“In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”” –Jeremiah 29:12-14 NLT
The summer of 2018 has been warm and dry at my house. While other places around Springfield have received sporadic rains, the place I live, just south of Strafford, has known wind, clouds, thunder and lightening, but no rain.
The grass is brown, the ground is parched. The markers of rain – the wind, clouds, thunder and lightening – appear but are swept away. Leaving behind a deepening dryness.
As we have been moving through the Psalms this summer, I hope you have observed how the Psalmist takes note of what is happening in the events of the whole world and views events and happenings (in the political, physical, natural, emotional, and mental world) not just on their surface, but as part of a deep walk with God.
As I reflect on the markers of rain, but the lack thereof, and the gaining dryness, I’m struck by the reality that our souls can have this same experience. The markers of a storm can be my own attempts to make things happen, or do stuff in God’s name, but on my timing. Or it could be my paying attention to secondary details and missing what really matters.
At the end of the day, what the ground really needs is the rain, the water that refreshes. What my soul needs is the life giving presence of God. My soul needs to be found in the life of God. When I’m dry, I take comfort in God’s promise through Jeremiah to us – “seek me, seek me with your whole heart, then you’ll find me.”
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, described some ways he sought God, by attending to the ordinary way God is found. God, Wesley said, is often found in these places:
- In the public worship of God
- In the ministry of the Word – hearing scripture read and expounded upon
- In receiving the Lord’s Supper
- In Family and Private Prayer
- In Searching the Scriptures (a daily plan of scripture engagement)
- In Fasting or abstinence
(Source: The Nature, Design, and General Rules of Our United Societies).
The summer can be a great time of soul and family refreshment. It can also be a season of dryness – if you find yourself in a dry place – listen to the invitation of God – seek Him. Don’t settle for anything else than Jesus who said of himself, “I am the living water (John 4).”
I am looking forward to Sunday; we will wrap up the Psalms Greatest Hits series. I recommend you download the Schweitzer App to your phone or tablet and take a listen to 10 Psalms as they have been set to a variety of new musical tunes. Our creative team has given us a true gift.
Much love to you