He Speaks to Me Everywhere (5)
One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple. Psalm 27.4
Wait for it
We are not good at waiting.
Standing in lines. Creeping along in traffic. Watching the clock. Fuming over slow progress bars, upgrades, or downloads. No, we just don’t like having to wait.
But waiting is good for us. God instructs us to wait, as in Psalm 27.14:
Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!
In Psalm 25.4, 5, David insisted he would wait all day for the Lord to lead him into his truth.
Wait all day? Yes, if necessary, or over a period of many days, waiting for the Lord to reveal Himself, show us His glory, renew us in His strength, and cause us to soar with joy in knowing Him:
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40.31
Waiting on the Lord is the work of meditation. With respect to creational theology, meditation finds us asking the Lord to turn our observations of the creation, and the associations and integration we have made of those, into an enlarged and enhanced sense of His presence, and a transforming experience of His glory.
Waiting for the goodness of the Lord
The word, inquire in our text can also be translated meditate. Meditation is the fourth practice of creational theology. In meditation, we come before the Lord in silence, seeking the beauty and goodness of the Lord, waiting on His Spirit to carry us beyond mere description to a deeper level of experience and encounter with His glory. Building on our observations of creation, and drawing on our Scriptural associations and our integrating statement, in meditation we seek to become immersed in the presence of God, completely absorbed in His beauty, goodness, truth, and glory. The key to meditation is what the psalmist declares at the end of Psalm 27:
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
We believe God has embedded His glory in our observation. He has lodged His goodness there, and we have made a preliminary stab at describing it. Now we want to experience His glory, and for this, we must be willing to wait. We will not give up, and we will not despair, because we believe God wants us to know His glory (Hab. 2.14). So we wait.
The practice of meditation
How does this work? In meditation, we begin with our integrating statement: In that cluster of common wood sorrel is a love greeting from the triune God. Now we want to extend that confident conclusion to consider other areas. Yes, God waves His greeting to us in the plants in our yards. And in the colors, flight, and songs of birds, in clouds traversing the sky overhead, and in every good and perfect gift of culture by which He sustains and enriches our lives. His goodness abounds to us on every hand, as He greets us continually with gifts and gestures of love. Our sense of God’s goodness is heightened as we realize we are swarmed by it every moment of our lives.
Reflecting on many such expressions of God’s presence and goodness makes that experience of wood sorrel richer and more powerful, like the exuberant piccolo solo, rising above the many instrumental voices of Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. We become increasingly sensitive to the glory of God, pressing on us at all times, and we rejoice in and give thanks to Him.
I find it helpful in times of meditation to journal my thoughts back to the Lord, beginning with that integrating proposition or idea, and extending it to include other observations, as deep and as far into the goodness of the Lord as it will go. As I journal, other Scriptures come to mind as well as additional observations, casting even more light on my experience and reminding me of other, complementary attributes of God or aspects of His will.
If I wait long enough, listening carefully for the prompting of God’s Spirit, soon enough He will put me in mind of specific attitudes from which I need to repent, new reasons to worship Him, or new courses of action I might take to show His steadfast love and faithfulness more consistently, to greet others with the love and exuberance with which He greets me. Meditation deepens wonder, prompts us to worship, and readies us for witness in our daily lives.
Wait on the Lord to make Himself and His glory known, and you will indeed soar with new strength.
1. What role does meditation – extended periods of waiting on the Lord in silence – have in your spiritual life?
2. Why does God make us wait? What good should we expect to know from having to wait on the Lord?
3. Choose an observation you have made recently. What associations can you find in Scripture? What do you conclude about the glory of God in this? Wait on the Lord with this observation, until He brings you into His glory. What else does He show you there?
Next steps – Transformation: Begin making time for meditation in your spiritual life. Learn to wait patiently for the Lord to show you His beauty and goodness. Share an experience of entering the Lord’s glory through meditation with a Christian friend.
For a fuller study of the disciplines of creational theology, order the book, Consider the Lilies: A Plea for Creational Theology, from our online store (click here). The glory of God is always at hand, if we know how to discern, enter, and express it. Our booklet, Christians on the Front Lines of the Culture Wars, can help you learn to recognize the glory of God, and to glorify Him in even the most everyday details of your life. Order your copy by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.