I was awakened by the noise.
It was a dull roar.
People were everywhere, all frantically engaged in tasks.
On one side of the room, a woman dug through a closet, pulling out articles of clothing. Some she rejected outright, tossing them over her shoulder. Others she held in front of her, arms extended with a considering look. Constant motion. Constant evaluation.
In another corner of the room, a woman knelt on the floor, surrounded by maps, guidebooks, and itineraries. She was taking notes, frantically flipping between pieces of paper, scratching her head and muttering, “Where? When?”
And then there were two others, people I recognize as friends, in another corner, standing back to back with scowls on their faces and folded arms. While there were no words spoken, the very air around them was icy and thick with tension.
In yet another space, a woman sat rocking in front a blank computer screen. As I looked closer, I realized it was a Word document, all ready to go, with the cursor blinking but no words on the screen. She looked dazed, overwhelmed and lost in deep thought.
Standing in the midst of all this was another woman, this one with a long, long list in her hands. It looked like something you would see in a movie about Santa Claus, a long scrolling document that piled onto the floor. She had a pen in hand and was muttering, “How am I going to get all of this done??”
And then there was the money counter. Sitting on the floor, she was surrounded by bills, bank statements and a tiny pile of cash. She kept sorting the cash into piles and then checking her documents, a calendar and a tally sheet. She was shaking her head, muttering, “Never quite enough to do it all, is there?”
Scattered around the room were boxes and bags, all with labels on them. One said, “Friend”. Another said, “Daughter.” A third said, “Good Neighbor.” There were even boxes labeled, “Tell the World” and “Ministry”. So many boxes and bags! They all looked very heavy as they cluttered up the spot.
I tell you, it was chaos.
No wonder I woke up!
But as I scanned the room, I heard a familiar voice call my name.
“Bring them to Me”, He said softly.
I didn’t have to ask what He meant.
We have been friends for a very long time.
So I started to do as He asked.
One by one, I went to each person in the space. Each box. Each bag.
And I led or carried them to the throne in the center of the room.
Where He sat, with arms wide open.
I must say, some of them fought back!
They resisted my attempts to bring them to Him, struggling in my arms as I took them captive.
But, one by one, they all came.
And one by one, I laid them at His feet.
Now you would think with all that I just described it would be a huge pile.
But it really wasn’t.
As I brought each item, each person, each thought to Him, they actually began to shrink.
Or did He just get bigger?
Either way, when I had finished, the room was still.
And as I looked into His smiling eyes, all of those things grew dimmer and dimmer until I could hardly tell they were there.
Where there had been chaos, now there was joy.
Where there had been confusion, now there was peace.
Where there had been worry, now there was comfort.
With a sigh, I went into His open arms, laid my head on his chest, and relaxed.
I fly to Chicago for a conference on Thursday.
What should I pack? What should I wear? I want comfortable clothes but I also want to make a good impression. What will travel well? Will I be warm enough? Or too hot?
Where should we go in Chicago? We have a very limited time window to do some sight-seeing and some restrictions to what we can do. How should we go? Train? Uber? Cab?
I have friends in conflict with each other. More than one set, actually. I want to be a peacemaker but I don’t want to interfere. I need wisdom to know what to do, what to say, and what not to say.
And then there is this journey as a writer. What to blog about? How can I reach your heart? And what are my next steps in the journey towards being published? What is wise? What risks should I take?
I have 48-hours to accomplish everything I need to do before I get on the plane. Be ready for Sunday. Be ready for the conference. Be ready for life here and there, both now and when I return.
And, of course, money. There is never enough, is there? Should I purchase that? Give to this cause? How am I going to pay off that debt? And save for retirement? How can I do that?
Finally, there is life. The daily grind. Responsibilities. Roles. Obligations. Burdens I willingly accept – but burdens nonetheless.
These things – ALL of these things – and more – are why I MUST have a daily time with God.
I have to.
Because I cannot do one blessed thing about one blessed thing in my life.
I cannot be wise without Him.
I cannot be protected without Him.
I cannot have peace without Him.
I cannot have strength without Him.
I cannot fill all of my roles without Him.
I cannot do life without Him.
And the beautiful, glorious thing is that I do not have to!
He is always willing to take my burdens.
His arms are always open to receive my concerns.
He has all the wisdom, protection, peace, and strength that I need.
Not to mention all the other resources that He has promised in His Word.
All I have to do is humble myself before Him.
Admit that I cannot.
But that He can. (I Peter 5)
And then bring every thought captive to Him. (2 Corinthians 5)
Not just during my morning time with Him.
But throughout the day.
Praying before I answer the phone.
Praying my way through a conversation.
Praying as I drive.
Praying through every meeting.
Praying like it is breathing.
Constantly in, out, in, out.
As necessary to my soul as oxygen is to my lungs.
Not long, wordy, eloquent speeches with just the right words to capture His attention.
But simply constant communication with my Dad.
Inviting Him into my day first thing.
And clinging to His hand through every moment of it.
When I do that, my heart goes from chaos to calm.
Regardless of what is happening around me.
Because, when I do that, I am constantly surrendering to the Prince of Peace.
Exalting Him instead of my problems.
Focusing on His goodness instead of my concerns.
And letting Him do what He does best – being God Alone.
God Most High.
The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Of all things. Including me.
My prayer for you – and me – today is that we will have the grace to “take every thought captive to Christ”, to “pray without ceasing” and to “Humble ourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift us up in due time, casting all our anxiety on Him because He cares for us.”