I am writing this devotion from a tree stand. No, it is not hunting season. I come here when I can to meditate and pray, although not as often as I would like. Unless you wander off the beaten path, you would not know this place is here. Modern technology just amazes me. Other than the bugs attracted to the light from the screen, it is cool! Thus far I have seen a rabbit, three turkeys, two deer and two long-legged turkeys. (One time my wife excitingly pointed our turkeys in a field because usually I see them first. I unfortunately had to douse her excitement and explained to her that those were sandhill cranes. Since then we refer to them as long-legged turkeys 😊.) It is so peaceful and serene and renewing. It is my garden.
“It made sense, after someone explained it to me, why our high school football coach would always disappear in the middle of the third quarter. I remember during my first game on the varsity squad, I looked up from the sidelines (where I spent most of my time) and noticed that he was gone. (It was a lot quieter.) I couldn’t figure out what had happened. I was afraid the other team had kidnapped him. Or maybe he had gotten sick on his chewing tobacco. So, I asked a senior “sideliner.” (They know everything.) ‘Where’s the coach?’ I asked, thinking I was the only one to notice his absence, which made me feel important. ‘In the press box,’ he answered. ‘Getting coffee?’ I asked. ‘No, getting perspective.’
Now that makes sense, doesn’t it? There’s no way a coach can really keep up with the game from the sidelines. Everyone yelling advice. Parents complaining. Players screaming. Cheerleaders cheering. Sometimes you’ve got to get away from the game to see it. Occasionally we need to try that ourselves, too. How vital it is that we keep a finger on the pulse of our own lives. How critical are those times of self-examination and evaluation? Yet it’s hard to evaluate ourselves while we’re in the middle of the game: schedules pressing, phones ringing, children crying.
I’ve got a suggestion. Take some press-box time. Take some time (at least half a day) and get away from everything and everyone. Take your Bible and a notebook and get a press-box view of your life. Are you as in tune with God as you need to be? What about your goals in life? Perhaps some decisions need to be made. Spend much time in prayer. Meditate on God’s Word. Be quiet. Now, I’m not talking about a get-away-from-it-all day where you shop, play tennis, and relax in the sun (although such times are needed, too). I’m suggesting an intense, soul-searching day spent in reverence before God and in candid honesty with yourself. Write down your life story. Reread God’s story. Recommit your heart to your Maker. I might mention that a day like this won’t just happen. It must be made. You’ll never wake up just happen to have a free day on your hands. You’ll have to pull out the calendar, elbow out a time in the schedule, and take it. Be stubborn with it. You need the time. Those around you need you to take this time. Getting some press-box perspective could change the whole ball game.” (Max Lucado, On the Anvil)
I remember being told in our new pastor orientation that one of the most important things we can do for our congregation and ourselves is to “go to the garden”. Jesus regularly went off to pray and spend time in solitude and there was closer to God. I know I need to do it more but, like most of us, we are always busy. However, when I do take the time it is invigorating and revitalizing! Wherever your garden might be, it is essential. When we do not spend time with God, little things become big things and then we feel overwhelmed. Now is a good time to reflect and spend some time with God. (I must go before these little things – mosquitos – become more things! God bless and God’s got this!