(December 30th, 2020)
The time passes one plank after another. The labor of love seems to never end, but then in the latter’s sense, it is not labor, for the work toward the Lord is a passion to which the heart gives in wholly; unabated. One must pause and look upon what has been done to fulfill the blessing within.
Shadows were glancing through the barren limbs of the forest, chasing the sun that barely rises above the horizon. The warmth of the fire reminded us that to remove the chills upon one’s back, you must subsequently afford that portion toward the flame. As one finds a void in their spirit, they too must find from whence its vacancy can be refilled, warmed anew as by the hearth. From the depths of God’s word, those empty voids can be rejuvenated – filling the soul so that the spirit may become refreshed.
This morning, the taste of manna from heaven ever more sweeten the taste upon my soul as my eyes read through familiar texts. Like an old friend, they reach out to me and speak to me in a calming voice. Their refrain falls upon my ears like the warmth of that welcoming woodstove or the taste of that slice of fresh bread from the oven. Each, although soothing the shortcomings of the fleshly needs of this world, bemoan the spirit within. Finding God in these moments, sensing his presence through those temporal moments, can relay us into the eternal glimpses that await in our next life, should we choose in this life wisely.
Being alone, the majority of the time while working on the Spiritual Retreat has become the norm. Yesterday, however, was different. My son joined me, and we worked together – something that was not too common. Like my own solitude, our duo worked without interruption from the outside. As if we were on our own island, we toiled together regardless of what the world was mesmerizing over at the moment. There in our little neck of the Blueridge mountains, we had no Covid, there were no threats of lockdown, there was no endless noise of fear-mongering from the media, there were just us two, working in unison as God allowed. Outdoor, the creek gurgled underneath a golden sky.
For all its worth, we were none the worse for wear. Well, mostly.
There were still drawbacks that could not be avoided.
My physical body has more than once found its limitations. Pushing through the pain is one thing, but when one’s back becomes so weary that it is difficult to stand, let alone function, something has to give. You either stop and wait to recover or find a way to struggle onward. Nearly always, the answer is the latter.
Multiple times the pain had to be subdued with ibuprofen in order to push onward – the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Although there are the earthly inhibiting factors, the beauty to which the work has revealed is a testimony unto our Savior. It is through us that his hands worketh. No task has not been managed that God has not provided – albeit in strength, knowledge, or skill. All have been a confirmation of what the LORD can do through us in spite of ourselves when we are one with him. As he asked us to drink of his blood, that he would be in us, and us in him, so it is, that when we fully commit ourselves unto his lifeblood, we too will be like the bride with the bridegroom – uniting as one. “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Last night, as my battered, scarred, and beleaguered hands typed these passages, there was a certain feeling of contentment that flowed. While sleep beckoned, these were just a few of the thoughts from which must be scribed so that if one looks back from the future, they will see only a small portion of what a day in the life of this person might have revealed.
So, with heavy eyes, I read over the Gospel of John, visiting my old friend one last time before I say my prayers and finally lay down to rest.
Before sleep overcame me, the last thoughts were, “If I die before I wake, may the Lord my soul to take.”
Thanks be to God.
 John 6:53-54 KJV