We took our Sabbath slow and measured yesterday, returning home in the evening to spend some time in the budding garden.
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
– Isaiah 26:3, ESV
This weekend was a difficult one, and my words are all pared down in its wake. In it, I came to realize how a mind not made steadfast by trust can go to pieces.
Only on a few occasions have I really read the Word of God as if my life depended on it; these past few days have been one, and the unusually long readings from II Samuel and I Chronicles have called attention to the chain effects that lead up to catastrophe.
A man named Uzzah once reached out to steady the ark of God after David retrieved it from the Philistines, and was struck dead. The punishment seems harsh; the oxen stumbled — should he have let it fall? But the ark was on a new cart, and not being transported according to the directions God had previously given. The circumstances surrounding Uzzah’s irreverent act (2 Sam. 6:7) stretched back to the very beginning of the journey.
Then, “in the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. . . . But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing.” (2 Sam 11:1-2) The rest is sober history.
In both cases, disobedience led to catastrophe.
So it is with the toxin of unbelief. The calamity of failing to trust God begins much earlier than the moment of crisis — for me, often at the stage of letting His voice become crowded out by traumatic news, by opinion pieces, and by human words that color life with well-spun eloquence but not enough truth. Is it little wonder, then, that I find others’ reminders of His love and our call to live courageously to sometimes be cold comfort in times of need? Or that I taste the salt-stung terror of being on the high seas in a storm, looking on the face of my God and wondering if He cares? I’ve had many good reminders lately that a life of faith is only as strong as its contact with truth — its choice to walk in His light (1 John 1:5-10) — and this last was the heaviest.
So the weeks ahead will be ones of slow rebuilding and recovery, beginning simply with making space in my life to read the Word of God (with His help) far more often than the events that flash by in our news and blog feeds and the “spins” that accompany them, beautiful and worthy though they may be. Already I’m finding Aslan to be bigger than I had perceived Him in my daily peripheral vision.
Slow and deliberate are thus the watchwords of this Monday in my corner, friends… how are things going in yours?