Christians have various ways of spending time with God, trying to engage with Him and experience His Spirit in their lives. Some find a quiet place and meditate upon the Bible, or pray, some write in a journal, others sing, listen or play music. There are many other means to cultivating an experience of God’s presence in our lives also, many folks are very creative in worshiping Christ.
One of the ways I get some time out with God is by taking our two dogs for a walk up the hill near our house through a reserve of scrub and pine trees that is criss-crossed with mountain bike tracks. The combination of fresh air, being out in a natural environment, the view across the city and hills and some time alone to think, often enables me to notice God’s presence with me more than I normally do in the busyness of life. As the weather warms up I will spend more time ‘up the hill’ with the dogs, so hopefully the musings and ponderings from there will result in a few worthwhile blog posts. Sometimes (like on Sunday) I take my camera so there may also be some pictures of what catches my attention, other days it will be seeing with the eyes of my heart through the window of words alone.
Part of my motivation to get out for a walk on Sunday was the headache which was brewing, the result of too little sleep and being inside too much over the weekend. So despite another spring storm I made an effort and was much better for it. A walk in the cold wind helps me to appreciate simple things, such as a warm jacket and woolly hat, especially as the hail came down.
Something I noticed was that the storms a few weeks ago had toppled some trees, including one that had been killed by fire. This poor lone pine had stood stoically for several years after the fire, seemingly solid until it finally came down with a resounding crash. So I had a closer look at where it had broken off.
What became clear was that despite it’s solid-looking exterior (albeit somewhat charred), the inside of this tree was rotten. Dry rot and insects had been eating away from the inside, weakening the structure of the wood until it became inevitable that it would fall. A strong wind hastened it’s demise, but the end of this tree had begun whenever that rot had begun deep inside it.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
(Matthew 23:27-28 ESV)
We all have rottenness inside our hearts, it is there festering and growing unless we combat it actively to prevent it destroying the very fabric and structure of our lives.
Unlike this unfortunate tree, there is a way to redeem the rotten core of our lives if we will commit ourselves into the mercy of God.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
(Romans 12:2a ESV)