Oriented Toward Encounter, No Matter the Circumstance

Always a good reminder.

“I remember a time when I used to be much godlier. It was sometime in junior high and my room was clean. It must have been beautiful weather outside because the lighting was very nice in my room where I was reading my Bible every day and feeling really good. It was quite clear to me that my sanctification was progressing very well. …

But God took me out of that life and threw me into the rock tumbler. Here, it is not so easy to feel godly. … Here, there is very little time for quiet reflection. … The opportunities for growth and refinement abound here — but you have to be willing. You have to open your heart to the tumble.”

— from Loving the Little Years, pp. 13-14

I’ve connected with a few friends recently who are in the soul-sanctifying work of motherhood every day.

One of them shared with me that no station in life has presented her with the reality of her sinfulness so much as motherhood. Another shared that life is an absolute sprint from the moment she wakes until the minute she falls asleep. Still another shared a glimpse into the tension between loving one’s child and one’s God — putting their needs and desires above her own — and the reality of emotions and desires and hormones and personal needs. 

I heard that nothing has so fulfilled these women as being a mother — I saw the joy in their faces and heard it in their voices — even though they have found it to be the most demanding and humbling work they have ever done.

I also heard these friends share that intentionally connecting to God in this place is difficult.

How is stopping to orient one’s self and connect to one’s inner heart and an intangible God possible in the middle of a full-out sprint that involves Fruit Loops, spit-up, sibling rivalry, and getting everyone cleaned, dressed, fed, brushed, strapped in, scooting around town, and eventually sleeping safely in their beds every night?

There is bewilderment in this place. What does connecting to God look like here?

I am sure these friends of mine could answer that question much better than me. I am not a mother, and they are. They are the ones presented with the question each and every day who are finding their way through to the answer the best way they know how.

But I share these stories and ask these questions to draw our attention to this: God is here. 

Ours is a God who met a childless woman each and every year she came to the temple and did not fail to hear her prayer (Hannah). Ours is a God who met a king in the midst of his sin and called him to repent (David). Ours is a God who wrestled with a man so strongheaded that he bulled his way into every reality he wanted to create for himself (Jacob).

Ours is a Jesus who knew exactly how to speak to an adulteress, a blind man, a remorseful fisherman, a traitor, a thief, a mother weeping over her son, a government official, a leper, a pair of sisters, a man throwing Christians in jail, a prostitute, a man sneaking off to talk with him in the dead of night, and the list goes on and on.

If the Scriptures teach us anything, it is that ours is a God who knows how to connect and relate and speak directly to us, no matter the situation or circumstance in which he encounters us.

As the quote at the top of this post declares, finding God in the rough and tumble (the author speaks to motherhood, but I would expand this sentiment to include any and every station we might live out) simply asks of us an orientation toward encounter.

Openness. Awareness. Receptivity. 

Are you open to God meeting you exactly where you are? What might encounter with God look like for you today, right here and right now, in the midst of your exact circumstances?