Yet…I can appreciate his heart. A heart that yearns for the presence of God so much that everything else – even the extremely important things in life – melt away. An experience of God’s presence, even in suffering alone, that gives him a sense of complete and utter wholeness that so many empty people in our world are hungry for.
I’ll admit, wrestling with his message came for me during a poignant time this year – Lent. The season of preparing for Easter. It was also a week of waiting for an important update in terms of our international adoption. This journey that has taken over 3 years, it finally feels like our boat has spotted land. So it takes a bit of humility to confess that I, a pastor who was allowed to even baptize several people Easter morning, was distracted most of that week by checking my e-mail for an update that never came. That dotting my week of anticipating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I was experiencing the brokenness of a human whose heart is not at complete peace in this broken world.
Part of me realizes that’s probably okay. Jesus was certainly not often “at peace” in this world. Another part of me realizes, there’s something to all this stuff Larry was talking about.
But before you or I go out and leave our family, secluding ourselves in monasteries away from our spouses and children, aiming to live like him and push away anything that threatens to occupy a place in our hearts – I don’t think that is required. But we can be reminded in powerful ways, the truths found in Scriptures like 1 Corinthians 15. That Jesus died and was resurrected. The truth of this powerful statement impacts us as individuals, and puts every anxious thought, every deep-seated need/emotion, and every well-intentioned prayer in a wonderfully redemptive context.
The Truth of a resurrected Jesus Christ releases us from serving the state of our situations. Even though there are times (like that week, and probably again in the future) we don’t want to hear it, the words of Brother Lawrence come as important reminders: Even really important and good things are not “foundational” the way Christ and His resurrection are. We can have Peace, even in the midst of needing peace. That is something the world considers foolish. That is something scripture considers faith.
That is something my daughters need from their father. Something my wife needs from her husband. And so, not as an individual but as a family – we work to shape our heart to seek pleasure only in the things that please God. We seek to walk with Him as the center of our being. We confess that this is not an easy road, and we sometimes lose focus. But we return to this walk and practice – together.