In the summer of 1967, a Christian friend-mentor gave me a book, The Practice of the Presence of God. She had the book for some years and had written notes all over the pages. It was a new approach to spiritual life to me. I was just turning 22, and had a lot to learn forever and ever, believe me. I kept the book for about 30 years and then passed it along to someone I felt would be encouraged by it.
I picked up a newly published one a few years ago. Wanted it around, out of sentimentality, but hardly read it at all.
Then yesterday, while Dave and I were on a 5-hour drive to central KS, I took it along to read it again. And it proved that I have changed, life has changed, our world has changed... but God has not.
This jumped out at me:
Brother Lawrence wasn't surprised by the amount of sin and unhappiness in the world. Rather, he wondered why there wasn't more, considering the extremes to which the enemy is capable of going.
I thought and I thought about this, over and over. He had presented these bits in the 1600s, between mid-range and his death in 1691. The letters and small talks were collected by a Vicar and the book was published after Brother Lawrence's death. No TV, no computer-related world-wide connecting, no I-net goodness or garbage, no visual porn accessibility on commercials and billboards, no atomic bombs, and on and on.
In his case, only people in the Paris-area, and only life.
I become stressed and anxious and fearful and... admittedly... furious, when I see so much physical, emotional, and spiritual damage slamming those in our world. Story after story breaks my heart.
However, what did Brother Lawrence do that I fail to do?
HE FOCUSED ON THE LORD.
He laid before the Lord as often as possible. When working or traveling, he stayed centered on the Lord. But whenever he could, he prostrated before the Lord, worshiping and giving his heart to the Lord over and over again... Trusting HIM.
That is what I desire to do... really, really desire to do. And, at this phase of life and after all these years, have little proof of follow-through.
My hope is that my Father God worship will somehow break through my activities, my actions, and will occur more and more as time goes on.