Where are you finding Jesus in the middle of this pandemic? What do you hear him saying? And where do you sense Him leading in the year ahead?
These were the questions that kicked off an online gathering of Ancient Path‘s board of directors last night. We didn’t want to talk about finances or programs or concerns about how Covid is affecting non-profit ministries. We wanted to connect in a meaningful way, share the joys and challenges in each family, and touch God’s heart.
With few exceptions, we have walked together as a team for two decades, sharing beautiful experiences and, at times, shouldering deep disappointments. So icebreakers like naming your favorite Christmas song or your worst Christmas gift aren’t necessary. We cut right to the heart of the matter.
What I took away from this time of reflection and prayer was more than just a deeper appreciation for each of these precious friends and dedicated followers of Christ. As I listened, I realized we are all being called to a place of inwardness.
Calvin Miller, an author who has influenced my thinking for many years, describes this place in his book, The Table of Inwardness:
“Inwardness is the place where the believer and his Lord meet. Inwardness is a reigning presence and a quiet friend – a person, not a concept. Spiritual inwardness is a longing after Christ. It is a table set for us with food not prepared for human hands. The Host is there. He is ready. ‘Thou preparest a table before me…’ There are only two chairs at the table, and there we may delight to sit and sup with the Son of God...
Fellowship with Christ is a table only for two – set in the wilderness. Inwardness is not a gaudy party but the meeting of lovers in the lonely desert of the human heart. There where all life and fellowship can hold no more than two, we sit together, and he speaks as much as we, and even when both of us say nothing, there is our welded oneness. And suddenly, we see we cannot be complete until his perfect presence joins with ours.”
This depth of relationship requires time. As much as we would like to think one-minute devotional books are enough, the truth is God is looking for much, much more. In his book Into the Depths of God, Miller continues:
The table of communion with the inner Christ is not a fast-food franchise. We cannot dash into his presence and choke down inwardness before we hurry to our one o’clock appointment. Inwardness is time-consuming, open only to minds willing to sample spirituality in small bites, savoring each one. It is difficult to teach the unhurried discipline of the table to a culture so used to frozen dinners and condensed novels.”
Inwardness calls for a re-examination of our priorities and values to create space in our busy lives and quiet in our noisy minds. The journey inward also requires deepening trust – a trusting that God is present, listening, speaking, and leading us into his purposes.
Last night, as we finished our conversation and prayed together, we asked God for a re-awakening in each of our hearts and lives – a re-awakening of burning faith, of radical belief in a supernatural God, and for a fresh release of his gifts in each of us. A prayer for re-awakening not only to possibilities but to what we would naturally consider impossibilities.
As I sit quietly with Christ during this dark advent season, faith rises in my own heart to witness Divine Impossibilities in the land of the living: physical healing from incurable diseases, deliverance from the torments of anxiety, depression, trauma, and grief, the kind of out-of-the-blue financial provision that gives wings to divine dreams and visions to advance the kingdom of God. And as my longing for Christ increases, so does my craving to see his kingdom come and his will done on this earth, here and now.
When all goes quiet, and you can hear yourself think, what do you hear God saying to you in this advent season? And when you are face to face with him, what do the secret longings of your heart reveal?
Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Revelation 3:20
Not one promise from God is empty of power, for nothing is impossible with God! Luke 1:37 (Passion Translation)