I was feeling pretty wound up this morning when I got into the office.
I am sure you know the feeling.
I had been out of the office for just one day and it seemed like there was an Everest of paperwork all needed doing ready for the next lot of meetings. The answerphone was full of messages that needed attending too. To make matters worse, I was about to lead devotions at our homeless project and had no idea what I was to say!
I decided just to read something comforting from Psalms;
The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit
(Psalm 34 vs. 18)
“That will do” I said. It is comforting, encouraging and will lead nicely into prayer. I put the bookmarks in my Bible and prepared to rush on to retrieve the paperwork I had left on the photocopier.
It was at that point, I felt that God almost “grabbed me by the scruff of my neck”!
I stopped for a moment and I really felt God was speaking to me just from the words at the start of that verse;
The Lord is close…
“Do you believe that, do you know that?” I just felt Him ask.
In truth, the biggest reality was the stress and pressure I was feeling at that moment in time. But, instead of helping me to do more, God seemed to be asking me to stop. I then picked up a devotional book and read the passage for tomorrow (yes, I was so stressed I got the date wrong!). Here is what I read;
We listen to sermons and homilies affirming the benefits of a life of communion with God, but somewhere deep down we really believe it is action, not prayer, that will satisfy our needs. We may think that prayer is good when there is nothing more important to do, but we have strong reservations and doubts about Gods’ effectiveness in our world, of God’s personal interest in us. We are no longer conscious of God-with-us
(Henri Nouwen – Clowning in Rome)
That was it! I had, somewhere along the line, stopped being aware of God’s presence with me and that is what God was seeking to remind me. It was amazing, as soon as I reached out to God, He was there and the stress was gone.