“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?…”
away from home, visiting my sister
a week of sophistication, culture, art, history, …
away from the ordinary of country life
so much to see and do
in a city of diversity, progress, entertainment,…
Oh, the thrill of the city!
“If I go up to the heavens, You are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, You are there.”
Yet, I miss the quiet
the space, the mountains,
the land and sky,
“If I rise on the wind of the dawn and settle on the far side of the sea,
even there Your hand will guide me, and your right hand will hold me fast.”
LORD, though I pray and read the Bible,
It’s hard to hear You here.
You feel far off.
What am I missing?
Have I lost You somewhere in this city?
“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” – Psalm 139
Even in Chicago.
tours, galleries, concerts, conservatories, theaters, museums,…
I love it here!!!
Still, I miss the closeness that I feel to You at home.
If You are Omnipresent,
why does Your Presence seem removed,
just out of reach?
Is it the constant noise of traffic and elevated rails
that drowns out Your still small voice?
Are You pushed away somehow by the height of the architecture?
Or, like the stars,
does the hazy glow of city lights block You from my view?
On Sunday, singing familiar songs, I still feel a space between us.
I’m a spectator.
I feel overly impressed with all I’ve seen…
even with the building that Your church occupies this morning.
Everything is bigger and better in the city!
I’m waiting for You to perform…
Impress me. Entertain me.
You reply to my thoughts,
“And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains… but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19: 11-12)
The disconnect lies in me, not the city.
You are always with me.
For days, I have been overly in awe of man…
enamored with what man can buy
with what man has built
with what man can make
with what man has played
with what man has written
with what man has discovered
with what man can do
with where man has gone
All week I’ve been praising the achievements of man, which could have lead me to worship of You, but I was too distracted.
Preoccupied with exhibits and shops, the performance marathon runners and actors, self-absorbed thoughts of comparison between myself and the rich and the poor of the city, with externals, with so much going on around me continually, my mind was never quiet enough to hear You.
And though it may be easier to acknowledge You in the lonely places of glowing fields at sunset with crickets songs and fireflies, or on misty dew kissed mornings when Your presence fills the land in fog,…
Though it is more obvious that all we accomplish is actually Your doing, Your equipping, Your gift, Your blessing, when the tomatoes ripen and roses bloom, when calves are born and arms are strong to fill a barn with hay, …
You are everywhere. You are here in the city.
So, I will look for You and praise You here.
Forgive me for ever “worshiping created things rather than the Creator”.
As I applaud symphonies playing Beethoven and actors reciting Shakespeare, rave over Monet’s oils and Remington’s bronze or Tiffany’s glass, contemplate the designs of famous architects and city planners, and intellectually marvel over the discoveries of space and archeology displayed and preserved by Chicago’s philanthropists, direct my praise to You.
I questioned Your nearness and sought You, and like always, You draw me to Yourself. Who am I that You speak to me?
You are the Wonder.
I love how You pursue me.
And, now again, I see You everywhere, even in the city.
Thank You for this amazing week!
As I return to Ordinary, I am inspired to write and paint and make music in my own home. And, I am all the more thankful for the quiet stillness of this simple country life.
When I seek You, I always find You.
When I ask, though I may have to wait and lean in closer to hear,
You always answer.
Thank You for teaching me again how to abide in Your presence wherever I am.