God takes the broken pieces: Part 1 – Hope 103.2

God takes the broken pieces: Part 1

Morning Devotions is for those curious about the Christian faith and who want to explore Christian issues that relate to their daily life.

By Chris WittsMonday 18 Mar 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes

Transcript:

I was reading an article by Dr Tony Campolo where a study was done with 50 people who were each over the age of 95. Yes,I think that would be an important study because not everyone reaches that wonderful age of 95. This group were asked a question .. “If you had to do it over again,what would you do differently?”Of course this was a question about life,and how they felt looking back on a long life. There were 3 answers that dominated what was said in their reply ..

They would:
– Reflect more,Risk More,Do more things that would live on after death
I think these are very important answers for us to think about for a moment. Note no-one said “I wish I had made more money” or “I wish I had a bigger house to live in”,No – those issues never came into it. They wished they had spent more time reflecting,risking,and doing life that would live on after their death.
Life is often very busy. We find ourselves rushing from one thing to the next without a moment to take a breath. Our attention can get stuck going over what has happened and worrying about what might happen in the future. This means we can miss out on what is happening in the ‘here-and-now’.  Does this happen you? It certainly has been a problem for me sometimes. William Davies wrote a poem more than 70 years ago that included the line .. “What is this life if full of care. We have no time to stand and stare” It’s about noticing what’s going on about us now .. taking time to think and reflect ..Focus on your 5 senses = sight,sound,taste,smell and touch. Sounds simple doesn’t it,but we forget so often. And what about our thoughts and emotions. Some of us deny how we feel and bury them instead. Not helpful .
One of the benefits of reflection is that it brings clarity and perspective into our lives.  When we take time to turn down the volume of the “noise” inside us,we can hear a small voice speaking within us.  For Christians that is where God’s Holy Spirit speaks to us.  Reflection allows us to see things clearly including our own contribution to problems and successes.  It helps us to explore our self-imposed limitations and come out of our limited thinking.
I believe that the best way to reflect is to pray to God. It’s not a waste of time .. Anthony Bloom,in his book Beginning to Pray,suggests you choose a period of two to five minutes to sit quietly in the presence of the Lord. Set the timer on your watch to signal when to begin. When the timer goes off,stop whatever you are doing. Enjoy God. Let nothing distract you from this – not a suddenly remembered chore,not a ringing phone,not a knock at the door – nothing! You will be pleasantly surprised at the thoughts God will give you. 
Not only is it possible for us to take the time to be with God,it is essential! Someone has likened prayer to the breathing of the body. Like breathing,prayer must be the constant rhythm of our every day – speaking to God,listening to God,being with God. Henri Nouwen says that when we pray only in stray moments,we marginalize prayer. Listen to his words .. “Whenever you feel that a little praying can’t do any harm,you will find that it can’t do much good either. Prayer has meaning only when we can say that without it,a man could not live” (from With Open Hands).Strong words!
When we take time to be present to God,we don’t increase the burdens of the day,we lessen them. When we pray,we don’t add to the chaos,rather,we begin to find calmness and stability. That’s what is so good about reflecting with Him. You will never lose out. Psalm 119:15 says “I will study Your commandments & reflect on Your ways”.
What am I saying about the lesson learned by the group of 95 yr olds who wished they had spent more time reflecting on Life?

1. Consider yourself and your relationships
•    Take time for yourself. You may be so overwhelmed that you don’t have time to do that. But when we neglect to nourish and nurture ourselves,we soon have little left to work with in giving to those around us. Perhaps capturing some quiet time early in the morning or late at night when everyone is in bed can be empowering and refreshing for you. Try exercising or going for a walk – it might be the best thing you did for yourself that day. Also take time for hobbies and personal interests.
•    Take time with your family. When our lives get out of control,we sometimes let fun be the first thing that slips onto the back burner. Allow the people you care about to know that you care by spending time with them. Be creative and spontaneous by booking dates and taking time to play with your family. Our family has discovered that family swims are a time when the pool is not crowded and we can enjoy being together. Our local pool does not even allow non-family members to participate in this,so it truly is a family time. We laugh,enjoy each other and leave feeling energized.
•    Take time with your friends. Our close friends are buffers against stress.  They listen to our problems and concerns,and when we leave their presence,we feel better.  It is little wonder that the company of our dearest friends relaxes and restores us.  Sociologist Pat O’Connor says women who are rich in friendships enjoy better physical health,live longer,and are less prone to alcoholism,suicide and mental illness than those who are lonely and isolated.
•    Take time for God. As I reflect on Christ,Who had a very demanding schedule,I realize that He knew the importance of taking time to be alone. Matthew’s gospel says in ch 14  “After he had dismissed them,he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came,he was there alone”. It is a great example for me to regularly take that time of solitude regardless of how full my days may be. Quiet times with the Lord can become another item on our list that we want to accomplish in the midst of a busy day. Pray that God will enable your time with Him to be rich and rewarding,and allow it to fuel the rest of your day so that you can sense that deep inner quietness in the midst of the busyness in your life.