Hide ‘n Seek

hide n seek

One of our favorite places to play hide and seek was the old cemetery up on the hill, amid the forest of eucalyptus trees. The best days were when the fog came rolling densely over the coastal hills and spilled amongst the trees. The fright-level was fantastic, especially as evening approached and it started to get dark.

We always used the same statue as our base. I would hide behind a tree or gravestone, far from the statue but still within sight. When the kid who was “it” went searching in the other direction, I would scamper from one gravestone to the next, working my way toward the statue. Maybe I looked like John Belushi in “Animal House,” sneaking up to the girls’ dorm in the middle of the night. Anyway, if I got to the statue before “it” spotted me, I was safe.

I didn’t see the symbolism in what we were doing until a few decades later, when I remembered that our base was a statue of Jesus. When we make it to Jesus, we are safe.

jesus statue

My Mind Adrift

mind adrift

Routine – it brings me peace. I have certain times of the day when I can break away from the chaos of life and quietly focus my mind of the Holy Spirit within me. And there I find peace. But when my routine is broken, it’s hard to find those quiet times, and it can feel like my connection with God is broken as my mind drifts away.

The past six days were filled with travel, visits with old friends, my wife’s college homecoming, sleeping in five different beds in five different cities, great food, good wine and beer, and even some tasty scotch. Though I grabbed many brief moments to say hi to God, I felt like we were drifting apart. I didn’t like the feeling. I worried that it might be difficult to gain the close connection again.

God reminded me of something on the five-hour drive home yesterday. He never intended to let the two of us drift apart. He patiently waited for me to look again to Him. And He was right there where I last saw Him, within my heart and with my soul. Nothing was lost, the connection was not broken. God’s love is too strong to let me drift away. And I’m so grateful. Thank you Lord for always being here, within me.

trust God

I want to live more in the present, with my focus on the Holy Spirit of God within me, sharing my present with me. The other day I wrote about my tendency to live in the future (see it here). Right after posting that, it occurred to me that living in the present, and not trying to pre-plan my future, is a way of trusting God with my future.

Trusting God has been frequently on my mind lately. Now I’ve found another way to show my trust – leave the future to Him. Live in the present, with Him. And He continues to open my mind to the simple truths that make such a difference to my life. I’m so grateful. Thank you Lord.

When God went Quiet

God went quiet

This morning, while letting the coffee cup warm my hands as my mind chatted with God, I thought about how I need His presence in my life. I depend on His presence, and I found myself again wondering how lost I would be without a sense of His presence. The other day I wrote about what happens when God goes quiet in my life (see it here).

It’s been a long time since I felt no sense of God, and in that time I’ve grown to lean on Him more. Imagining what it might be like to lose Him, I felt like curling up on the floor and shutting down. Life is just too hard to try to deal with on my own.

All of this negative thinking then reminded me of a powerful, yet sometimes lost truth. The sense of dread I feel around the idea of losing Gods presence is nothing compared to what Jesus felt that night in the olive grove, just hours before His arrest, torture and death.

As Jesus hung on the cross, moments away from death, with the sins of the entire world piling onto his bloody back, God went quiet. Jesus paid the ultimate penalty for sin – separation from God. For the first time in eternity, the Son was alone, without the presence of His Father. The physical pain may have been nothing compared to the emotional and spiritual pain.

Think of someone you feel you cannot live without. Now take them away. How does it feel now? Jesus felt so much worse. So did His Father. And they willingly endured the pain, all for their love for us.

His Child

His child

It’s taken me a long time to understand the nature of my relationship with God. Yet when the truth of it finally opened my eyes, it overwhelmed me. God wants to be a Father to me! The parent-child relationship is so nurturing and intimate, and that’s what the creator of all that exists wants for me. And you. Wow!

As Paul stated, “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer slaves, but God’s children; and since you are his children, he has made you also heirs.” (Galatians 4:4-7)

“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18)

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)

When God goes Quiet

God quiet

There have been times in my past, where God seemed to go quiet, where I had no sense of His presence in my life. Those are the worst of times.

I now realize that when God went quiet, that was when I sought Him more earnestly. Maybe God goes quiet in my life on purpose. Because every time that happens, and every time I seek Him more earnestly, He seems to come back into my life more fully, and He always feels closer than before. The quiet times are always followed by stronger times, where our relationship feels more solid and certain.

My sense is that God is coaching me along in our relationship, in a personalized way that He knows will work with me. He may interact differently with you.

It seems like it’s been a long time since God felt quiet in my life. I’m now at a point where I cannot imagine living without a sense of His presence. I’ve come to rely on God so much that I can’t handle living without Him. I now feel like He will never go quiet again. And I’m so grateful. Thank you Lord.

Living in the Future

living in the future

I live too much in the future. My mind spends too much time imagining where I would like to be someday and what I would like to be doing. Or, I rehearse a confrontation with someone at work, a confrontation that will likely never happen. I’ve noticed I spend a lot of time rehearsing future interactions with people. And almost all of those never take place.

Yesterday my mind left work, which has been miserable lately, and went on one of its trips to fantasyland, to my dream job somewhere in the future. Maybe my mind was trying to escape the junk that was going on at work. But I didn’t escape the stress. I brought the stress right along with me. And I noticed that thinking about what I don’t have – my dream job – added to my sense of stress.

Then this thought hit me (which I certainly believe came from God)… instead of thinking about what I don’t have, think about what I DO have. What do I have? I have the constant presence of the Holy Spirit of God and Jesus within me. And I had a great day yesterday, frequently turning my mind toward what I do have.

So I’m trying to start this morning by keeping my mind in the present, on what I do have – my constant companion. And no matter where my mind might wander during the day, I know He will be waiting for me to come back to Him. And I’m so grateful. Thank you Lord.

Merging Traffic

Poems by Dennis Ference

Flirting with Eternity

Seeking and searching for The Holy in this ordinary everyday life.



J.S. Park

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