Someone after church today commented that they get ‘homesick’ for Jesus when they go to work, and get immersed in the world.
That’s partly what this post is about – and partly about how I need to take a fresh look at my life. I was struck earlier by the way the same old dilemmas, the same old procrastinations, the same old preoccupations, cause me to slow down and be less effective in what I want to do. Evidence of this is shown in rising early where I seemed to think I had it stitched up, back in 2012!
Anxiety is a constant treadmill – I’ve not done what I need to do, I will have a huge pile-up of work, and I won’t be able to manage it all, and I’ll collapse under the stress. Yet where does that niggling little voice come from, that says – when I’ve got ALL this work to mark, ALL these tasks to achieve – why don’t you just read the paper? Have a read of some accounts of revivals! Even: go on, have a prayer time, you really need it!
Is this some sort of godly demon, some sneering Screwtape, who knows that my prayers will be ineffective anyway so doesn’t really care if I pray! I’m sure that all intercessors will have had these thoughts in the past; I can’t be the first. And the added benefit for this infernal spirit, cackling in the chaos he has caused, will be that I will spend my week scrabbling to catch up with myself, falling over my feet because I am trying to do a zillion things at once that I cannot possibly achieve.
Perhaps the question isn’t – what should I do right now? Often, we hang too much on the moment, and on the correct choice to make. This can be important when our decisions are really time-critical – and I do find it helpful then to list my tasks, and to ‘arrow’ the ones that absolutely MUST be achieved in that hour, or in that day, to avoid disaster. Not so critical for various tracts of time in the weekend, where time is appearing to stand still, but then suddenly moves deceptively swiftly.
However, I suggest the question perhaps should be: Am I homesick for Jesus early enough in the day? I find when I get homesick for Jesus first thing, and have sat down and supped with him, and Him with me, that the rest of the day falls into place more easily. When I wake up, do I think: today I will be obliged to spend vast swathes of time focused on something other than Jesus. How can that time be suffused with Him? How can the margins of my day be glowing with the love and mercy of Jesus? Is my peripheral vision fixed on what I’ve got for lunch, fixed on the programme I’m going to watch on telly tonight, or is it fixed on the ten minutes I can snatch at the end of the day commuting home just fellowshiping with the Lord: fixed on the evening sacrifice and all that can mean? Do I have a Bible with me at work? Is there an individual that I can lift in prayer in the gaps in my day? Can I spare a quarter of an hour at lunchtime to read a devotion, or a chapter in a Christian testimony book? Can I take a walk, and thank the Lord for all His benefits, as I do so? Perhaps I can fast for one day each week, so that every time I remember ‘not to eat’ I remember why I am doing it, and stop slipping away from my Father’s embrace.
We are not, after all, made for this earth, and we need to set our thoughts on heaven, so that we feel fully at home when we get there.