I have a few quirky tendencies – well, okay, quite a few. One of the insignificant ones is that I don’t do fast food. I know, I know, you’re wondering how I manage, and what planet I may be from. And no, it’s not a Canadian thing. But even as I write I’m reminded again of Randy Stonehill’s darkly humorous song, ‘American Fast Food.’ (1983) It still makes me laugh after all these years – another quirk?? (https://youtu.be/7hliIoqO9CY) Anyway, one of the upshots of this, um, idiosyncrasy of mine is that I don’t ‘see’ those establishments when I drive around town. Sometimes when an aficionado of that type of thing wants to give me directions, they’ll cite one of the horde of such places as a landmark. The problem is I rarely can picture where that is and that, I’m willing to admit, is really strange given the number of times I’ve passed by. Now, if only we had Pâtisseries and Boulangeries like we had in France, I would instantly get a ping from my hunger radar – and probably stop in while passing through on my way to my other, now-secondary destination – no directions necessary.
I find similarities in my friendship with Jesus. There are many aspects: his love and forgiveness and mercies and compassion, to mention but a few, which are clear and findable and hugely appreciated but sometimes I don’t ‘see’ the direction he’s planned for today or tomorrow or long term. I’m not always a quick study. Sometimes his words of correction/discipline find me with my fingers in my ears, blathering, “la, la, la . . .” and if I were asked what Jesus was saying to me, I’d be hard pressed to give an answer. A pastor in Oklahoma who has a Christian school as part of the church’s ministry outreach is well-known for walking the school hallways and stopping students, breezily asking: “What is the Lord speaking to you today?” And he stands there waiting, expecting a spontaneous and enthusiastic response. I’ve always thought that would be a pretty intimidating ask, but maybe I would be well-served to cultivate more of that kind of daily, ready and eager seeing. Of course, that requires paying attention to what I’m paying attention to, slowing down enough to assess my spiritual landscape, regularly asking of the Lord his thoughts, being intentional about listening to, and heeding, what he says, however radical or unexpected. (Pardon me as I preach to myself). After all, I do know he’s a “loving friend who is joined to your heart closer than any other!” Prov. 18:24 TPT You know? My New Year is looking up already! PD