I guess it happens to all of us at one time or another. We believe God is capable of doing something. We expect Him to do it, trust Him to do it…and He doesn’t. Feels kinda like the anticipation of waiting for a hot date and finally realizing you’ve been stood up.
Yesterday, I wanted to spend some time just being alone with the Lord. He gave me an absolutely perfect day for it. A deep blue sky, brilliant sunlight, and temperatures in the mid-60’s with an occasional cool breeze prompted me to head to a nearby park where there’s a man-made lake. I tend to feel closer to God near a lake than anywhere else.
I brought my Bible and a notebook, just in case I wanted to write down anything He might say. I should have brought a beach chair but eventually I found a large rock to sit on where I could enjoy the view
I marveled at the ducks swimming past, at the colors and patterns in their feathers. A flock of buzzards added some drama as they chased each other and fought over some morsel of food. They’d splash in the water, then stand on land with their great wings outspread, backs to the sun, letting their feathers dry. In a weird sort of way, they looked like a congregation clothed in choir robes holding their arms out.
I read Psalms that praised God for his creation, and admired the cypress trees with their needles turning orange, the deep red leaves of Chinese tallows. It was an enjoyable hour. But I couldn’t help feeling disappointed as I walked back to my car. I’d asked God to speak to me. I’d listened for His voice, ridding my heart and mind of all other cares and concerns.
Did God have nothing to say to me? No word of wisdom, or rebuke, or instruction? Had I wasted my time?
It certainly felt like it, until I examined my motive. I’d said I was going out to just spend time with the Lord. That was my priority, but somewhere along the way, it became more important to hear from Him. As usual, I’d expected something from Him rather than just enjoying His presence.
I thought of my closest friendships. While we are never at a loss for things to talk about, words are not necessary between the best of friends. Silence is not uncomfortable between two people who understand and accept each other just the way they are.
I’m not there yet. Not with God, anyway. I haven’t learned yet how to simply enjoy His presence without expecting something in return. But I’ll keep trying, keep practicing.
Next time I’ll remember to bring a chair and leave my expectations at home.