By Vickie Yandell
The sweetest thing about this Lent season vs. the past Lent seasons? I am experiencing it within a spiritual practice – spiritual reading………..about the spiritual life!
I see it now, I feel it now, and I hear it now– but back then it was all about people who wounded me, the pain, hurts and disappointments. I tried everything to make them go away - I studied more and I prayed more - I poured my heart out and there was no change. Why? “It is just not in His timing” I said.
And it wasn’t.
I have always known that there were two things that changed my life. One was learning to listen for His voice through the pages of His Word. Sweet Bible Study! The other was learning how to slow down enough to listen. And then last Lent season a good friend handed me a copy of The Good and Beautiful God and God began to use it in my life to make sense of His perfect timing.
Spiritual disciplines are wisdom not righteousness – wise practices that train and transform our hearts - taking time for worship, for silence and solitude, for gratitude and for slowing down so I can hear Him. God seemed to be saying – you weren’t listening you were doing. You were not faithful to the ones I gave you to touch with my heart and hands.
I gave you a purpose and tasks to do for My Glory
...and you used the tasks for busyness
I gave you people to love and minister to for My Glory
…and you saw them as way too difficult
Emilie Griffin says in Small Surrrenders that our ancestors wrote and read spiritual books because this helped them to practice the spiritual life – that by reading them it would lead to real spiritual depth. It is not that they are old, it is because they are grounded in age-old truth. They invite us to live the Christian life in a quietly authentic way. They invite us to live in the presence of God wherever we are, whenever we can and they remind us about good ideas that are in danger of being forgotten.
Jean-Pierre de Caussade wrote centuries ago Abandonment to Divine Providence about docility, a spiritual quality one rarely hears about. “If we are truly docile, we shall ask no questions about the road along which God is taking us…..….the deep path of grace that He leads us in.” CS Lewis reminds us “It is a good rule…to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds and this can be done by reading old books.
Read some old spiritual books - plunge into the waters of grace – it is His timing!