Here I stare at a blank page as I set out to write my first blog post in… I don’t know how long. Since I wrapped things up (sometime in 2016) I have written one or two posts about relevant things but I haven’t felt “called” to do it regularly in quite some time.
Some of you may be annoyed to see yet another email cluttering up your inbox (believe me, I get it) and some of you may just overlook this but I hope that many of you will be pleased to see that Process Of Illumination is back again… or, at the very least, are curious to hear what I have to say after all this time :)
I suppose it’s no coincidence that I have resumed this blog at such an unprecedented time in history where there is (arguably) no person on earth who isn’t affected by COVID 19 in some form or another.
You may assume that I started writing again to share my thoughts and insights about the pandemic and its effects, however, while I agree that can be useful, there are lots of others who are doing that and I’ll leave that to them. In truth, my decision to embark on this new segment of my writing journey is because I feel there’s a much bigger picture to all of this that I/we can learn from. I’m not fully sure what that is yet, to be honest, but I’ve been praying about it a LOT, paying attention to my own experience and listening for the guidance that God is whispering behind my ear.
Here’s what I’ve heard so far:
Well, actually, this was a bit more than a whisper… God LITERALLY stopped me dead in my tracks on March 18th. It was two days after Canada announced its social distancing measures and I had spent those first two days doing my best to “control” whatever unknown outcome I was fearful of.
How effective was that, you ask?
My only response is HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
Control. What a foolish concept.
So, after two days of wasting my time worrying about my business shutting down and my income drying up, God shut me down with a severe case of vertigo. I spent the next two weeks with no other option but to “be still”. This is actually the beginning of a passage from the bible and is pretty significant, considering what ended up happening…
Psalm 46:10 English Standard Version (ESV)
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
During that two-week “st-illness” period, I had a lot of time to think about the opportunity that God was giving me. I knew he was trying to teach me something urgent and exceedingly valuable and that if I had been able to go about my days under my own strength and from my limited human perspective, I would not be able to receive it. So, here I was, not able to do anything except stay still and listen… and so I did just that.
I listened to the bible, I listened to the concerned advice of my closest friends and I listened to the wisdom of my brothers and sisters in my faith community.
I spent every waking moment in complete surrender, devoting myself to honouring the place that God had put me in.
But what was I praying for?
I wasn’t praying to get better. I wasn’t praying for the coronavirus curve to flatten. I wasn’t praying for my finances to stabilize.
I was praying to HEAR GOD.
As it happened, I had started a 365 day reading plan in January to read the bible from beginning to end and several days ago, I reached the book of Deuteronomy. In Deuteronomy 6: 4-5 the “Shema” prayer is introduced.
For those who don’t know, “Shema” is a Hebrew word meaning “hear and obey”. It is also the title (better known as The Shema) of a prayer that serves as a centrepiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services. To understand more about its meaning and why it’s relevant to this post, please watch this 3 minute video:
So, I had been praying intently for weeks to simply HEAR GOD… to know HIS will… and I came upon The Shema.
Coincidence? I think not.
What I realized is that this is how God was speaking to me. I know that God speaking to us through His word is not a new concept, but, as I’m a relatively new reader of the bible, I really didn’t grasp what that could be like until now. I mean, it’s obvious (to me) that He orchestrated these events for this express purpose… for me to stand still and pay attention so that He could show me the way. And He chose now because I have finally reached a level of spiritual maturity to be able to hear him and because there is much more He needs to teach me in a very short period of time.
So, that is why I started writing this blog again, because it is one of the ways in which God speaks to me. Through my “processing” of what I’m experiencing around me and within me, He brings me closer to the light and “illuminates” me.
I’m writing because I want to understand God’s design for my life going forward and, if the past month is any indication, something tells me it’s going to change dramatically.
And the good new is, since those two days of panic after the shutdown, all I’ve felt is joy and gratitude. I’m living more simply than I have since I was a kid and I couldn’t be more at peace. There is time for everything… proper sleep, exercise, learning, friends, family, giving back to my community, for this blog and, best of all, more time to spend all of it with GOD! He is removing all my unnecessary and unhealthy distractions. I haven’t turned on the TV in over a week!
He makes all this possible :)
Speaking of unnecessary and unhealthy distractions, you’d actually laugh if you read what I started to write when I first sat down. I was mostly repeating why I originally started this blog and the events that lead up to it.
But I’ve matured a lot since then and I don’t need to keep telling that story.
God continues to remind me of that and, if I let Him, He will always get me back on course :)
So, as we all embark on the next phase of our journey and start to put the pieces together of what is likely to be a “new normal” in most societies, my prayer for all of humanity is to have hearts which are filled with clean, fertile soil where seeds of truth can be planted. May these seeds be nurtured by our personal integrity and our love for one another and may they grow strong to produce the life-giving fruits of wisdom and understanding.
Until next week…
Have a blessed day!