I was taking a walk in the snow, well, rather a hike, on the mountain “mud trail” near our house to get alone with my thoughts and practice hearing from God. To get into prayer, I have to dump all my “stuff” out to the Lord first, then I can be quiet and silent before Him in order to listen for His voice or see with my spiritual eyes. I am much better at the dumping part. Be reassured that God does care about all the details of our lives and He does want to hear about them. (Matt 6:31-32) But we were called to worship Him and give Him adoration and praise. That is what He wants from us, and our hearts and lives.
Praising God turns a monologue into dialogue, as Pastor Chuck said this morning at my parents’ church in Albuquerque. When I began to release all my burdens and worries to Him as I have to do often, in fact I need to do daily, I began to praise Him for the things He has done for me and for who He is. It’s often easier to see what he has done for me and not praise Him for who He is. God loves us for who we are, and He wants our love in return. I asked Jesus to show me His beauty. One thing I am asking of Him this year is to romance me, make me fall in love with the King of this world so all else dims in comparison. I know that only He can satisfy me, and I although I know that I often think that all I need is a man to fulfill and satisfy me. Well, as good as that person may be that God has for me to marry one day, he is not going to be able to satisfy all my needs because he is human. If I can fall in love with Jesus more and more each day, I can better fall in love with the man I am going to marry and love him with a gracious love all our lives. So that said, I still struggle to understand just how Jesus is going to romance me. It certainly is not going to be the way I expect men to do. That would just be too weird. But think about it, Jesus is our example of the bride groom to the bride – his church metaphorically speaking, as in Ephesians 5:25-33. More on this later. I need to study and learn what this passage teaches me.
All of a sudden Cessna my dog perked up and sat on the path in the snow, looking, listening attentively around her. I tried to prod her to go on, but she just would not move. Well, I thought, she may know something I don’t know. Instinctively, I thought of the mountain lions and bears on this mountain I have been warned against since I was a little girl. We just stood there, silent, listening and watching. I asked for His continued protection. Maybe here God would answer some of my questions. He did, but it wasn’t what I thought. I am alone, I said out loud to the trees and hills covered in snow. “I am here with you,” he said back. It came into my mind and passed, like a clear, definite thought, not my own fumblings and blubberings. I looked around. All I could see was snow. white snow. It covered everything that was tangled or dirty or ugly. It made the entire forest beautiful. This is Your beauty, I thought. You have shown me your exquisite beauty, just as I asked, Lord Jesus. I have to quiet myself and look in order to see it. This is how He romances me. With the beauty of His exquisite creation. How often do we take the time to look, and appreciate the beauty of the untouched universe around us? It truly is lovely.
I walked back with Cessna, some questions still unanswered, but feeling light and full of peace. We made first footprints in waves of snow that wind had blown back across the field. I noticed the beauty of my dog’s fur coat – I think it’s called tortoise-shell. I felt romanced by my beautiful Savior and assured of his protection. As for hearing from God, I think I need to practice, like anything, quieting myself, retreating and just being with Him.