That is a temperate and righteous love which practices self-denial in order to minister to a brother’s necessity. So our selfish love grows truly social, when it includes our neighbors in its circle.Bernard of Clairvaux, On Loving God, Chapter VIIIWell, think again, you idiots, fools—how long before you get smart? Do you think Ear-Maker doesn't hear, Eye-Shaper doesn't see? Do you think the trainer of nations doesn't correct, the teacher of Adam doesn't know? God knows, all right— knows your stupidity, sees your shallowness.How blessed the man you train, God, the woman you instruct in your Word, providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil, while a jail is being built for the wicked. God will never walk away from his people, never desert his precious people. Rest assured that justice is on its way and every good heart put right.Psalm 94:8:15 (The Message)
This morning I was sharing with Darlene how tired I've been the past three days. It is an unusual kind of tiredness, the kind of fatigue that drags every cell of your being you down into the earth. Dar said it was probably due to all the stress I've been under lately, writing a book, launching a company, pushing through some heavy duty issues for nine solid months. As she spoke, I gazed outside at the sunshine, rising creek, thickening green of the forest floor, watching dozens of finches and sparrows peck at seed in the feeder.
I got thinking of all I had to do today. Preparing a presentation for a broker on Bay Street; studying two executive strategies of two companies needing funding; responding to emails from other executives in other settings; realizing as I respond to those emails it affects everything I'm reading in these strategies and presentations... As we plan our course everything depends on character, humility, integrity, accountability, responsibility, trust, friendship, and the ever plodding will of God (Proverbs 16:9).
Feeling the weight of things I replied to Dar, "It has taken me all this time to learn how to respond to God out of a place of quiet. This home on this creek in this forest is our circle of quiet within the clamor of evil. When I walk this land and clear the forest floor of dead fall and wild Alberta roses (so the kids can run barefoot under the trees), I spend so much intentional time in the quiet of God. It is a discipline to work from this place of quiet, to respond to what's put before us here in this place. Too many leaders work from a place of fear and anxiety. They have to fight to know everything. They are unwilling not to know. Where are the reverent agnostics? If we don't leave the mist in mystery we end up with something eerie... It is all the more important that we cultivate a circle of quiet."
Dar responded, "That reminds me of what I read last night in Jim Elliot's Journal." Last night, while I was working out some emails on my laptop, Dar was reading. She got the book off the shelf for me and began reading a journal entry dated, November 29, 1949:
I think there is nothing so starling in all the graces of God as His quietness. When men have raged untruths in His Name, when they have used the assumed authority of the Son of God to put to death His real children, when they have with calloused art twisted the Scriptures into fables and lies, when they have explained the order of His creations in unfounded theories while boasting the support of rational science, when they, using powers He grants them, claim universal autonomy and independence, He, this great silent God, says nothing!...
...O God, what shall be the first tones of Your voice again on earth? And what their effect? Wonder and fear, denizens of dust, for the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a battle cry, with the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet blast of God Himself - made more terrible, if that could be, by the long suffering of His silence.
On Sunday, I discovered that the still pond to the right of our home (strong flowing creek to the left) is not as still as I assumed. As I was clearing brush to make a place for out kids to play in the pebbles of the pond, I noticed that a spring was flowing from the bank, from beneath two trees and their shoreline mossy roots. I dug away all the obstructions and was overjoyed at the reality of a natural spring gurgling pure life a few steps from our home. The not-so-still pond drains into the stronger currents of spring creek a few hundred feet behind our house (water on three sides of us).
Now, two days later, the water level of the placid pond is high enough that a passerby would never know a spring is flowing, but it feeds the pond beneath the surface none the less. If you sat on the roots on shore and put your bare feet in the chilly waters on those clean pebbles, you'd feel the flow coming from under you, passing by your ankles and between your toes.
This summer, I'll carve the stations of the cross out of stone, and place them in such locations on the land around our home.The land was quiet for forty years.Judges 3:11 (The Message)