In finding the picture for this post I learned that the way you get sap from a tree (called “tapping” the tree) is literally as simple as sticking a spigot into the side of the tree and letting the sap flow out. That made me start thinking — if someone stuck a spigot in me, what would flow out?
Lately I’ve been living in some deadening complacency. I’ve had an apathy about everything that I do. I feel like I’ve lost the joy and vigor of life. I’ve been thinking about that scripture that talks about how the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I feel like the excitement and joy of life has been stolen from me. It’s not that I’m experiencing death, it’s just that I’m not experiencing life. I feel like I’ve hardly been living.
I doubt trees think about their sap very much. It just kind of flows in and through them and gives them life. Kind of like our blood. I know I don’t sit around thinking much about blood until I bleed (or the other day when I bit down too hard and got to taste blood along with my cookie…). I’ve always been more aware of life when the stuff of the world has made me bleed. But lately, I’ve been too comfortable. I seem to have forgotten about all the wonderful things in life that keep me alive. I’ve taken them for granted.
One of my friends recently told me a story about how a classmate dropped by her home to pick up a book from her. He was baffled when he came by because he found a few people there just hanging out.
“Those people are just hanging out at your house?” he said.
“Yeah,” she said, “they’re my friends.”
After giving him the book she left her house. As she walked out with him he asked, “So, they’re going to stay at your house hanging out even while you’re not there?”
“Yeah,” she said.
This is the culture of community that my friends and I share. We come and go from each others homes. We stop by to see each other and sometimes end up staying for a few hours to talk and enjoy one another. I guess this classmate was baffled by this kind of open community. But it’s something that we simply take for granted. I am so incredibly thankful for community. For my community. For the rich and open community that gives me life.
Instruction and Submission
The other day I was talking with Morgan about the rest of the semester. She is done with classes. The rest of her semester is simply a preceptorship (the nurse version of student teaching). Because of this preceptorship she was possibly going to have to pull out of our small group and mid-week worship gathering. The question popped into my mind, “Then what will you have guiding you?” And that’s when it dawned on me. I am so blessed to be in so many circles where I am guided, instructed, and submitted.
In school I’m in bible classes. In church I have our Lifegroup, College Park (our mid-week college gathering), and regular Sunday morning services. Then there are the meetings I have through the week with various friends to be accountable to each other, to challenge each other, to carry each other, and to love each other.
All of these are places where I can submit myself so that I can receive from them. I am so blessed to have so much instruction and so many guides in my life. This is another one of those things that I have just taken for granted. But these places guide my thoughts, direct my heart, enrich my soul, and give me life.
Being a bible major has oversaturated me with scripture. The scriptures are in my classes. They are in the music I listen to. They are read in the various gathering I participate in throughout the week. I read them in the mornings. And on and on and on. The bible is all over the place in my life.
Lately when I’ve gone to the Scriptures I have simply approached them as another thing to do. Another project to be completed. It has stripped them of their life and their goodness. How incredible it is to be able to read these words that are living and active!
These words are not merely words. They are not just another thing I have to think really hard about or write about. They are life giving! I have taken for granted these words of life. I have dismissed them. I have considered them work, rather than rest.
The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul…
The precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart…
They are sweeter than honey.
(Psalm 19:7, 8, 10)
The scriptures revive the soul, rejoice the heart, delight the taste. O how I want to know them like this again! O how I long to receive life from the words of the Holy Scriptures; to sit under its endless flow and be refreshed by its wisdom, instruction, and testimony! I have forgotten the beauty of scripture and, like the proverbial sluggard, I have too often put my hand into the dish but not eaten my fill.
Communion With God
Yesterday morning I woke up with Psalm 84 ringing in my head. I picked up my bible and the commentary said, “The purpose of singing this psalm is to cultivate delight, to open the eyes and hearts of God’s people to the staggering privilege of being a welcome guest in God’s own house.” As I read this I asked for God to put in me the kind of delight and longing that this psalm spoke of.
I pray quite often, but it is too often dead and rote. I speak into the air and hope God might hear me. My time with God has been dry and dead. But the psalmist writes that his soul faints for God and his heart and flesh sing for joy. To faint is to be overcome. Communion with God is not a dry or a dead experience. It is being overcome with the presence of God!
I’ve found that life is best lived and enjoyed when beauties and graces are appreciated. The heart in a place of thanksgiving is a heart that beats. Blood flows through the body and I’m suddenly aware of the life that’s in me.
As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7)