Monday, July 27, 2009

That Summer Dry Spell

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1 NIV
Summer is a wonderful, but a very crazy time! The kids are out of school, and we have the opportunity of spending more time with them. But, as a couple that’s comprised of a stay-at-home-mom and a work-at-home-dad, summertime can also be hectic. Far from the lazy break that we all envision as summer vacation, this season can be for us a time of juggling kids and work, over-activity and boredom.

The insanely busy relaxation of summer contributes to a spiritual dearth that leaves me feeling like the psalmist. I have not taken the time I need for spiritual rest and renewal. I have allowed my sermon and Bible study prep time to replace my daily devotional time. Sure, we’ve taken a vacation to the beach for a week. We went to Busch Gardens for a day. We’ve been swimming in the river, and visited friends a lot. But in all this “rest time” when did I take the time I need to nourish my soul?

“I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory,” the psalmist writes in verse 2. Certainly a corporate worship event like going to church is a terrific way to sense God’s presence. Of course, for a pastor, that’s also work! So what other God-adventure can I have, independent of public worship? I imagine that many who are reading this ask the same question. You might not be a pastor, but you might be a musician, deacon, usher, lector, or have some other function in the church that makes you feel like at times like worship isn’t worship.

Verses 6-8 say, “I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night….I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you….” At times, I have to force myself to have moments like these with God. They do not come naturally. They come only when I carve out the time I need to seek God’s presence. Only when I do this can I survive the summer spiritual dry spell. Only when I do this can I truly say with the psalmist (verse 8), “…Your right hand upholds me.”

Summertime relaxation is a good thing, but it’s too easy to make recreation a replacement for spiritual nourishment. I remember one summer job, working with freezers full of dry ice. When things got hot, it felt so good to stick my head in that cold freezer. What I discovered, however, is that dry ice is not made of water, and the CO2 vapors of dry ice will take your breath away! Not everything that feels good is good for you. In the same way, summertime “rest” is not always refreshing. This summer, remember to refresh yourself with the Living Water, and not a substitute that steals the Breath of Life.

No comments: