The last couple of days have really been a test of my patience. My car(s) have been having major difficulties as of late, my Blazer has a problem with the fuel line and my old Cavalier (which is as good as a lame horse) has been leaking antifreeze and overheats the engine. Therefore, I am reliant on others for my transportation to get to and from work. I hate being in this position. I hate dealing with car troubles. I hate working on cars. Even while I am in my home at this moment I feel stranded due to my lack of vehicular mobility. I hate that feeling. I didn't realize how uneasy I was until I was lying under my car trying to find where the leak was in the Cavy.
My father and I had been working on the car for a good three hours and I was tired. I was tired of trying to find that damn leak that would not show itself. And I never found it. Yet, in the middle of all of it, in the midst of my feelings of anxiety and being stranded, I felt a calm wash over me. Maybe it was just the cool wind that rushed under the car and over my head. It could have been the way my skin felt against the cool ground as I laid under the hood. But then I moved out from under the hood and laid down and watched the sky. I watched the clouds disperse and break to reveal the blue that was above them. In that moment today, I felt like a kid again. I was able to lay down and watch in awe and wonder. I was inhaling the creation. I was sensing the God of this creation. I felt the rest that I had been searching for, the longing of feeling at peace with God and myself.
The thing about these moments is that they cannot be initiated. There is no five step program to creating these moments with God. The felt presence of God comes and goes whenever He pleases. It is God-revealed, God-centered, and God-timed. I think this is so frustrating for most of us to comprehend. Especially for us North Americans, who have come to understand everything as ready for the taking as long as you are motivated, we have a hard time reconciling ourselves to a God who will not bend to our assumptions and expectations. God will not make things comfortable, moving aside the material "stuff" in our lives so that we can have a completely spiritual moment. God moves and acts in our lives which are embedded in creation and history. The things that we often believe hinder our lives, our setting and experience, is often the very "stuff" that God uses to change our perspective and our outlook on reality.
At CITY Kids on Friday night, I walked the kids through the resurrection story found in John 20. Part of my retelling involved the children dressing up and acting out the characters in the story. What I emphasized the most was the interaction between Mary Magdalene and the risen Jesus (who at this point she believes is the gardener). I let the kids know that no matter what they were dealing with in life, in the hardships and in their times of joy, God is in the midst of it all even when we do not recognize him. Funny that the lesson I teach is the one I learn two days after the fact. God is in the simple tasks we do, in the moments of frustration and weariness, in our joy and in our pain. Sometimes we don't feel Him there, but we must live with the knowledge that He is there and wants to be known.
Yet another simple lesson learned by this inept pilgrim. Be in peace.