Thirty years ago, I hit the proverbial wall in my walk with Christ. My family was breaking up before my eyes and with it my “identity” as a pastor, a husband, and a father. Everything was far beyond my control and there was no consolation to be found from family or friends. But from within there was an impulse that got me walking out of doors late at night, and all I could think to do was look up at the stars. Could God have been the mover behind such an impulse? I’d like to think He might have been. Has such a thing ever been recorded in Sacred Scripture (Genesis 15:5)?
I used to refer to those walks as “looking up walks.” I didn’t know anything about “burning bush” experiences in my life, or developing spiritual rhythms that not only provide rest but time to spend with God. (I’m learning NOT to come into God’s presence with an agenda!) Sure, I had a discipline of morning devotions in the Word and in prayer, but this was different. It was just me in the presence of El Shaddai. Strangely, I grew to love those walks, listening and then talking to a really big BIG God. It developed into a habit I maintained for several years. I hated it when it rained, because I selfishly coveted those evening times in fellowship with my Creator. It was during those times that God did heal my spirit, and helped me deal with the broken pieces, but mostly it was about His presence and about spending time with Him. I was His and He was mine! How awesome it was to know I belonged to Him?
Perhaps you are familiar with the old devotional, Streams in the Desert. In one of my favorite readings, I found these words attributed to George Pardington, “Waiting upon God is necessary in order to see Him, to have a vision of Him. The time element in vision is essential. Our hearts are like a sensitive photographer’s plate, and in order to have God revealed there, we must sit at His feet a long time. The troubled surface of a lake will not reflect an object” (Cowman, 1925, p. 73). Love those pictures!
Maybe you are like me, sometimes lamenting the kind of life that just doesn’t slow down. I thank God for my wife, Lynn. She knows how to slow me down, remind me to refresh my soul, and prioritize. But the flesh wants me going, going, going! And if I let it, I cannot see my Lord in a “burning bush” or during a “looking up walk,” or anywhere else. So now I’m thinking, maybe I need to resume an old habit, the rhythm of those “looking up walks.” Who knows, there might be another “burning bush” along the way.