unforeseen
Then clothe my conscience with your holiness
Help me guard it well and keep it clean

Search me, oh God
That I may walk in peace
Filled with the joy of knowing all is well
My heart surrendered and my conscience clean
So great a joy my tongue can scarcely tell
Oh what a joy to know that all is well

Steve Green

 You can listen HERE.

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Heavenly Father, please examine my heart and my life. 

Bring to my attention priorities, fixations and ideals that are not in keeping with Jesus Christ. 

Show me the places of my story that are still marred by unforgiveness and bitterness. 

Free me to free others who I am holding an offense against.

Please fill in those places with your healing grace.

Enable me to emerge from this unique time cleansed from sin, poor choices and misplaced values.

Lead me in the way everlasting.

Amen

 Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

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