Daily Devotion | June 29, 2021

Quantum of Solace

devotion by Rollie Johnson

Most evenings in the spring and summer I close the day by scooting up on the dike and enjoying some quiet time from this elevated, more expansive view of our little Oakport Coulee amphitheater. I cherish feeling the wind on my face, watching the deer emerge for the night shift, and listening to the frogs, geese, ducks, and red-winged blackbirds all sound off, each with their unique voice. Many evenings there are beautiful clouds accented with differing coloration from the sunset at my back. Many times, the moon will make a subtle and quiet entrance over the eastern horizon.

Of late though, I have been wandering back through the woods to our local beaver pond. Beaver ponds are really nature’s hub of so much life, growth, and energy. I’ve been sitting on top of this little beaver lodge with my new camera, hoping to catch some fascinating little piece of God’s creation. I normally sit for an hour or so hoping to observe nature, but my real reason is I have been looking for a deeper more intimate connection with God. Seeking answers that are hard to find, looking for an evasive peace that seems out of my reach, asking God to reveal His truth to me about my life and purpose and direction. Searching for a way out of my season of discontent. I have come to sit upon this stick and mud house seeking a quantum of solace.

Maybe it’s related to pandemic fatigue that gets so much chatter these days. It appears that so many organizations, businesses, schools, churches, individuals, and families are all feeling the after-effects of this difficult past year. Maybe it’s aging. Maybe it’s work. Maybe it’s relationships. Maybe it’s all of the above. Not really sure. God seems to be withholding insight, direction, and wisdom from me of late. I’m wondering if COVID cut the supply line to these as well as there appears to be a shortage… at least in my world.

Most nights the head beaver comes out and shows himself a little before sunset. Last evening, he stayed out a good 30 yards from me never daring to come closer as he cruised back and forth like a German U boat on patrol. Every 30-40 seconds he would slap his tail shattering the silence of the calm evening, splashing, and diving underwater.

As the sun began to set, I heard a subtle, quiet sound, that took some time to register in my sluggish brain. It sounded like the muffled voices of children. I soon realized it was coming from just beneath my knees. It was a pair or trio of beaver kits inside of the lodge and they were chattering back and forth in beaver gibberish!

It was so cool! They were talking up a storm, unaware of the very large predator perched on top of their roof. I felt like an FBI agent listening in on an important international conspiracy on a stakeout! I was thrilled to be privy to such a private, intimate, and rarely heard conversation. After a minute or so of conversation, I heard them splash as they slipped into the water of their exit tunnel. “How crazy!” I thought to myself, I came seeking a quantum of solace and wanting to hear God speak to me directly… and instead, I got to hear a couple of furry little beaver kits talking about the supply of wood and water. If only the Holy Spirit would reveal to me the hidden message and insights contained in this little beaver banter.

Most mornings when I’m at work, I begin by going for my quiet time somewhere other than my office for prayer. I can never seem to use my office for that purpose. Too many distractions. My preferred quiet space is our new Celebration Worship Center. It’s a calm, expansive, quiet space with lots of good natural light. It feels like home. When I go early, I can avoid interruptions by others.

As with most churches, COVID has taken its toll on our church, our people, and our staff. We’re all floundering a little or a lot to figure out what “church” should look like. What to discard, what to do differently, what to rebuild, what to let go of, and what to tweak or change to address the needs of our post COVID world. I know that this is certainly playing into my season of discontent.

I have fairly pathetic abilities in predicting the future. I have no clairvoyance, telepathy, or ability to prophesy in these matters. I have no ESP (even though I do get ESPN2). I’ve never been good at divining God’s direction or will for the future either for my own personal life or for that of our church. When spiritual gifts were being handed out, I must have been in the bathroom, as I neither speak in tongues nor prophesy about the future.

So, my go-to habit and coping mechanism is surrender. When I feel like I have no control of situations, circumstances, or people, I try to do my best to surrender. To let go. To let God. To let God be God. Truth be told God is significantly wiser, stronger, more powerful, and all knowing than I am. He has the much bigger picture of life and this world.

For some reason of late, I have felt called to lay prostrate on the floor in submission. Not sure why… I just am, so I do. I have no clue if this makes a difference or not. Only time will tell. I guess to me it helps me to just surrender all… my life and our church. Lord have your way with me, have your way with our church.

Tomorrow I leave for two weeks of backpacking in the Washakie Wilderness of western Wyoming. It is an extremely remote and rugged wild area filled with elk, moose, goats, sheep, and especially grizzlies. If we are able to make our intended destination/route, we will eventually come to a spot that is the furthest point from any road in the lower 48. I am so excited about being the farthest away from any point of man’s influence. I think that is both symbolic and metaphorical for me. Maybe the Holy Spirit will feel more like speaking there. We’ll see. I’m praying for just a quantum of solace.

-- Rollie J.

Jesus, take the wheel, Take it from my hands
'Cause I can't do this on my own
I'm letting go, So give me one more chance,
And save me from this road I'm on,
Jesus, take the wheel

Carrie Underwood

This is the paradox: Victory comes through surrender. Surrender doesn’t weaken you; it strengthens you. Surrendered to God, you don’t have to fear or surrender to anything else! You know you’re surrendered to God when you rely on God to work things out instead of trying to manipulate others, force your agenda, and control the situation. You let go, and let God work. You don’t always have to be in charge. God is a lover and a liberator, and surrendering to Him brings freedom, not bondage. Surrender is best demonstrated  in obedience and trust. Instead of trying harder, you trust more.
Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Life

Do not worry about anything, but in everything, with prayer and thanksgiving present your request to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

At every moment you have to decide to trust the voice that says, “I love you. I knit you together in your mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13)  Stop wandering around. Instead, come home and trust that God will bring you what you need. For as long as you can remember, you have been a (people) pleaser, depending on others to give you an identity. But now you are being asked to let go of all these self-made props and trust that God is enough for you. The root choice is to trust at all times that God is with you and will give you what you most need.
Henri Nouwen

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5

"GO GENTLY THROUGH THIS DAY, keeping your eyes on Me. I will open up the way before you, as you take steps of trust along your path. Sometimes the way before you appears to be blocked. If you focus on the obstacle or search for a way around it, you will probably go off course. Instead, focus on Me, the Shepherd who is leading you along your life-journey. Before you know it, the "obstacle" will be behind you and you will hardly know how you passed through it.

That is the secret success in My kingdom. Although you remain aware of the visible world around you, your primary awareness is of Me. When the road before you looks rocky, you can trust Me to get you through that rough patch. My Presence enables you to face each day with confidence."
- October 18, Jesus Calling
, Sarah Young



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