Tuesday, June 1, 2010

God: "Have you noticed my friend, ________?"

PHOTO - VALRICO: 6:55 AM - Just winding up this morning's walk when the sun pushed it's way above the trees. That's one very tall - and distorted - dog I'm walking!

One of the key points of meditation is patience. What never helps is to say something like, "I tried meditation and it doesn't work for me". Translation of the word tried? "Three minutes in I got bored." Translation of the phrase doesn't work? "I was expecting some kind of euphoria or at least a warm fuzzy feeling...."

So, with all that in mind (and in experience), I decided to meditate on a couple of phrases from the Upper Room daily devotional scripture reading this morning. The selected passage was Job chapter 1.

What jumped out at me was the following passage. God singled out Satan and said, "What have you been up to?" Satan answered God, "Going here and there, checking things out on earth." God said to Satan, "Have you noticed my friend Job? There's no one quite like him…”

So I thought about the idea, running it around in my head. I visualized the conversation between God and Satan, then shuddered a little as I thought about the casual "Well, I've been, you know, cruising the earth - just checking things out..."

And I couldn't help but wonder if it would ever occur to God to say - with pride - "Have you noticed my friend Derek?" or even, "There's no one quite like Derek..."?

I've noticed myself talking that way about my children - a lot - recently. I won't repeat the obvious this morning except to point out that this photo of Andrew, taken by his friend Rachel on Sardinia a few weeks ago, captures the exuberant spirit of my phrase "Live as if you mean it".

So I thought about God - God talking about me. Do I make my Creator proud?

The idea behind meditation - and I'm talking about this a lot this week because A) I'm teaching/facilitating discussion about this topic in several venues at church and B) Because my learning style is very much a thinking out loud. I talk (write) my way into understanding. In fact, if you read my blog with any regularity, you may already have noted contradictions, non-sequiturs and self-corrections. This is because it often takes me a while to work things out. Plus I also change my mind, because the learning curve is always moving out ahead of me as a seeker of the truth.

Richard Foster (we're reading one of his books in two of my classes) suggests that engaging real freedom depends on our exposure to truth, and our exposure to truth is a process that requires commitment and effort.

Meditation is an important part of that process. But meditation is - I believe - mostly the deliberate act of placing ourselves in the presence of God; of the clearing of distractions; of contemplating the fact of God.

This does not necessarily involve euphoric or emotional responses (it may); and it does not always lead us quickly into a state of serenity (it can). The point of meditation - for me at this time - is the discipline of it, the intentionality, the movement forward.

Today I still can't shake the image of God saying "Get a look at Derek if you have the chance - Derek gets it."

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