You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.Ephesians 5:8-13 The Message
Amid instant messages, web pop-ups, overnight deliveries, mobile phone calls, text messages—not to mention regular mail, faxes, and phone calls—my average day is a cacophony of distractions. And I frequently find myself trying to mentally recalibrate: Now, where was I?
Though I am neither theologian nor philosopher, that pause is also the question and measure of my Christian faith. Now, where was I?
A plan is a beautiful thing. Some days, I tear straight through my To-Do list; any task not on the official sheet of paper only annoys me. But as the Jewish saying goes, “Man plans, God laughs.” Those days all but invite a holy interruption. And the thing that impedes my advance often turns out to be the point of the day. Now, where was I? The answer comes in humility, on my knees, in confession.
Other days, any diversion is a welcome excuse. I click on the computer, keep the cell phone close, eye the fax. I am jittery, easily detoured. On these days, I need spiritual recalibration to trace the trail back to my center, to calm, a place of quiet. The question becomes a plea for God-focus: Now, where was I?
As with so many things in life, under my own power, I fall slave to interruptions. The difference between distractions and divine interventions blurs against my To-Do list or within my comfort zone. God’s whisper dissolves between “You’ve got mail” and the latest tune ringing from my cell phone.
It’s no small comfort that Jesus faced similar temptations. “I can’t do a solitary thing on my own: I listen, then I decide,” Jesus said in John 5:19 (The Message). He probably would have handled instant messages and singing cell phones just as he dealt with grabbing crowds and bossy disciples. It was a matter of whom he listened to before he responded. Once he paused and listened to the Father, the rest fell into place.
On days when I awaken tense with worries or confused by competing interests, I find it helpful to pray the prayer of St. Augustine: “I know that where I was and am and should be is in the shadow of His wings.”
Father, you are full of compassion, I commit and commend myself unto you, in whom I am and live, and know. Be the Goal of my pilgrimage, and my Rest by the way. Let my soul take refuge from the crowding turmoil of worldly thoughts beneath the shadow of your wings; let my heart, this sea of restless waves, find peace in you O God. Amen.