About 2½ years ago, a friend send me the following mail which I printed out and placed right in front of me on my desk where I see it every morning during my quiet time.
SLOW ME DOWN, LORD. Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind. Steady my hurried pace. Give me amidst the day’s confusion, the calmness of the everlasting hills. Break the tensions of my nerves and muscles with the soothing music of singing streams that live in my memory. Help me to know the magical, restoring power of sleep. Teach me the art of taking “minute vacations” …slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to read a few lines from a good book…
I knew I had to slow down, but how? And God decided to step in.
We were at our holiday home in Hermanus in December last year. I was excited about the year ahead. On January 7th I was about to leave for the USA where I had a number of speaking invitations. After the US visit I planned a family ‘snow safari’ in Norway and Finland. Privileged and exciting times!
We planned to fly back from Cape Town to Johannesburg late morning on Thursday January 3. I woke up early to have my quiet time before having to pack our bags and drive to the airport. Before having my quiet time, I quickly walked down the stairs to the front door to open the security shutters and in the dark I missed the last small step and fell on my right knee. My quadricep muscle tore off with the sound of a gunshot and my knee was operated on the same afternoon. Months of rehab lay ahead of me.
One small step, and all my plans…gone in a second.
A week after my accident I woke up during the night and realised that when unexpected traumatic things happen to us we can become so absorbed by them that we could miss God’s purpose and plan completely. Months can go by while I am recuperating watching TV, answering my mails, chatting to friends and reading and in the process completely missing what God wants me to learn.
I begged God that night not to pass me by…over and over I prayed “God, please don’t pass me by during this time.” And God was faithful. As I delved into the Word in the months that followed I started to realise the reason for God ‘slowing me down’.
I started understanding the real meaning of Psalm 107:23-32 and move out of our comfort zones. And only then will we see ‘the works of the Lord’.
I started to see the link between Isaiah 29:13 and Jeremiah 29:13.
“These (afflicted) people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me…” (Isaiah 29:13)
How easy to pray and ask for help when things are tough, but in good times God is forgotten or little time is spent seeking His face with my heart far from Him.
And then Jeremiah 29:11-13. How often I have quoted verse 11 (the first verse God gave me before the Vision of Eduplex)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future..”
…not seeing that the secret, the key to this verse actually lies in verse 13
“…you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
I realised Isaiah 29:13 is the accusation, and Jeremiah 29:13 the solution and when read in reverse from verse 13 to 11, verse 11 is the promise.
Accusation è Solution è Promise
“Lord, please forgive me for seeking you only when I am under pressure, forgetting you in the good times just like the people of Israel in Isaiah 29:13.
Help me to be a Jeremiah 29:13 Christian by seeking You with all my heart, for then when I call on you will I find You when I seek You with all my heart.
For You O’Lord know the plans you have for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future – Amen.”
Personal note – thank you to everyone who prayed for me during my time of recuperation. Thank you for your visits, encouragement and friendship. Thank you for your support and the massive gift of an all-expenses-paid 2 weeks rehab in Bad Ragaz Switzerland – truly a gift from God. Thank you Jesus for your patience with me – I am a slow learner.
Soli Deo Gloria.