I am forever changed by grief, but grief is not the full measure of my life in Christ. “GLEANINGS from Claudia — The Abiding Life” posts explore this life attached to the One True Vine.
“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Isaiah 30:18
I’ve been enjoying a compressed time of study this week. The girls are on Spring Break and at the last minute were invited to spend the first couple of days of break on the family farm in Junction City. They were glad to go – farms tend to be very interesting places – and I was thankful for a time for them that will be inherently free from that ever-lurking cloud of boredom!
The study time is also a blessing to this introvert primarily because I have the privilege of teaching a session at Suburban’s Spring Retreat at the end of April. The theme of our retreat is “When We Listen” and I get to teach on hearing God’s voice. What an important and, I confess, intimidating topic! I’ve been using my concordance to look at all of the scripture I can on ‘hear’, ‘listen’, ‘said’, ‘speak’, ‘say’, etc., etc. In addition I’ve been reading various authors and gleaning what they have to say and the experiences they share regarding this topic.
I took a study break today to take a walk in the fine spring rain and get the cobwebs out of my brain. I carried with me a little notepad with Ephesians 1:18-23 and prayed it into the lives of people I love. I also spent some time with a quieted spirit after saying to the Lord ‘if there is anything you’d like to tell me, I’m listening.’ As I walked in that listening mode, I came upon a walker coming my way and smiled and said “hello!” Nearly immediately I heard an internal “the Lord bless you!” It nearly stopped me in my tracks. The concept of the Lord’s blessing has taken on iceberg proportions in my life over the last couple of years. There was a time in my life when ‘the Lord bless you’ would’ve meant all the ‘good’ things … health, happiness, material goods, a job, solid and loving relationships. While those ‘good’ things are still wrapped up in a blessing supplication, it now goes so much deeper. Blessing is about peace and joy in adversity, it is the wonder of knowing God in a profound and personal way because of tough times, it is open-handedly receiving from the hand of God the blessing only He can pour out no matter what life’s circumstances bring. And sometimes because of what life’s circumstances bring.
My spirit leapt at the chance to greet the next walker with this salutation supplication. I was on the watch now for people to bless. I prayed ‘the Lord bless you’ over the cars that went by and the people I saw in the distance. I have to laugh because this was one of the least peopled walks of my life in this neighborhood! We live in an area with great walking paths, but today most people traveled by some vehicle. As I rounded one of my last corners before home, I saw a man walking away from me turn back toward me and draw closer. When I was within earshot I engaged him with a smile, heard him say ‘hello’ and answered back ‘the Lord bless you!’
I hope to continue this practice and one of the reasons I’m writing this down is that my poor brain is prone to forget! I know the Lord longs to bless people and deeply desires to be in relationship with people … what a joy to pray that simple prayer into the lives of the people He longs to bless!
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9