We sometimes talk about putting verbs in our sentences, encouraging each other to act on what we have heard from the One whose words set a universe in motion. Yet sounds of his life-giving direction and creativity often seem to fall on deaf ears, perhaps our own, and the notion of personal application of the word through the Spirit’s quiet grace gets lost in the din of white noise within and without with barely a trace of movement where perseverance is curbed, where complacent apathy is learned instead.
Fresh difficulties may slow us down where all verbs are set aside except the ones which let us lie in dormant rest, hibernating from the hard realities we’d rather not face in the absence or disinclination towards hopefulness that darkness will be refurbished into light.
May the Lord warm you with his presence if you are feeling left out in the cold.
I wonder as I write how many of us serve where furnishings of leadership include being settled amidst verbal abusiveness against the word we’ve been asked to let fall into situations and relationships, where the air is crisp with resistance to make the changes necessary to turn divisions into embrace and uncover love from hate. It’s hard to move when snow mounds of icy words and opposition are left on the living branches of our call to stand tall in the reverencing of his word, but we are daily invited to watch for the Son to delight us by transforming what first appears as only more things to deal with into lovely new expressions of beauty and grace.
Years of spiritual growth may become hidden under the weight of challenges which perturb and ask us to integrate enduring truths falling through the long nights of January lows and devastating blows, and the disturbing truth is, we don’t always feel we have the energy to begin again. Seasonal snowfalls sometimes win and we or those we serve may sag under the heavy burdens they bring. Weariness of winter blurbs and pep talks which do not resonate with this season of our lives settles in and shapes or reshapes our focus. We hang low and become lulled to sleep, in danger of being frozen in time now passed, cast in irrelevance, and to all appearances, dead.
And still, the still small voice of God waits to be received and crown us with new life.
‘Wake us, Lord. Gently shake the clouds of grey and make us see your face again.’
For those of us whose sense of call is to verbalize the written word and give it form in the normal day in day out of our lives, to let it hang in silence as a witness whispering and pointing to the refreshing showers of grace which fall as a result of turning to him, we pray it will reverberate in hearts and minds and souls until it does the work it is designed to do, suffused with full returns of joy at its suburb power to change lives.
Are there a few verbs in our sentences which need to change in order to position ourselves to receive this grace?
“For the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55: 10-11)
‘Lord, refurbish us with verbs which will enable us to know your filling at all times so we still offer seeds of gospel hope wherever we are found. Send your gusts of Spirit Wind to blow away the ache of holding on when you are the one ready to hold onto us, ready to provide our daily needs. May all that falls into our lives be held in balanced perspective as we find you holding out the word of life in every storm.
We fly to you. No more distance, but a steady insistence that our lives are in your hands.
Cover us with your love to see your grace on every branch, in every phrase. Amen.’