Windows of Our Hearts

fan electric_by Roy Muz_Unsplash

The hum of the big exhaust fan in the window of our upstairs hallway signaled the beginning of another summer evening. As night drew closer, the familiar voices and sounds of my family about the house or in the yard were comforting and familiar. In those days of yesteryear, I see myself stretched out on my bed or curled up on my window seat reading a good book or just watching life from my bedroom window. To this day these same things in my own home bring contentment and peace.

We always closed the windows and retreated to the cooler lower floor during the day as summer’s heat began to build around mid-morning. Then, as evening’s cool touch came, the windows were opened, and the fans began to draw out the warm air that had built up in our upstairs rooms through the day. I remember breathing deeply of the cool night’s air as it was drawn in and listening to the sounds of life… the voices of insects, tree frogs, and owls and the rhythm of our small-town. The refreshing coolness brought a sense of peace and renewal, especially if the day had been long or difficult.

The windows of our hearts can be like those rooms on hot summer days. Sometimes we close them – perhaps due to doubt, anger, or fear – as we seek to guard ourselves or to declare our own will. I know that when I am hurt, let down, angry, or disappointed I too tend to withdraw and shut off as much as possible from its source. This may bring some relief for a time, until there is room for healing and the opening of those windows.

As we beat against the ills we see, so that our ears are deafened to all else, God’s cool healing breath washes over our world. May we not fail to see and feel it! There is injustice in this world, but there is also the breath of God. Like those fans, as we open our hearts to God, His breath fills us and draws from us that which is stale and stifling… that which has caused hurt.

Have you considered the breath of God? As in the beginning of time, “then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” *

We are living beings, whom God loves, and He said it was very good. *

My prayer for our world is that we will know God’s refreshing and renewing breath. I pray that He will draw from us that which is stale and stifling, driven by hurt, and fill us with the hope of His Spirit.

* Genesis 1:31, 2:7

Trust Fully

small white starshaped flower_rotated

At dawn’s breaking, day’s nooning
Eve’s dawning, night’s sighing
What message sending
… trust fully

When rising in doubt, so restless foreboding
Or lonely now stressing, growing angry or fearful
When foremost is … self
Trust fully

What attitude taken, what visions or angst
When anxious or doubting, ‘I deserve’ and ‘why me’s’
Spreading discontent’s seeds
So hard to trust fully

Not foolish naive, of life’s follies and stress
Walk slowly take courage; run swiftly, greet confidence
Still self; be assured
And trust fully

Are you pointing to … Him, God’s hand held each day
Thoughts that are fruitful, for others to know
Nourishing lifting
… trust fully

Where vision does take us, eyes do perceive us
Words spew or bear up; actions tear or build up
Ear shut out or listen
… ah, trust fully

Contentment and blessing, joy enriching,
Smiles bring laughter; peace offers comfort
God is present
… trust fully

DIGGING IN MY TOES!

bare feet from back_wet_jeans_105776_pexels

Ah! The joy of releasing tired, hot feet from the confines of shoes and socks! My mom and I used to kid about our “hillbilly blood” because our shoes inevitably fell off when we came home. Warm summer rain showers were the perfect opportunity for my brothers and me to splash barefoot up and down our gravel drive in town. On summer trips with the family, I remember digging my toes into the soft warm dirt of my grandparents’ country drive. Have you ever walked through a wet vegetable garden and ended up doubling the thickness of the soles of your shoes with mud?! Just walking becomes an effort.

Sometimes our lives get like that, mired down with stuff that drags us down and overwhelms. We splash barefoot before God in our pain and doubt and it is difficult to see joy. When His wonderful grace and love showers down upon us, we in our weariness do not always see it. We may be unable to receive until it has had time to soak in. I love the words of the psalmist who wrote, (God) lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. * Like on those warm summer days, we can dig our toes into the strength of His being. God lifts us up and sets us on solid ground. What joy and release when we stand with Him in faith, free of the confines of life which weigh us down!

* Psalm 40:2

Elijah and the Still, Small Voice

Elijah! I love Elijah. Mighty prophet of God. Strong. Assured. Obedient to God’s commands. Through Elijah, God displayed His authority and great power to the people of Israel who had turned away! Fire from heaven burned up the soaking wet sacrifice… after futile attempts by the priests of Baal, god of fertility and nature, were unsuccessful. “Your god is no god!” … and 450 prophets of Baal perished.

Through Elijah, God withheld rain and a great drought resulted.

Through Elijah, God ended this drought with wind and pouring rain… and Elijah miraculously ran before the chariot of King Ahab to a town fourteen miles away.

…Then a vengeful Queen Jezebel declared death to Elijah and he ran away in fear… and ran… and ran… until he ended up in a faraway cave in which to hide.

I love Elijah! Doesn’t his story express the fear and discouragement we all feel at times? “I have given you my all God!” “Haven’t I obeyed you as best I can? I’ve been very busy doing all these things for You.” …“Now look at these hard-headed, self-centered, angry people! They have rejected you and killed all your other prophets and now I’m the only one left!”… “It’s useless. I might as well die too!”

So God passed by before that cave. There came a great wind, earthquake, and fire… but God was not in them. He who had spoken so forcefully and powerfully previously, so that all would know His authority, did not speak through them this time… God had Elijah’s full attention! But where was God?!
Then there came a still small voice, a quiet calm

Then there came a still small voice, a quiet calm.  Elijah heard the voice of God asking the same question He had asked before, “What are you doing here Elijah?” …and, still focused on himself, Elijah gave the same answer!

But in the quiet of that moment, came assurance that God was with him. “Go back Elijah. I have a job for you. There will be others to help you, kings to anoint and a prophet to succeed you. Why, there are 7000 prophets who will rise up to serve me!”

I love Elijah! His story gives us all hope and assurance. “Go back. I’m with you. You are not alone,” God says. So He speaks in that still small voice, in quiet calm amidst our storms. God had not given up on them. He hadn’t given up on Elijah and He hasn’t given up on us! He is mighty. He is faithful.

 

[Read Elijah’s story in 1 Kings Chapters 17-19 & 2 Kings Chapter 2.]