Years ago I attended a country parish retreat near a small town and the visiting priest was a man of deep faith and enthusiasm. After he gave us the first part of his morning presentation, he invited us to go outdoors and find a chair and to pray and reflect on the message of his presentation.
When I found a chair that was free and got myself set up with my bible and notebook, I tried to focus on his message. It seemed that my mind was all over the place and my ability to focus was weak. I tried not to get frustrated and asked God for help.
My eyes drifted over the horizon of that country church area and finally rested on a pile of old logs in the distance. The logs were very grey and weather beaten. I was trying to listen to God and my mind touched on the wonder of the logs. I questioned , “Who piled them and how long had they been there?” Then I heard that small voice within me say, “Your sins need to be confessed or they will get petrified just like those logs!” Wow, that message jolted me. I felt my stomach and throat tighten. I bowed my head and acknowledged that I do need to confess my sins. I am a weak person who usually puts this responsibility on my back burner. I sensed that my sins that are my blockages to hearing and loving the Lord with total abandon. I apologized to the Lord and promised that I would go and confess before I left the retreat today.
Peace filled me. I sat in wonderment at this profound stillness within me. I drank it in.
Then as I continued in my meditation, and began to look up to pray, I noticed the clouds in the vast blue sky. There were no trees nearby or any tall buildings in this country setting. My unobstructed view of the sky moved my heart as if it were an encouragement to come closer to God. There was nothing between God and I and I felt like I had touched the hem of his garment. Then a few clouds came by. These clouds moved quickly and then seemed to slow down; but there was continuous movement in the changing of shape and volume.
I found myself entering into a fascination about the clouds. I asked my Lord about them. “Why did you show me the clouds?” I heard “Notice how the clouds are moved about by the winds and how they continuously change shape. They offer no resistance to the winds and they follow the direction that the winds choose. That is how I want you to be in your journey with Me. I want you to be flexible and changeable and adaptable, My child. As you journey with me, I want you to be available to go, to love and to embrace everyone who I put in your path. You are My child and I love you.”
I wanted to abandon myself and say “Yes” immediately. I withheld myself and rationalized that I am so weak and self-willed and I felt totally inadequate to be able to do what I heard. I find it hard to be quickly flexible and adaptable. I usually look for a good rationale before I act. I prayed and said to my Lord, “I am willing but I need your help to do this. Teach me Lord!”
It has been many years since that encounter with My Lord and He has been keeping me in training. I believe that I have been in a “formation” discipline of my spirit. I have noticed that when I have surrendered my plans and desires, He fills me with peace that surpasses my understanding. I love living in His Peace. I am grateful.
Copyright © 2012 Gloria Winn
Cloud photograph is from FreeFoto.com